MELVIN D. WOOD ESTATE, MARGARET E. WOOD, ADMINISTRATOR APPELLANT
DONALD E. YOUNG; SANDRA S. YOUNG; AND M.E. WOOD APPELLEES
FROM HANCOCK CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE TIMOTHY R. COLEMAN,
JUDGE ACTION NO. 16-CI-00022
FOR APPELLANT: Jack D. Wood Louisville, Kentucky
FOR APPELLEES DONALD E. YOUNG AND SANDRA S. YOUNG: Michael A.
Fiorella Owensboro, Kentucky NO BRIEF FOR APPELLEE M.E. WOOD
BEFORE: COMBS, JONES AND L. THOMPSON, JUDGES.
THOMPSON, L., JUDGE.
D. Wood Estate, Margaret E. Wood, Administrator
("Appellant"), appeals from an order of the Hancock
Circuit Court setting the amounts which Appellant and another
tax lien holder were entitled to recover after the judicial
sale of a parcel of real property. Appellant argues that the
order was improperly entered by the clerk because it did not
contain the judge's handwritten or electronic signature.
For the reasons stated below, we find no error and AFFIRM the
order on appeal.
and Procedural History
October 25, 2016, the Hancock Circuit Court ordered the
judicial sale of a parcel of real property situated in
Hancock County, Kentucky. The order reserved for later
adjudication the disposition of tax liens and attorney fees.
On December 27, 2016, the circuit court confirmed the Master
Commissioner's sale of the parcel and ordered the
proceeds held for later distribution. Finally, on November
14, 2017,  the court entered an order setting forth
the amounts Appellant and another party were entitled to
recover on their claims. Specifically, the court awarded
"MD Wood" [sic] the sum of $1, 083.56 on Wood's
claim for a tax lien payoff of $8, 149.28.
January 23, 2018, Appellant's motion to set aside, alter,
or amend the order was heard and denied. The following day,
the circuit court entered an order of distribution. This
now argues that the November 14, 2017 order was improperly
signed and entered, and that the Hancock Circuit Court erred
in failing to so rule. Appellant directs our attention to
Kentucky Supreme Court Amended Order 2015-02 addressing
administrative rules of the Kentucky Court of Justice
Electronic Filing Pilot Project in support of its argument
that a judge must affix to electronically filed documents
either: 1) a handwritten signature pursuant to Kentucky Rules
of Civil Procedure (CR) 58, or 2) an electronic signature.
The amended order defines "electronic signature" as
"the electronic symbol '/s/ typed name' attached
to or logically associated with a document and executed or
adopted by a person with the intent to sign the
document." S.Ct. Amended Order 2015-02 Section 5(11).
Appellant asserts that since the November 14, 2017 order
contained neither a handwritten nor electronic signature, it
was not a proper order under the civil rules and rules of the
Kentucky Supreme Court and therefore could not be entered by
the clerk. Appellant goes on to argue that the
"eFiling" system did not generate a Notice of
Electronic Filing nor a hyperlink as so required, did not
contain the mandatory language that the order was
electronically filed, and that the clerk erroneously marked
"ENTERED" on the order. In sum, Appellant argues
that what purports to be a properly-filed order is in fact
not an order at all, and that the Hancock Circuit Court erred
in failing to so rule.
acknowledge that the November 14, 2017 order on appeal was
not electronically filed. As there is no controversy on this
issue, the sole question for our consideration is whether
Judge Coleman's signature, if any, comports with CR
58(1). That rule states,
Before a judgment or order may be entered in a trial court it
shall be signed by the judge. The clerk, forthwith upon
receipt of the signed judgment or order, shall note it in the
civil docket as provided by CR 79.01. The notation
shall constitute the entry of the judgment or order, which
shall become effective at the time of such notation[.]
CR 58 does not define the word "signed," and until
2013 there was no published Kentucky case law addressing this
issue. In that year, a panel of this Court determined that a
handwritten signature, faxed from the trial judge to the
clerk, was sufficient to allow the clerk to enter the
judgment. See McPherson v. Felker, 393 S.W.3d 40, 42
(Ky. App. 2013). The Court also noted the common practice in
many Kentucky circuit courts of employing a rubber stamp to
recreate the judge's signature. The McPherson
Court found stamped signatures to be sufficient to allow for
the clerk's entry of the order, so long as the signature
was made by someone acting on the court's authority and
the order was otherwise "regular on its face."
Id. Such signatures, said the Court, are presumed to
be valid. Id. The Court also noted that stamped and