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Supreme Court Decisions, March 18, 2022

18 Mar 2022 12:22 PM | Executive Director (Administrator)

Case No. 116,541: In the Matter of Scott M. McFall

Case No. 116,541 archived oral argument

McFall, an attorney residing in Olathe, Kansas, has been the subject of ongoing disciplinary proceedings based on failure to act on cases entrusted to him and failure to comply with agreements with the office of the Disciplinary Administrator and with Kansas Supreme Court rules, as well as failing to cooperate with the Disciplinary Administrator’s investigation. During the disciplinary proceedings, McFall transferred to disability inactive status. In 2021, he was removed from disability status, and his license to practice law was temporarily suspended. Considering various changes in McFall’s circumstances, the Disciplinary Administrator, the disciplinary hearing panel, and McFall all agreed a six-month suspension would be the appropriate sanction. The Supreme Court concurred and suspended McFall’s license for six months, following which he may apply for reinstatement.

Appeal No. 122,078: Vicki Schmidt, Kansas Insurance Commissioner v. Trademark, Inc. v. Doroteo Ballin and Ballin Company, LLC

Appeal No: 122,078 archived oral argument

The Supreme Court affirmed decisions from the Court of Appeals and Sedgwick County District Court after Trademark, Inc., appealed the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the Kansas Workers Compensation Fund and corresponding denial of Trademark's motion for summary judgment. The Fund had filed suit against Trademark under K.S.A. 44-532a(b) to collect a workers compensation award of $17,432.87, which an administrative law judge had ordered the Fund to pay to an injured worker after learning his immediate employer, Ballin, was insolvent and lacked workers compensation insurance. Ballin was acting as a subcontractor for Trademark at the time of the injury. The Court of Appeals and the district court concluded that the Fund could collect from Trademark the amount of the award paid but denied recovery of attorney fees. The Supreme Court held that, because Trademark was a principal of Ballin, it could be substituted for Ballin—the immediate employer—under K.S.A. 44-532a(b) and K.S.A. 44-503(b). The Court also concluded that K.S.A. 44-532a(b) did not authorize the Fund to collect attorney fees from Trademark in an action to recover workers compensation benefits.

Appeal No. 123,570: State of Kansas v. Noah J. Gleason

Summary Calendar; no oral argument

Gleason, who is serving a life sentence for first-degree felony murder, petitioned the Jefferson County District Court to set aside his conviction as void under K.S.A. 60-260(b)(4) and illegal under K.S.A. 22-3504. In a unanimous opinion written by Justice K.J. Wall, the Court affirmed the district court's denial of Gleason's motions. The Court reaffirmed that K.S.A. 60-260(b)(4) does not allow a criminal defendant to collaterally attack a conviction or sentence. It also held that Gleason's sentence was not illegal because the district court had jurisdiction over the entire case. Although the statute of limitations had expired when the State initially charged Gleason with conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery, the statute of limitations is an affirmative defense that does not deprive a court of jurisdiction, and the State later amended its charges, and Gleason was convicted of felony murder, which has no statute of limitations.

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