52 S.W.3d 530 (Ky. 2001), 2000-SC-0127, Privett v. Clendenin

Docket Nº2000-SC-0127-DG.
Citation52 S.W.3d 530
Opinion JudgeJOHNSTONE, Justice.
Party NameGeorge W PRIVETT, Jr, Appellant, v. Holly M. CLENDENIN, Appellee.
AttorneyDavid T. Enlow, Enlow, Wright & Enlow, Lexington, for appellant. Donald Duff, Frankfort, for appellee.
Judge PanelLAMBERT, C.J.; COOPER, KELLER, STUMBO, and WINTERSHEIMER, JJ., concur. GRAVES, Justice, dissenting.
Case DateAugust 23, 2001
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)

Page 530

52 S.W.3d 530 (Ky. 2001)

George W PRIVETT, Jr, Appellant,

v.

Holly M. CLENDENIN, Appellee.

No. 2000-SC-0127-DG.

Supreme Court of Kentucky

Aug. 23, 2001.

David T. Enlow, Enlow, Wright & Enlow, Lexington, for appellant.

Donald Duff, Frankfort, for appellee.

OPINION

JOHNSTONE, Justice.

Dr. George W. Privett, Jr., and Holly Clendenin were married for almost thirteen years and were blessed with two children. While still married, Privett and Clendenin established two accounts under the Kentucky Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) for the benefit of their children. Clendenin was named custodian of the accounts. After their marriage was dissolved, Privett petitioned the Jessamine Circuit Court for relief against Clendenin under the UTMA. The trial court ruled in Privett's favor. The Court of Appeals reversed on grounds that the Jessamine Circuit Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over claims brought under the UTMA. We agree with the Court of Appeals and affirm its decision.

Privett and Clendenin were married on December 3, 1978. Their divorce was finalized on October 1, 1991. Two children were born of the union. On November 16, 1987, an account for each of the children

Page 531

was established at the First Security Bank. These accounts were closed on August 3, 1988. On the same date, two separate mutual funds, one for each child, were established under the UTMA. Clendenin was named custodian and each child was designated as co-owner of his or her respective accounts. Sometime after their divorce, Clendenin withdrew Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) from each account for the children to take a school-related trip to England and France.

In his petition, Privett alleged that Clendenin violated her duties under the UTMA by withdrawing money from the accounts for the trip. Privett alleged that the withdrawal was made for a family vacation to Europe, rather than for educational purposes. Privett claimed that, as a parent of the children, KRS 385.122(5) gave him the right to inspect the accounts. Further, he alleged that Clendenin violated numerous provisions of the UTMA by failing to keep proper records, by failing to observe the proper standard of care, and by misusing funds.

The trial court ruled in Privett's favor and ordered: (1) that Clendenin reimburse the accounts for the withdrawals for the European trip "plus an amount to include the loss of growth in the accounts" due to the withdrawals; (2) a full accounting; (3) that Clendenin be removed as custodian; and (3) that Privett be made successor custodian of the accounts. The Court of Appeals determined that the district court has exclusive jurisdiction for all claims brought under the UTMA and, accordingly, held that the Jessamine Circuit Court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction to hear Privett's petition.

Privett is both a "member of the minor's family" and a "transferor" within the meaning of the UTMA. See KRS 385.012(10) & (16). He clearly had the right under the UTMA to bring his claims against Clendenin:

A minor who has attained the age of fourteen (14) years, the minor's guardian of the person or legal representative, an adult member of the minor's family, a transferor, or a transferor's legal representative may petition the court:

(a) For an accounting by the custodian or the custodian's legal representative; or

(b) For a determination of responsibility, as between the custodial property and the custodian personally, for claims against the custodial property unless the responsibility has been adjudicated in an action under KRS 385.172 to which the minor or the minor's legal representative was a party.

KRS 385.192(1).

