By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Feb. 6, 2013 — A second lawsuit seeking class action certification has been filed against the City of Olive Hill, alleging misconduct and fraud from the enactment of a rate ordinance in 2000 and subsequent increases in customer electric rates.
The suit, filed by local attorney Patrick Flannery and Frankfort lawyer Jim Deckard, is the second such action filed against the city within the past month.
Both suits came in the wake of a Jan. 14 opinion handed down by the Attorney General's Office of Rate Intervention (ORI).
In that report, ORI Director Jennifer Black Hans asserted that the city's electric rate ordinance, which had been in effect since 2000, violates KRS 96.534 which requires city-owned utility companies to hold a public hearing before increasing electric rates.
The suit alleges, among other violations, that the city committed fraud and violated the Consumer Protection Act by not following established state law in the setting and adjustment of electric rates, specifically alleging that the city sought to “evade a public hearing on proposed increases in rates or fees for electric utility services.”
There are a total of 32 plaintiffs named in the lawsuit, which also names John Doe 1-25 as potential defendants, as well as the city itself.
This procedure is often used when it is currently unclear which personnel would be responsible for the alleged violations, but such information could potentially be revealed throughout the course of the court proceedings.
Like the lawsuit filed earlier this month by attorney Michael Fox, this legal action also seeks class action certification.
If granted, it would allow any customer who has paid utilities to the City of Olive Hill since the year 2000 to become a plaintiff in the case.
(Editor’s Note – A lawsuit generally states only one side of a dispute between two or more parties.)
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.