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Kansas Supreme Court Selected Opinion Summaries - December 15, 2000

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 6 opinions. The full text of these decisions may be found at www.kscourts.org. Today's filings include:

Appeal No. 82,590: State v. Jerome G. Carter

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Donald L. Allegrucci, orders a new trial of a Wichita man's first-degree murder, aggravated robbery, and criminal possession of a firearm charges, because his attorney was allowed to present a defense designed to reduce the penalty that could be imposed rather than one of innocence as the defendant wished. The defense attorney, over objections by Carter, premised the defense on guilt to felony murder to avoid the hard 40, despite Carter's desire to maintain his innocence.

Appeal No. 85,012: Babe Houser Motor Co. Inc. v. Diane Tretreault

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, upholds 1999 amendments to the Small Claims Court providing that corporations may appear in court by a full-time employee or officer so long as that person is not an attorney, reversing the Cloud District Court and remanding for further proceedings.

Appeal No. 84,545: Kansas Bar Association, Jack R. Euler and Joel R. Euler v. Judges of the Third Judicial District

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, grants a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by the KBA and two attorneys challenging the constitutionality of 1999 amendments to the Small Claims Act that authorize corporations to be represented by non-lawyers in small claims proceedings. The court holds that the plaintiffs failed to show an interest specific to the petitioners or on behalf the association members; that the plaintiffs failed to show the individual petitioners or KBA have standing to sue individually, and that they failed to present a justiciable case or controversy.

Appeal No. 83,226: Gail Kuhn et al v. Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation et al.

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Fred N. Six, reverses a Sedgwick County decision granting summary judgment in a products liability case that resulted from the death of a Wichita woman who was given a drug to prevent the production of breast milk.

Appeal No. 83,543: Frank Dougan v. Rossville Drainage District

The court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Tyler C. Lockett, affirms a Shawnee County verdict awarding Dougan $131,001 damages for levee damage and crop loss as a result of the drainage district's operation and maintenance of the Rossville Drain.

Appeal No. 85,189: In Re: Application of Kathy Horst for a Writ of Habeas Corpus

Saying the petitioner was not restrained and thus not entitled to habeas corpus relief, the court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Edward Larson, reverses a Sedgwick County decision granting the writ, and declines to rule on the merits of her challenge of the Wichita Municipal Court's "Wichita Work Program."

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