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Members of the Grove Hill Cemetery Board want Barbara Porter and her husband Bill to pay damages the board incurred in filing an eminent domain action against the couple.
Last fall, Circuit Judge Charles Hickman granted the cemetery board eminent domain to seize 13 acres located across the street from Grove Hill that Bill and Barbara Porter currently own and use to raise cattle.
The Grove Hill Cemetery Board said it needed the property to expand the cemetery.
The Porters, who maintain the cemetery doesn't have a true need for the property as required by state statute, have filed an appeal with the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
According to state statute, the question of whether a private entity such as the cemetery board can be granted eminent domain turns on whether the cemetery actually needs the property and plans to use it within eight years. If not, the cemetery would be required to allow the Porters to buy it back.
It could take a year or longer for the Court of Appeals to issue a ruling in that case.
Meanwhile, Gilmore Dutton, attorney for the Shelbyville Cemetery Corporation which does business as the Grove Hill Cemetery, filed a new suit Jan. 15 in Shelby Circuit Court against the Porters.
The recent suit claims Barbara Porter was a member of the Grove Hill Cemetery Board when she and her husband purchased the property, and that by doing so, she "breached her fiduciary duty of loyalty."
Because the couple knew of the board's intent to purchase the property before purchasing it themselves, the suit claims the alleged breach caused the cemetery board to suffer financial damages by missing the opportunity to purchase the property as well as the cost of attorneys and experts used in the eminent domain litigation.
Alan Linker, Barbara Porter's attorney, who is with Seiller and Waterman LLC in Louisville, said the Porters have 20 days to file a response to the latest suit, and it would be inappropriate for him to comment until that response is filed.
However, Linker did say he had sent Dutton a letter asking him to withdraw the most recent suit by Jan. 31.
"If he doesn't, we will be filing our own pleadings as well," Linker said.