Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

June 26, 2013

Class action status requested in electric rate lawsuit

By Leeann Akers - Editor

June 26, 2013 — Attorneys in a lawsuit against the City of Olive Hill have requested that their case be given class action status.

Mike Fox and Reid Glass, who represent plaintiffs in a case that claims the city overcharged their electric customers, filed a motion last week in Carter Circuit Court.

In the motion, they requested that the Court determine that the suit be considered class action, define the class claims and issues, and appoint plaintiffs as class representatives.

The motion is scheduled to be heard Monday, July 1, at 1 p.m.

According to the complaint filed in February, the plaintiffs were unaware that they were being charged excessive fees until the fall of 2012.

An article in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal-Times addressed the issue and several people in the community approached Fox.

A second lawsuit was filed by local attorney Patrick Flannery and Frankfort lawyer Jim Deckard.

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 public hearings 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.”

The complaint requests that all excess fees paid to the City be returned to the plaintiffs, in addition to their attorney fees, the cost of the lawsuit, and anything else to which the plaintiffs are entitled.

Tim and Kim Johnson, Michael and Chesla Fox, Paul and Sarah Lewis, Rocky Stephens, Randy Steele, David Hurly, Deborah Frazier, Sally James and Lovell Gilliam, and 25 “John Does” are listed as plaintiffs while the City of Olive Hill and “unknown person and persons” are listed as defendants.

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.

Leeann Akers can be reached at or by phone at 474-5101.