FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2020
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
KENTUCKY APPEALS COURT UNANIMOUSLY AFFIRMS MOTION TO DISMISS
AND ASSERTS DEFENDANT IS ENTITLED TO CONSTITUTIONAL IMMUNITY
Zoning – Intentional Interference with a Contractual Relation
LOUISVILLE, KY ― QPWB Louisville office attorneys, Managing Partner Donald L. Miller II, and Buddy J. VanCleave represented Appellees, Cherokee Triangle Association, in the opinions and orders entered by the Jefferson Circuit Court affirming issuance of Certificates of Appropriateness.
Willow Grande, LLC (“Willow Grande”) brought this lawsuit in retaliation for the Cherokee Triangle Associations’ (“CTA”) legal steps taken to challenge the development of a condominium complex. The CTA was an organization formed in 1962 to protect the integrity, character and nature of Louisville’s Cherokee Triangle neighborhood. In doing so, several of its association members and residents expressed concerns in various public forums over Willow Grande’s construction of the 17-story condominium on a 0.88 acre parcel located in the heart of the CTA historic preservation district. Notably, the area is predominantly single-family homes of fewer than four stories. Other concerns included the development’s proposed height, failure to post a performance bond, potential zoning violations, non-conformity with the character of the surrounding area, and non-compliant aspects of the Land Development Code and the 1989 Cherokee Triangle Neighborhood Plan.
Willow Grande sued the concerned landowners for seeking administrative and judicial review of the approved development and challenging the rezoning of the subject parcel. Specifically, Willow Grande alleged that the Defendants collectively have engaged in a “pattern of conduct” which gives rise to its underlying claims for abuse of process, wrongful use of civil proceedings, tortious interference with a prospective economic advantage, and punitive damages.
The Kentucky Court of Appeals issued a 20 page Opinion unanimously affirming that the lower trial court correctly applied the Noerr-Pennington doctrine to analyze the issue of immunity. The Court held that since the CTA and its board members were statutorily authorized to pursue zoning appeals for the purpose of petitioning the courts for redress of grievances, they are entitled to constitutional immunity for any claims arising out of those appeals. Therefore, the lower court properly dismissed Willow Grande’s claims.
# # #
Donald L. Miller, II is the Managing Partner of the Louisville and Lexington offices. He has extensive appellate experience in both state and federal appellate courts and has first chaired many jury trials and appellate arguments. His practice has focused for many years on defending insurers in coverage and extra-contractual “bad faith” claims and includes defense of claims of long-term health care negligence, medical negligence, and legal malpractice, and long-term health care negligence for insurers and self-insured clients. He received his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Mr. Miller is licensed to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana and is admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky and U.S. District Court for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana; the Second, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Buddy J. VanCleave, an associate in the Louisville office, practices in the areas of general liability, insurance defense, insurance coverage and bad faith claims, and healthcare. He is also a member of the firm’s Business, Financial Services & Real Estate Division. Mr. VanCleave received his law degree from Salmon P. Chase College of Law, Highland Heights, Kentucky. He is licensed to practice law in Kentucky.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with 23 offices in the U.S. and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.