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Alvey v. Davis

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

July 26, 2019

JANET ALVEY APPELLANT
v.
KEITH DAVIS, BULLITT COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT; AND BULLITT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION APPELLEES

          APPEAL FROM BULLITT CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE RODNEY BURRESS, JUDGE ACTION NO. 15-CI-00262

          BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT: Michele Henry Louisville, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Eric G. Farris Joe M. Mills Shepherdsville, Kentucky

          BEFORE: DIXON, LAMBERT, AND L. THOMPSON, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          LAMBERT, JUDGE.

         In this administrative appeal, Janet Alvey seeks review of the February 7, 2018, opinion and order of the Bullitt Circuit Court upholding the Bullitt County Board of Education's decision to terminate Alvey's employment at Brooks Elementary School. We affirm.

         We repeat the procedural posture contained in the circuit court's order, namely:

After eleven years of employment, [Alvey] was terminated from her position as a Secretary/Bookkeeper on December 10, 2014. [Alvey] exercised her right to a due process hearing pursuant to the instructions tendered in [Alvey's] Notice of Termination. The initial hearing was held on February 9, 2015. At the hearing, the Hearing Officer, Karen Hayden, recommended that [Alvey's] termination be upheld. [Alvey] appealed the decision to the Circuit Court, arguing that the hearing failed to comply with statutory guidelines, that the finding was not supported by substantial evidence, and that the hearing failed to afford [Alvey] due process of the law. [The Bullitt County Board of Education] then moved for a Judgment on the Record, or, in the alternative, Summary Judgment. A hearing was then held in this Court on February 2, 2016.
In its March 6, 2016 Order, this Court found that (1) [Alvey] received adequate notice satisfying constitutional due process, (2) Ms. Hayden's lack of formal legal training did not violate due process, (3) there was insufficient evidence to find that Ms. Hayden was anything other than a neutral, detached decision maker, and (4) [Alvey] was afforded a hearing in which evidence was taken and weighed. This Court further found that the record was insufficient to determine whether the [Board] complied with KRS [Kentucky Revised Statute] 161.011(9)(c) and that there were insufficient findings of fact to determine whether the decision to terminate [Alvey] was supported by substantial evidence on the record. As such, this matter was remanded to the Bullitt County Board of Education.
A second hearing was held by Ms. Hayden on May 18, 2017 to address the issues set forth in this Court's Order. Subsequently, [the Board] renewed its Motion for Summary Judgment and it is now under submission.

         The circuit court ultimately found that there was substantial evidence in the record to support the Board's decision to terminate Alvey's employment. Alvey appeals, making the same arguments, now couched in terms of allegations of circuit court error for upholding the Board's decision.

         Generally, our standard of review in administrative appeals is as follows:

The purpose of judicial review of an appeal from an administrative agency is to ensure that the agency did not act arbitrarily. Baesler v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, 237 S.W.3d 209 (Ky. App. 2007). If the Court concludes that the agency applied the correct rule of law to the facts supported by substantial evidence, the final order of the agency must be affirmed. Bowling v. Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, 891 S.W.2d 406 (Ky. App. 1994).

Commonwealth, Energy and Environment Cabinet v. Spurlock, 308 S.W.3d 221, 223 (Ky. App. 2010). Substantial evidence is defined as "evidence of substance and relevant consequence having the fitness to induce conviction in the minds of reasonable men." Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Golightly, 976 S.W.2d 409, 414 (Ky. 1998). "The administrative agency's findings will be upheld even though there exists evidence to the contrary in the record." Kentucky Unemployment Ins.Comm&#39 ...


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