BREATHITT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION v. COMBS
BREATHITT COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION; AND ARCH TURNER, INDIVIDUALLY, APPELLANTS,
LARRY COMBS, APPELLEE.
Court of Appeals of Kentucky.
September 10, 2010.
Jonathan C. Shaw, Paintsville, Kentucky, Briefs for Appellant.
Bryan M. Cassis, Louisville, Kentucky, Brief for Appellee.
Before: CAPERTON, THOMPSON, and VANMETER, Judges.
Not to be PublishedOPINION
The Breathitt County Board of Education ("Board") and Arch Turner, individually, appeal from the Breathitt Circuit Court's denial of their motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, we vacate and remand.
Larry Combs filed a claim of negligence against the Board and its Superintendent, Turner, in his individual capacity, alleging that the Board and Turner were responsible for the care and custody of his minor child, had a duty to transfer custody of the child after school only to authorized individuals, and breached their duty of care by allowing an unauthorized individual to pick up the child from school without ascertaining whether the individual had Combs' permission, and by failing to investigate the matter or take appropriate remedial action to avoid future similar incidents. Combs claimed as a result he suffered emotional distress.
The Board and Turner moved for summary judgment on grounds of governmental immunity and qualified immunity, respectively.1 The trial court heard oral arguments at motion hour and thereafter denied their motion, as reflected by the motion hour docket sheet dated March 20, 2009. This appeal followed.
As an initial matter, "an order denying a substantial claim of absolute immunity is immediately appealable even in the absence of a final judgment." Breathitt County Bd. of Educ. v. Prater, 292 S.W.3d 883, 887 (Ky. 2009). In other words, the jurisdiction of this court is properly invoked "to address the Board's immunity claim, a substantial claim that would be stripped of meaningful review if the Board were obliged to forego appellate consideration until after it had borne all the costs and inconveniences of trial." Id. at 885.