The Kansas Supreme Court released the following published decisions today:
Appeal No. 115,945: Claudia Geer v. Edward Eby and Key Insurance Co.
Summary calendar; no oral argument
The Supreme Court reversed a Cowley County District Court garnishment order against Key Insurance Co. Key was Eby's auto insurance carrier at the time of Eby's traffic accident involving Geer. After settlement negotiations between Geer's insurer and Key failed, Geer sued Eby. Eby did not give notice to Key of the lawsuit, as he was required to do by his policy terms. Eby also did not file an answer to Geer's lawsuit, which ultimately resulted in a default judgment against him After Key refused to pay the policy limit to Geer, Geer requested a garnishment order against Key, which was granted in district court.
In reversing the garnishment order, the court held Eby breached his duties under the policy to give Key notice of the lawsuit. In addition, the breach prejudiced Key by depriving it of the opportunity to contest its insured's liability or settle the case without exposing Key to potential liability in excess of its policy limit.
Appeal No. 115,993: State of Kansas v. Ivan Huizar Alvarez
Archived oral argument videoIn a decision written by Justice Eric Rosen, the Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals decision holding Saline County District Court did not err in imposing court costs under K.S.A. 22-3801 and K.S.A. 28-172a for expenses related to trial preparation. It also reversed a Court of Appeals decision holding Alvarez had not properly preserved or briefed his argument. Alvarez argued the use of a criminal history score to increase a presumptive prison sentence violated his constitutional rights.