Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 9, 2014

Olive Hill electricity lawsuits merged

GRAYSON — A judge has issued an order consolidating a pair of class-action lawsuits alleging the city of Olive Hill overcharged its residents for electricity.

The recent ruling by Carter Circuit Judge Rebecca Phillips merges two complaints filed last year against the city into a single suit. According to the ruling, the number of class members could potentially grow to more than 4,500.

Phillips also appointed attorney Jim Deckard of Lexington and his partner, Matthew Malone, as lead counsel for the class. Attorneys Michael Fox and Reid Glass of Olive Hill, who filed one of the two original suits, also had sought to represent the plaintiffs.

“Mr. Deckard has had professional experience at the highest levels of state government. His role within such governmental positions has afforded him litigation experience in various settings,” the ruling states. “Of great significance to this Court is the fact that (Malone) not only has experience in complex litigation, but also has superior experience in utility law.”

That experience includes electric and other utility issues “litigated before courts and administrative agencies,” and his “fund of knowledge will eliminate the need to re-invent the wheel,” Phillips wrote.

Also, as members of a firm with eight attorneys, Deckard and Malone are well-equipped to provide the “resources and support” the case will require, the ruling states.

However, the judge denied a request by Deckard and Malone to add  Patrick Flannery — who initially filed a complaint himself before bringing Deckard on board — as co-counsel for the class. Her reason for doing so, according to the ruling, had to do with Flannery’s position as Carter County attorney.

“While local counsel may be desirable for purposes of convenience, the court is concerned that Mr. Flannery may have a conflict of interest that would make him unsuitable to serve in the capacity as local counsel or co-counsel,” Phillips wrote.

Given the potential size of the class, Phillips deemed it “highly unlikely” that one or more of its members would not be involved in legal matters also involving the county attorney’s office, be they district court criminal prosecutions, child support collection issues or cases in family court.

The lawsuits came about in the week of a January 2013 report issued by the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office’s Office of Rate Intervention. In that report, ORI Director Jennifer Black Hans concluded Olive Hill’s electric rate ordinance, which was adopted in 2000, violated a state law requiring city-owned utilities to hold public hearings before increasing electricity rates.

The suits allege that, among other violations, the city defrauded its electrical customers and violated the Consumer Protection act by not following established state law in setting and adjusting its electricity rates, and that it sought to evade public hearings on proposed rate increases.

A motion currently pending before Phillips seeks to add former City Clerk Cheri James and former Utility Director Derrick Jones as defendants in the suit.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or

(606) 326-2654.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • State’s longest trail system turns 35

    The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Pancake releases new album

    The top of the Sky Tower in downtown Ashland was booming Saturday night with music from Larry Pancake’s new album “Fair Weather Friend.”
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Telephone scammer fleeces man of $5,000

    A telephone scammer claimed another area victim when a Williams Avenue man paid $5,000 after the con artist told him he had won a sweepstakes but had to pay taxes on the prize money before collecting it, according to Ashland Police Department reports.
     

    July 21, 2014

  • Murder defendant pleads guilty on lesser charge, sentenced to 8 years

    One of four charged with murder in a 2008 double killing pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Monday just before his trial was to start.

    July 21, 2014

  • MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014

  • Morehead gets Trail Town status

    It has been two and a half years in the making and it happens today.
    Morehead will officially be designated a Kentucky Trail Town following Dawson Springs and Livingston.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fallsburg’s traditional haunt attracts unique talents

    Brian Cassidy said there is no substitute for individual talent while tackling tasks ranging from sculpting a massive hillbilly to inventing paintball gun brackets capable of withstanding the pressures caused by an incoming zombie attack.

    July 21, 2014

  • Local in brief: 7/22/14

    The Kentucky Interagency Coordination Center on Sunday mobilized two fire crews to assist with firefighting efforts in the western United States.

    July 21, 2014

  • marine3.jpg MIA Rush Marine to rest in Arlington

    Finding Dottie McCoy’s uncle after 71 years was the biggest part of the struggle.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • 0722burger2.JPG TIM PRESTON: Burgers for Boyd County bragging rights

    Looking at Saturday morning’s rainy skies, I assumed my duties as a judge for the first tailgate and burger grilling competition at the Boyd County Fairgrounds would be canceled.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone