Articles Posted in Kansas Supreme Court

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While driving a vehicle owned by her employer (Employer), Appellant was injured in an accident caused by an underinsured motorist. Appellant claimed underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits under Employer’s commercial insurance package policy, which Appellant believed had been insured by Insurer, the same carrier that insured the tortfeasor. Insurer denied Appellant’s claim. A jury awarded Appellant damages, finding the tortfeasor at fault. The district court denied Insurer’s posttrial motion for judgment based upon its claim that it did not issue Employer’s insurance policy and granted Insurer’s motion for credit against the verdict in part, declining, however, to give Insurer credit for future medical expenses. The Supreme Court (1) affirmed the trial court’s denial of Insurer’s motion for judgment as a matter of law on Insurer’s claim that Appellant named the wrong insurance company as the defendant; (2) reversed the district court’s decision on Insurer’s motion for partial summary judgment on future medical expenses and vacated the jury’s award of future medical expenses; and (3) reversed the district court’s denial of Appellant’s motion for attorney fees. Remanded. View "Bussman v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am. " on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Appellant was convicted of aggravated criminal sodomy, an off-grid person felony, and sentenced to a hard twenty-five life sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the district court did not err in admitting evidence that Appellant was previously charged with aggravated incest of his stepdaughter and subsequently entered into a diversion agreement regarding the charge; (2) the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Appellant of aggravated criminal sodomy; and (3) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it denied Appellant’s motion for a departure sentence. View "State v. Remmert" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of felony murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated assault. The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions, holding (1) the district court did not commit reversible error in instructing or failing to instruct the jury on several issues; (2) Defendant’s claim that the district court erred in denying his motion to suppress post-Miranda statements he made to police was not preserved for appellate review; (3) Defendant’s argument that the complaint filed against Defendant was defective was without merit; (4) the State presented sufficient evidence to convict Defendant of the crimes; and (5) cumulative error did not deprive Defendant of a fair trial. View "State v. Littlejohn" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of eight counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and related offenses. Defendant was sentenced to two consecutive hard twenty-five life sentences plus fifty-nine months. Defendant appealed his convictions and sentences. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, holding (1) the prosecutor committed reversible misconduct by improperly cross-examining an expert witness for the defense, introducing the concept of “grooming” without evidentiary support and misstating the law by arguing that grooming could establish Defendant’s sexual intent, and vouching for the credibility of the State’s witnesses while openly opining about Defendant’s truthfulness; and (2) the district court erred by excluding testimony about prior false allegations of sexual abuse on the basis that the proffered witnesses were related to Defendant. View "State v. Akins" on Justia Law

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After a consolidated jury trial, Defendant was convicted of assault, battery, and criminal threat in one case and two counts of failure to register in another case. The court of appeals affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in consolidating the two cases because the conditions identified in Kan. Stat. Ann. 22-3202(1) were not met and there was a reasonable probability that Defendant was prejudiced by the joinder; and (2) the complaint charging Defendant with two counts of failing to register was jurisdictionally defective, but the State was not prevented from recharging Defendant. Reversed and remanded for separate trials. View "State v. Hurd" on Justia Law

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Defendant was charged as a juvenile with alternative counts of first-degree premeditated murder and felony murder, among other charges, for offenses that occurred when Defendant was sixteen years old. The State filed a motion for adult prosecution (MAP) asking the district court to certify Defendant as an adult for prosecution of the charges. The district court granted the MAP and convicted Defendant of first-degree felony murder, aggravated burglary, and criminal possession of a firearm. The Supreme Court affirmed the convictions. Defendant later filed a motion to correct illegal sentence, which the district court denied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court erred by construing Defendant’s motion as an improper method of attack, but the error was not prejudicial because Defendant’s claim was still considered, and properly denied, on the merits. View "Makthepharak v. State" on Justia Law

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Via Christi Regional Medical Center, Inc. filed a hospital lien to collect on its bill for medical services provided to Ivan Reed after Reed's car collided with a Union Pacific Railroad train. The lien purported to encumber a portion of Reed's settlement with Union Pacific. Via Christi subsequently brought this action against Reed to enforce its lien. Reed counterclaimed, asserting that Via Christi, in an effort to enforce the lien, had engaged in deceptive and unconscionable practices in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The district court judge entered judgment in favor of Via Christ on the lien and against Reed on his counterclaims. The court of appeals affirmed the enforceability of Via Christi's lien. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Via Christi's failure to strictly comply with the requirements of Kan. Stat. Ann. 65-407 rendered its lien ineffective and unenforceable against Reed; (2) a genuine issue of material fact existed as to whether Via Christi knew or should have known that it misrepresented the amount it was owed for services rendered; and (3) the lower courts erred in ruling as a matter of law that a hospital's filing and pursuit of a lien could never be unconscionable. Remanded. View "Via Christi Reg'l Med. Ctr., Inc. v. Reed" on Justia Law

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After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of aggravated liberties with a child and sentenced to life imprisonment. Defendant appealed, arguing, among other things, that the trial court erred in denying his motion requesting that the victim undergo an independent psychological examination. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the Court could not ascertain whether the trial court abused its discretion in denying the motion because a reasonably accurate and complete record of the trial proceeding did not exist. Therefore, the Court could not provide the meaningful appellate review that due process required. View "State v. Holt" on Justia Law

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City cited Defendant, which operated a grain elevator facility inside city limits, for violating municipal noise and nuisance ordinances. After a bench trial, the municipal court found Defendant guilty of violating both ordinances. The district court reversed, concluding that the ordinances were unconstitutionally vague because they did not warn potential violators of what conduct was prohibited and failed adequately to guar against the risk of arbitrary enforcement. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, holding (1) the City's noise ordinance was unconstitutionally vague; but (2) the nuisance ordinance was constitutional as applied to Defendant. View "City of Lincoln Ctr. v. Farmway Coop., Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff attempted to file a medical malpractice action against Defendant by mailing the summons and petition via unrestricted certified mail to Defendant's business address. Defendant received the petition and filed an answer asserting several affirmative defenses. After participating in the discovery process, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that Plaintiff had failed to substantially comply with the statutory requirements for service of process, and Defendant's actual notice of the lawsuit did not confer personal jurisdiction on the district court. The district court granted the motion and dismissed the case with prejudice. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) Plaintiff's service of process in this case was invalid; but (2) the district court erred in dismissing the case without permitting Plaintiff the additional time set forth in Kan. Stat. Ann. 60-203(b) in which to obtain valid service of process. View "Fisher v. DeCarvalho" on Justia Law