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Cole v. Vincent

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

October 25, 2019

HAZEL P. COLE APPELLANT
v.
EMMA JEAN VINCENT, BY HER ATTORNEY IN FACT, BARBARA JEAN SEABOLT APPELLEE

          ON DISCRETIONARY REVIEW FROM EDMONSON CIRCUIT COURT HONORABLE TIMOTHY R. COLEMAN, JUDGE ACTION NO. 18-XX-00001

          BRIEFS FOR APPELLANT: Matthew J. Baker Bowling Green, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE: Bobby H. Richardson Glasgow, Kentucky

          BEFORE: GOODWINE, SPALDING, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          GOODWINE, JUDGE

         This forcible detainer action is before this Court on discretionary review of the order of the Edmonson Circuit Court affirming the Edmonson District Court's finding Hazel P. Cole ("Cole") guilty of forcible detainer. After careful review, we reverse and remand.

         Emma Jean Vincent ("Vincent") is the mother of three children, including Cole. Vincent deeded the property at issue to her three children and retained a life estate. Vincent brought a forcible detainer action against Cole, who kept cows on the property. The district court found Cole guilty of forcible detainer, finding although there was no landlord-tenant relationship between the parties, Cole had no right to possession of the property. The circuit court affirmed, holding "any possession by [Cole] of the subject property would be permissive, and, once that permission is withdrawn, such as it was in this case, subject to a forcible detainer action by [Vincent]." R. at 27-28.

         Cole then moved this Court for discretionary review, arguing the district court's and circuit court's decisions were erroneous because a landlord-tenant relationship is required to maintain a writ of forcible detainer. This Court granted discretionary review. The sole issue before us is whether the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the underlying action as the parties did not have a landlord-tenant relationship. "We review determinations on subject-matter jurisdiction de novo." Basin Energy Co. v. Howard, 447 S.W.3d 179, 184 (Ky. App. 2014) (citing Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Inc. v. Coleman, 239 S.W.3d 49, 54 (Ky. 2007)).

         Cole argues the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the case because the parties did not have a landlord-tenant relationship. Vincent summarily argues such a relationship is not required because Cole obtained possession of the property without Vincent's consent. KRS[1] 383.200 defines forcible entry and forcible detainer as follows:

(2) A forcible entry is:
(a) An entry without the consent of the person having the actual possession;
(b)As to landlord, an entry upon the possession of his tenant at will or by sufferance, whether with or without the tenant's consent.
(3)A forcible detainer is:
(a) The refusal of a tenant to give possession to his landlord after the expiration of his term; or of a tenant at will or by sufferance to give possession to the ...

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