Goldstein v. Feeley, No. 2008-SC-000597-MR.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
Writing for the CourtVenters
Citation299 S.W.3d 549
PartiesWilliam GOLDSTEIN, Executor of the Estate of Robert James Layer, Deceased, Appellant, v. Honorable Timothy J. FEELEY, Judge Oldham Circuit Court Family Court Division, Appellees. and Ruby JoAnn Young-Layer, Real Party in Interest
Decision Date27 August 2009
Docket NumberNo. 2008-SC-000597-MR.
299 S.W.3d 549
William GOLDSTEIN, Executor of the Estate of Robert James Layer, Deceased, Appellant,
v.
Honorable Timothy J. FEELEY, Judge Oldham Circuit Court Family Court Division, Appellees. and
Ruby JoAnn Young-Layer, Real Party in Interest
No. 2008-SC-000597-MR.
Supreme Court of Kentucky.
August 27, 2009.
Rehearing Denied January 21, 2010.

[299 S.W.3d 550]

John K. Carter, La Grange, KY, Counsel for Appellant.

Timothy Edward Feeley, Oldham Circuit Court, Family Division, La Grange, KY, Counsel for Appellee.

Allen K. Gailor, Gailor Law Office, PLLC, Louisville, KY, Counsel for Real Party in Interest Ruby JoAnn Young-Layer.

Opinion of the Court by Justice VENTERS.


Appellant, William Goldstein, executor of the estate of Robert James Layer, appeals to this Court from an Order of the Court of Appeals denying his "Petition for a Writ of Mandamus and Prohibition" and his "Motion For Intermediate Relief." For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the Order of the Court of Appeals.

Factual Background

This matter began in the Oldham Circuit Court in 2003 with the filing of a petition to dissolve the eight-year marriage of Appellee, Ruby JoAnn Young-Layer and Robert James Layer.1 A limited Decree of Dissolution was entered on June 20, 2003, dissolving the marriage and expressly reserving for future determination all remaining issues, which consisted primarily of the division of marital property. More than three years later, on September 16, 2006, Robert died. At the time of his death, none of the marital property issues had been resolved.

On September 22, 2006, JoAnn moved to substitute Robert's estate, instead of the personal representative of his estate, as a party to the dissolution action. Appellee, Judge Timothy Feeley, entered an order on October 6, 2006, granting the substitution and setting the matter for a status conference to be held February 9, 2007.

299 S.W.3d 551

Appellant was appointed executor of Robert's estate on October 17, 2006, and did not qualify by filing his bond until October 26, 2006.

At the status conference, the trial court issued another order to substitute Robert's estate as the real party in interest in the dissolution action. The order noted that the attorney who originally represented Robert also represented Robert's estate. The order also noted that the attorney was present at this hearing and the hearing where the original substitution order had been entered.2

The record does not indicate if any relevant events occurred between the February 9, 2007 hearing and March 2008. On March 7, 2008, on JoAnn's motion, the trial court entered a restraining order to prevent Appellant from transferring any interest in the estate's assets, except by order of the trial court or by agreement with JoAnn. On March 13, 2008, Appellant filed motions to set aside the restraining order and to dismiss the pending dissolution action on the grounds that the circuit court lacked personal jurisdiction over him as the executor. In those motions, Appellant argued that the procedures set forth in KRS 395.278 and CR 25.01 to revive the action against him were not properly followed.

On March 20, 2008, the trial court entered an order holding that the substitution of Robert's estate was "sufficient" to allow it to acquire jurisdiction over Appellant and let the case "continue to conclusion."3 JoAnn then moved pursuant to CR 65.04 for a temporary injunction in place of the restraining order. A hearing on that motion was set for March 28, 2008, but was later passed by agreement of the parties to April 18, 2008. The hearing never transpired because, on April 5, 2008, Appellant filed this action in the Court of Appeals for a writ of mandamus and prohibition. The Court of Appeals denied the petition on the grounds that Appellant had an available remedy through an interlocutory appeal of the injunction via CR 65.07

Analysis

Writs of prohibition are "extraordinary in nature, and the courts of this Commonwealth `have always been cautious and conservative both in entertaining petitions for and in granting such relief.'" Kentucky Employers Mut. Ins. v. Coleman, 236 S.W.3d 9, 12 (Ky.2007) (quoting Bender v. Eaton, 343 S.W.2d 799, 800 (Ky. 1961)). In Hoskins v. Maricle, 150 S.W.3d 1 (Ky.2004), we reexamined the development of the law relating to the issuance of extraordinary writs and their Constitutional underpinnings. In Weaver v. Toney, 107 Ky. 419, 54 S.W. 732 (1899), we noted that since 1899 the issuance of such writs was authorized in two circumstances: 1) where a court is acting "out of its jurisdiction" and 2) where the lower court "has jurisdiction" but is proceeding erroneously and there is no adequate remedy by appeal. That dichotomy has remained essentially

299 S.W.3d 552

unchanged,4 and was restated in Hoskins as follows:

A writ of prohibition may be granted upon a showing that (1) the lower court is proceeding or is about to proceed outside of its jurisdiction and there is no remedy through an application to an intermediate court; or (2) that the lower court is acting or is about to act erroneously, although within its jurisdiction, and there exists no adequate remedy by appeal or otherwise and great injustice and irreparable injury will result if the petition is not granted.

