Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

March 20, 2013

Judge dismisses eviction suit against Ashland

Wilhoit rules city and county went out of way to help

ASHLAND — A federal judge has ruled the City of Ashland didn’t act improperly when it evicted a man from his home last year because he and his eight cats were living there without utilities.

Senior U.S. District Judge Henry R. Wilhoit Jr. last month entered an order in which he found in the city’s favor in a civil lawsuit filed against it by John David Kennard.

Wilhoit also granted summary judgment to Boyd County, which was named by Kennard as a defendant in the suit because Kennard’s cats were euthanized at the county animal shelter after being removed from his home in the 5200 block of Skyline Drive.

Kennard claimed in the lawsuit that by evicting him from his home on March 7, 2012, the city violated his right to be secure in his own home, guaranteed to him by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also alleged the eviction violated his right to due process of law, guaranteed to him by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

But Wilhoit found that neither the city nor the county had done anything to violate Kennard’s rights and that, in fact, both actually bent their rules to try to help him.

At Kennard’s request, the city granted him a one-month extension to get his utilities reconnected, which would have resulted in the condemnation order for his home being lifted, according to the ruling. Kennard failed to do so, but he wasn’t actually evicted until he was found to still be living in the house nearly eight months after it was condemned.

Similarly, the animal shelter gave Kennard 10 days to reclaim his cats, three days longer than the normal waiting period, and only euthanized them after he failed to pick them up, Wilhoit wrote.

Wilhoit found the city’s condemnation of Kennard’s home, which was shown in photographs to be “covered in filth and contamination and in an utter state of disrepair,” didn’t amount to a taking without due process “because it was necessary to protect the public.

“It appears (Kennard’s) only argument is that the city cannot force him to connect utilities,” the judge wrote. “However, it is clear from the city’s Property Maintenance Ordinance that the city has not only a right, but an obligation to ensure compliance therewith as part of its police powers.”

Kennard, who filed the lawsuit pro se, meaning without an attorney, on Wednesday filed notice of his intention to appeal Wilhoit’s ruling to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

KENNETH HART can be reached at khart@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2654.

Text Only
Local News
  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014

  • Ashland couple indicted on grave violation charges

     A man and a woman from Ashland have been indicted for allegedly stealing brass flower vases from graves at Rose Hill Burial Park.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Shore clerk gives updates on city building bids, sewer project

    City officials may not have to wait much longer to move from their temporary offices on Main Street into a shiny, new building.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fate of stray animals in Carter County questioned

    Stray animals in Carter County may be disappearing because no one seems to know exactly where they are going.

    April 22, 2014

  • Recovery center finds home

    The mayor of Grayson said he isn’t concerned about the money a new recovery center will funnel into the city, although he is deeply appreciative of what the proposed facility may be able to offer “people who really need help” recovering from the effects of drug and alcohol abuse.

    April 22, 2014

  • Olive Hill man charged with shooting wife during dispute

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.
    Robert Tackett, 47, of Olive Hill, was lodged in the Carter County Detention Center on Monday, charged with attempted murder-domestic violence, Kentucky State Police at Ashland said.

    April 22, 2014

  • Two of three Greenup commission seats on ballot

    Two of three commission seats are up for grabs in Greenup County this fall, and both will involve primary contests to determine the ballot lineup in the November election.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0423attmurder_tackett.jpg Olive Hill man charged with attempted murder

    A Carter County man has been arrested for allegedly shooting his wife in the neck during a domestic dispute.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rotary updated on Alliance

    Ed Neely, president of the Ashland Rotary Club and chairman of the Ashland Alliance, addressed Rotarians in both capacities during the Monday meeting to give an update on the organization’s recent progress.

    April 21, 2014

  • Prater has been satisfying fans’ hunger for 40 years

    Debbie Prater has satisfied thousands of athletes’, parents’ and fans’ snacking desires for nearly 360 months.
    That’s just about 40 years of serving nachos, popcorn, chili dogs, water and soda from Lewis County’s football, basketball and baseball concession stands, and Prater is retiring after this year’s last pitch.

    April 21, 2014