Unfortunately for Privett, the UTMA grants exclusive jurisdiction over such claims to the district court. The definition section of the UTMA provides that: " 'Court' means district court." KRS 385.012(5). This definition was put into place by the Legislature in 1986 when it enacted the UTMA. 1986 Ky.Acts Ch. 182 § 1(5). In the same Act that created the UTMA, the Legislature repealed the Kentucky Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA), which also was codified in KRS Chapter 385. Under the prior UGMA, "court" was defined as "the chancery division of the circuit court." 1966 Ky.Acts Ch. 202§ 1(d). Thus, the Legislature purposely removed jurisdiction from the circuit court for KRS Chapter 385 claims and expressly placed jurisdiction over such...

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30 practice notes
  • 258 S.W.3d 422 (Ky.App. 2008), 2006-CA-001733, Hisle v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 1 Febrero 2008
    ...refers to a court's authority over a specific case); Gordon v. NKC Hospitals, Inc., 887 S.W.2d 360, 362 (Ky.1994); Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 Subject matter jurisdiction concerns the very nature of the court's creation under constitutional provisions. See, e.g., 21 C.J.S. Cour......
  • Pal Oil, LLC v. United American Energy, LLC, 102612 KYCA, 2011-CA-000744-MR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 26 Octubre 2012
    ...in subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by the parties or the court at any time and cannot be waived." Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky. 2001); see Karahalios v. Karahalios, 848 S.W.2d 457, 460 (Ky. App. 1993). In Prudential Resources Corp. v. Plunkett, 583 S.W.2d 97 (......
  • Doe v. Ramey, 041720 KYCA, 2018-CA-001154-DG
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 17 Abril 2020
    ...jurisdiction refers to a court's authority to determine 'this kind of case' as opposed to 'this case.'" Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky. 2001) (quoting Duncan v. O'Nan, 451 S.W.2d 626, 631 (Ky. 1970)). "It is understood that if a court does not have subject matter jur......
  • 301 S.W.3d 35 (Ky.App. 2009), 2009-CA-000211-ME, Cabinet for Health and Family Services v. J.T.G.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 4 Diciembre 2009
    ...of general jurisdiction " may be raised by the parties or the court at any time and cannot be waived." Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky.2001) (citing Commonwealth Health Corp. v. Croslin, 920 S.W.2d 46, 47 (Ky.1996)). Moreover, the issue " may be raised for the fi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • 258 S.W.3d 422 (Ky.App. 2008), 2006-CA-001733, Hisle v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 1 Febrero 2008
    ...refers to a court's authority over a specific case); Gordon v. NKC Hospitals, Inc., 887 S.W.2d 360, 362 (Ky.1994); Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 Subject matter jurisdiction concerns the very nature of the court's creation under constitutional provisions. See, e.g., 21 C.J.S. Cour......
  • Pal Oil, LLC v. United American Energy, LLC, 102612 KYCA, 2011-CA-000744-MR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 26 Octubre 2012
    ...in subject-matter jurisdiction may be raised by the parties or the court at any time and cannot be waived." Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky. 2001); see Karahalios v. Karahalios, 848 S.W.2d 457, 460 (Ky. App. 1993). In Prudential Resources Corp. v. Plunkett, 583 S.W.2d 97 (......
  • Doe v. Ramey, 041720 KYCA, 2018-CA-001154-DG
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 17 Abril 2020
    ...jurisdiction refers to a court's authority to determine 'this kind of case' as opposed to 'this case.'" Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky. 2001) (quoting Duncan v. O'Nan, 451 S.W.2d 626, 631 (Ky. 1970)). "It is understood that if a court does not have subject matter jur......
  • 301 S.W.3d 35 (Ky.App. 2009), 2009-CA-000211-ME, Cabinet for Health and Family Services v. J.T.G.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • 4 Diciembre 2009
    ...of general jurisdiction " may be raised by the parties or the court at any time and cannot be waived." Privett v. Clendenin, 52 S.W.3d 530, 532 (Ky.2001) (citing Commonwealth Health Corp. v. Croslin, 920 S.W.2d 46, 47 (Ky.1996)). Moreover, the issue " may be raised for the fi......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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