Lawsuit Updates

Updated Nov. 13, 2018

On Nov. 13, 2018, the Library learned the Supreme Court of the United States denied the plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari.  With this denial, all avenues of appeal have all been exhausted.  In the seven appearances before the various courts through the nearly seven years of this litigation, no court has ever determined the Library to have acted improperly in any regard or that any tax was illegally assessed or collected.

“It’s over,” said Cathy Howard, board president, “We are thrilled we can put the litigation behind us and focus on a future of providing great library services to the people of Campbell County.”

Summary/Overview

  • A lawsuit was filed in Jan. 2012 by three Campbell County citizens that held public libraries should be following Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 173.790, which became law in 1964. That stature requires the Library’s tax rate to be raised or lowered by petition.  The Library contested that tax rates must be adjusted annually, according to KRS 132, in order to produce approximately the same revenue as the previous tax year.  KRS 132 became law in 1965 in order to control the revenue of taxing districts.  The same statute outlines procedures for adopting rates that would produce additional revenue.  All taxing districts, not simply libraries, follow KRS 132.
  • In April 2013, Campbell Circuit Court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor. The Library filed an appeal.
  • On March 19, 2015, the Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously ruled the Library acted in good faith in using KRS 132 in determining its annual tax rates but directed that future increases that would produce revenue in excess of a 4% increase would have to be secured through petition. Read the Kentucky Court of Appeals March 19 decision. {PDF}
  • On April 20, 2015, the litigants against the Library filed a Motion for Discretionary Review with the Kentucky Supreme Court.
  • On Dec. 10, 2015, the Kentucky Supreme Court let stand the decision of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
  • On Feb. 8, 2016, the Library moved for summary judgment to end all remaining issues as the central matter had been resolved by the Court of Appeals in the Library’s favor and all remaining issues hinged on that decision.
  • On March 18, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion asking the Campbell County Circuit Court to consider the Court of Appeals’ decision retroactive and to order a refund for previous tax years. The Library countered and stated that the Court of Appeals intended its new harmonization of the conflicting statutes to be applied only to future tax years.
  • On Sept. 16, 2016, Campbell County Circuit Court Judge Julie Reinhardt Ward ruled that the Court of Appeals’ decision should be considered prospectively only, upholding the Library’s position. Read Judge Ward’s Sept. 16 decision. {PDF}
  • In March 2017, the litigants filed an appeal with the Kentucky Court of Appeals asking for Judge Ward’s decision to be reversed.
  • On Jan. 2, 2018, the Kentucky Court of Appeals unanimously concurred that the March 2015 of the Court of Appeals was prospective only as the Court’s harmonization of KRS 173 and KRS 132 could not have been followed in the past and the Library acted in good faith by following KRS 132 as directed by the Executive Branch. Read the January 2018 Court of Appeals decision. {PDF}
  • On Jan. 26, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Discretionary Review with the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Library filed its response on Feb. 23, 2018.
  • On June 6, 2018, the Kentucky Supreme Court declined to reconsider the Appellate Court’s ruling and denied the Motion for Discretionary Review submitted by the plaintiffs. Read the order from the Kentucky Supreme Court. {PDF}
  • On Sept. 5, 2018, the plaintiffs in Coleman, et al, filed a “Petition for Writ of Certiorari” with the U.S. Supreme Court contending that they were denied due process by the Kentucky courts.  Kentucky’s courts, in five separate decisions, have held that the Library was correct in relying upon KRS 132 in setting its tax rates.
  • On Nov. 13, 2018, the Library learned the Supreme Court of the United States denied the plaintiff’s petition for a writ of certiorari.  With this denial, all avenues of appeal have all been exhausted.  In the seven appearances before the various courts through the nearly seven years of this litigation, no court has ever determined the Library to have acted improperly in any regard or that any tax was illegally assessed or collected.

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