TOPEKA—For the first time in its history, Kansas Court of Appeals judges will appear remotely to hear oral argument by videoconference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12. The oral arguments will be livestreamed on YouTube.
"Kansas courts are committed to delivering timely justice, especially during challenging times such as we are experiencing now," said Karen Arnold-Burger, chief judge of the Court of Appeals. "We decide many cases on their written record, but some attorneys want the opportunity to argue their cases before the court, and oral argument by videoconference allows us to accommodate them."
The Court of Appeals has allowed attorneys to appear for oral argument by videoconference since 2016, but the sessions weren't livestreamed and the three-judge panels sat together in the court’s courtroom in the Kansas Judicial Center.
This time, with the Kansas Judicial Center currently closed to in-person contact to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the judges and attorneys will all appear from separate locations by videoconference.
Access to the May 12 oral argument livestream will be through the Court of Appeals YouTube channel.
The Court of Appeals canceled its March and April oral arguments and, unless parties objected, placed cases on a summary calendar. The court's regular May and June dockets will be summary calendars only. These cases are decided on their written record without oral argument.
The Kansas Supreme Court had its first remote videoconference oral argument April 11 when justices heard a case filed by Governor Laura Kelly against the Legislative Coordinating Council on an expedited schedule that included a Saturday morning oral argument. The Supreme Court has livestreamed oral arguments online from its Topeka courtroom since 2012.
The Court of Appeals is a traveling court that meets to hear cases at locations throughout the state. While oral arguments are always open to the public, they are not livestreamed.
The Court of Appeals panel participating in Tuesday's hearing are Judge Steve Leben, who will preside over the hearing, and Judges Anthony J. Powell and Kim R. Schroeder.
The case to be heard May 12 docket is:
Appeal No. 120,068: Thoroughbred Associates LLC et al. v. Kansas City Royalty Co. LLC et al.
The appeal involves a dispute over revenues from natural gas wells in Comanche County between two businesses, Thoroughbred Associates and Kansas City Royalty. Thoroughbred Associates operated a group of gas wells it organized into a single unit, sharing profits with each of several lease owners. Kansas City Royalty claims its lease with Thoroughbred was included in the single unit; if so, it would be entitled to a share of profits from those gas wells.
In an earlier appeal, the Supreme Court determined language in Kansas City Royalty's lease prevented it from being included in the unit. This appeal relates to a claim that the parties agreed—after that lease had been entered into—to include the Kansas City Royalty lease in the larger combined unit of gas wells.