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February 2018 Archives

The Ever Changing World of Sovereign Immunity

"Despite the frequency of opinions on the subject from this Court, the law of sovereign immunity, and the related doctrines of governmental immunity, official immunity, and qualified official immunity, is still difficult to apply, no doubt in part because of the large number of decisions on the subject. Attitudes about the propriety of immunity for the state and its subdivision, government agencies and their employees, and government-created entities have shifted back and forth over time and personnel changes on the Court." Ky. River Foothills Dev. Council, Inc. v. Phirman, 504 S.W.3d 11, 16, (Ky. 2016); citing Comair, Inc. v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Corp., 295 S.W.3d 91, 94 (Ky. 2009).This statement by the Kentucky Supreme Court illustrates the evolving Kentucky law regarding sovereign and governmental immunity. In Comair the Supreme Court attempted to clarify any confusion in the law and establish a more certain framework to resolve the question concerning the types of businesses and organizations entitled to immunity. In Comair, the Supreme Court set forth a two prong test. First, one must look to see who created the entity in question. Comair, 295 S.W.3d at 99. Second, and most importantly, does the entity provide a governmental function? Id. To satisfy the second prong, there are two elements that need to be addressed. Whether the entity's function is "governmental", and whether the matter is of a "statewide" concern.

Raising the Kentucky Minimum Wage?

In an effort to modernize, the Fair Labor Standards Act underwent an overhaul that raised the minimum salary necessary to become exempt from overtime pay. Although the changes have not yet gone into effect due to an injunction in place while the Department of Labor hashes things out in a Texas federal court, the message is clear. Similarly, eighteen states have raised their minimum wage requirements above the 2009 federal mandate of $7.25 per hour. Now the 115th U.S. Congress (2017-2018) is considering the Raise the Wage Act (S.1242) which has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Should it become law, the Raise the Wage Act will gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024, and will eliminate the separate minimum wage requirements for tipped employees, bringing them up to the same minimum wage as regular employees after a certain time period.

Was a loved one tricked into signing a will?

Unfortunately, fraud knows almost no bounds, and so people will resort to fraud in order to alter a will or an estate plan. This may become clear during the estate administration process, when most of the family is shocked by the contents of the will and one person clearly benefits from it more than anyone else.

Estate planning requires you to set clear goals

We recently discussed the purpose of estate valuation. This is an important part of the estate plan. If you are in the process of planning out the estate so that your loved ones have a plan when you pass away, you might come to realize that the valuation is vitally important.

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