Kentucky appeals panel will hear oral arguments in Kernel v. UK lawsuit concerning open records



Bailey Vandiver

A Kentucky Court of Appeals panel will hear oral arguments in the Kernel Press v. University of Kentucky lawsuit.

In August of 2016, UK sued the student newspaper when the university refused to give the Kernel documents requested under the Open Records Act. In January of 2018, Fayette Circuit Court Judge Thomas Clark ruled in favor of UK. The judge ruled that students’ identities could not be adequately protected if UK turned over the documents concerning sexual misconduct allegations against a former UK professor. 

READ: Judge rules in favor of UK in Harwood open records case 

The Kernel appealed the Circuit Court decision, and now the Court of Appeals has ordered that oral arguments will be heard. The arguments will be given in front of a three-member panel consisting of judges Robert Johnson, Denise Clayton and Joy Kramer. 

READ: UK, Kernel ready for appellate court battle 

The arguments will be given on Sept. 25, 2018, at 1:45 p.m. at the Court of Appeals Courtroom in Frankfort. Thirty minutes total will be given for the arguments, and the time is typically split evenly between the appellants (in this appeal, the Kernel) and the appellees (UK). 

Oral arguments for Attorney General Andy Beshear’s lawsuit against UK will be heard at the same time by the same appeals panel. After UK refused the records to the Kernel, Beshear requested that UK provide the documents for review so that he could offer an opinion on whether the Kernel should receive the documents. The university refused to provide the documents to Beshear as well. Beshear has previously said that his power as attorney general to review the documents is necessary “to avoid turning Kentucky’s Open Records Act into a ‘trust me’ law.”