Lawsuit Updates

Updated May 7, 2018

On January 2, 2018, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of the Library that a previous decision of the Court in March 2015 was only to be considered prospectively.  The decision stated that the Library had followed the instruction of the Executive Branch in using KRS 132 to set its tax rates since 1978 in good faith.  The “harmonization” of KRS 173 and KRS 132 in March 2015 that requires the Library to secure revenue in excess of 4% above its previous year through petition could only be applied to future tax rates as it could not have been anticipated previously.  This decision upheld the September 2016 decision of the Campbell County Circuit Court.  Read the January 2018 Kentucky Court of Appeals decision {PDF}

On January 26, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Discretionary Review with the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Library filed its response on February 23, 2018, and is now waiting on the Court’s decision on hearing the case.

Summary/Overview

  • A lawsuit was filed in January 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 December 10, 2015, the Kentucky Supreme Court let stand the decision of the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
  • On February 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 September 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 September 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 January 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 January 26, 2018, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Discretionary Review with the Kentucky Supreme Court. The Library filed its response on February 23, 2018, and is now waiting on the Court’s decision on hearing the case.

More News