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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - December 6, 1996

Summaries and press releases are prepared by Ron Keefover, Office of Judicial Administration, Kansas Judicial Center, 301 West 10th, Topeka, KS 66612-1507 (785-296-2256), e-mail: keefoverr@kscourts.org.

The Supreme Court today filed 15 opinions. Today's filings include:

Appeal No. 76,988: In Re: Kerry D. Howlett

The court orders the suspension of the law license of a Kansas City, Kan., attorney for one year based upon numerous violations of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

Appeal No. 75,332: State v. Joseph H. Brady IV

The court, in a unanimous decision, authored by Justice Bob Abbott, affirms the defendant's two consecutive hard 40 sentences that were imposed based upon his guilty plea to two counts of first-degree murder, which arose from the January 1995 shootings of William Flynn and Julia L. Wilcox, Kansas City, Kan.

Appeal No. 75,020: State v. Olander J. Hickles III

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Tyler C. Lockett, affirms the defendant's Labette County first-degree murder conviction, which arose from the August 1994 stabbing death of Earl Whetstone.

Appeal No. 74,760: State v. Lajuan E. Clemons

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Robert E. Davis, affirms the defendant's Leavenworth County convictions of first-degree murder and aggravated battery against a law enforcement officer. The convictions arose from a riot May 22, 1993, in the recreation facility at the Lansing Correctional Facility that resulted in the death of one guard and severe injuries to another guard.

Appeal Nos. 74,394 and 74,395: Kansas Public Employees Retirement System v. Reimer & Koger Associates, Inc. And Gage & Tucker, L.C. and Kansas Public Employees Retirement System v. Cohen, Brame & Smith; Reimer & Koger Associates, Inc. et al. And Gage &Tucker, L.C.

The court, in a 4-3 decision, reverses a Shawnee County decision that would have kept a Kansas City law firm as a potential defendant by other defendants involved in the on-going litigation over multi-million dollar losses incurred by KPERS in bad investments. Gage & Tucker agreed to pay KPERS a total of $10 million in a settlement that had to be approved by the Shawnee County District Court. The trial court approved the settlement, but found that claims by another defendant (Reimer & Koger) against Gage & Tucker were not discharged by a 1995 state statute that was adopted to speed up litigation. The trial court also ruled that if the claims were not discharged by the statute that the statute is unconstitutional. (Majority opinion by Justice Robert E. Davis upholds the statute's constitutionality and holds that the claim by Reimer & Koeger should be denied. A dissent by Justice Bob Abbott would declare the KPERS settlement statute unconstitutional. He was joined by Justices Edward Larson and Donald L. Allegrucci.)

Appeal No. 74,678: Stephen A. Koser v. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, affirms a Wyandotte County jury verdict awarding Koser, an engineer for the railroad, $1,137,860 for injuries he received when the train he was on was struck from the rear by another train.

Appeal No. 75,788: Board of Education, USD No. 333, Cloud County

School board meetings to consider the non-renewal of school administrators employment contracts are not quasi-judicial proceedings affording administrators the same due process rights that teachers have to hearings concerning non-renewal of their contracts and, hence, are not appealable decisions. (Unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, reversing the Cloud County District Court.)

Being held over for decision later are:

Appeal No. 74,528: In re: Kaul for Exemption from Ad Valorem Taxes
Appeal No. 73,528: In re: Appeal of Sumner County from order of BOT
Appeal No. 75,227: Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe RR v. Stonewall Ins.
Appeal No. 73,410: In Matter of Betts, Respondent
Appeal No. 75,702: In re: Appeal of Boeing Co. From orders of BOTA
Appeal No. 75,279: Associated Wholesale Grocers v. Americold Corp.
Appeal No. 75,014: Bonin v. Vannaman, M.D., et al.
Appeal No. 75,205: Peden v. State, et al.
Appeal No. 76,290: AMCO Ins. Co. v. Beck, et al
Appeal No. 73,890: In re: Application of Zivanovic from Mortg. Fees
Appeal No. 74,627: Landau Investment Co. v. City of Overland Park
Appeal No. 75,497: KPERS v. Reimer & Koger, et al, and Gage & Tucker
Appeal No. 72,939: State v. Arculeo
Appeal No. 74,690: Williams Natural Gas v. Supra Energy, Inc., et al
Appeal No. 75,699: In re: Estate of Sanders
Appeal No. 72,709: Jones v. Sigg, d/b/a John's Used Cars
Appeal No. 71,971: State v. Rice