Id. at 10.

Appellant contends that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction over him as executor of Robert's estate because he was not properly served with process and because the dissolution action was not properly revived against him. He argues that the Court of Appeals misapplied the Hoskins analysis when it concluded that the availability of an appeal under CR 65.07 justified its denial of his petition. He cites Hoskins for the rule that when a lower court is acting outside its jurisdiction, the availability of an appellate remedy is immaterial. Appellant's reading of Hoskins is correct. One seeking a writ when the lower court is acting "outside of its jurisdiction" need not establish the lack of an adequate alternative remedy or the suffering of great injustice and irreparable injury. Those preconditions apply only when a lower court acts "erroneously but within its jurisdiction." We disagree, however, with Appellant's underlying premise that the trial court was "acting outside its jurisdiction" because it lacked personal jurisdiction over him.

A lower court lacking personal jurisdiction over a party is not acting or about to act "outside of its jurisdiction," as that phrase has been used in the context of writ cases. It is acting "erroneously although within its jurisdiction." See Manning v. Baxter, 281 Ky. 659, 136 S.W.2d 1074 (1940). In denying a writ to a petitioner (Manning) who claimed that the Madison Circuit Court lacked jurisdiction over him, the Court stated the following rule, which in substance is identical to the Hoskins rule:

The power conferred on this court by section 110 of the Constitution to exercise supervisory control over inferior courts by original writ has uniformly been restricted to cases in which the inferior court (1) lacks jurisdiction or is proceeding beyond its jurisdiction and (2) is proceeding erroneously within its jurisdiction and great and irreparable injury will...

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32 practice notes
  • Berggren v. Franke (In re Franke), No. S–14–959
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • March 4, 2016
    ...382 So.2d 331 (Fla.App.1980) ; Tunnell v. Edwardsville Intelligencer, 43 Ill.2d 239, 252 N.E.2d 538 (1969) ; Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549 (Ky.2009) ; Simpson v. Strong, 234 S.W.3d 567 (Mo.App.2007) ; Acito v. Acito, 72 A.D.3d 493, 898 N.Y.S.2d 133 (2010) ; Albrecht v. Albrecht, 856 N......
  • Delahanty v. Commonwealth, NO. 2017-CA-000186-MR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • May 25, 2018
    ...injury. Those preconditions apply only when a lower court acts ‘erroneously but within its jurisdiction’." Goldstein v. Feeley , 299 S.W.3d 549, 552 (Ky. 2009). "In the context of the extraordinary writs, ‘jurisdiction’ refers not to mere legal errors but to subject-matter jurisdi......
  • Commonwealth v. Shepherd, Nos. 2011–SC–000482–MR, 2011–SC–000485–MR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • April 26, 2012
    ...the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction, i.e., its authority to address the matter or the question before it. Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549 (Ky.2009). The Cabinet and Frasure Creek contend that the federal courts have exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over citizen suits unde......
  • In re Imo Daniel Kloiber Dynasty Trust, C.A. No. 9685–VCL.
    • United States
    • Court of Chancery of Delaware
    • August 6, 2014
    ...to endorse the principles of due process implicit in ... Lyons ” and that appellate review would be available. Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549, 553 (Ky.2009). Dan successfully obtained prompt appellate review after the Kentucky Family Court held him in contempt. Given the availability o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • Berggren v. Franke (In re Franke), No. S–14–959
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Nebraska
    • March 4, 2016
    ...382 So.2d 331 (Fla.App.1980) ; Tunnell v. Edwardsville Intelligencer, 43 Ill.2d 239, 252 N.E.2d 538 (1969) ; Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549 (Ky.2009) ; Simpson v. Strong, 234 S.W.3d 567 (Mo.App.2007) ; Acito v. Acito, 72 A.D.3d 493, 898 N.Y.S.2d 133 (2010) ; Albrecht v. Albrecht, 856 N......
  • Delahanty v. Commonwealth, NO. 2017-CA-000186-MR
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • May 25, 2018
    ...injury. Those preconditions apply only when a lower court acts ‘erroneously but within its jurisdiction’." Goldstein v. Feeley , 299 S.W.3d 549, 552 (Ky. 2009). "In the context of the extraordinary writs, ‘jurisdiction’ refers not to mere legal errors but to subject-matter jurisdi......
  • Commonwealth v. Shepherd, Nos. 2011–SC–000482–MR, 2011–SC–000485–MR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • April 26, 2012
    ...the trial court's subject matter jurisdiction, i.e., its authority to address the matter or the question before it. Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549 (Ky.2009). The Cabinet and Frasure Creek contend that the federal courts have exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over citizen suits unde......
  • In re Imo Daniel Kloiber Dynasty Trust, C.A. No. 9685–VCL.
    • United States
    • Court of Chancery of Delaware
    • August 6, 2014
    ...to endorse the principles of due process implicit in ... Lyons ” and that appellate review would be available. Goldstein v. Feeley, 299 S.W.3d 549, 553 (Ky.2009). Dan successfully obtained prompt appellate review after the Kentucky Family Court held him in contempt. Given the availability o......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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