On October 28, 2020, Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion to intervene in a civil action in defense of the Claims Against Local Governments Act (CALGA). The underlying case is a tort action against the City of Murray that was filed in Calloway Circuit Court and includes a direct attack on the statutory bar against the award of punitive damages against local governments contained in CALGA.
Protection from the assessment of punitive damages afforded to cities under CALGA is vitally important to city operations and taxpaying citizens. Kentucky Courts have previously recognized CALGA as a carefully crafted statutory scheme that strikes a balance to preserve pre-existing municipal tort liability while specifically limiting the amount of damages recoverable for negligence claims against local governments. This balance allows for adequate compensation to persons injured by a local government’s tortious acts for which there is no immunity and protects the taxpayer who is likely to experience increased taxes and decreased public services, should a local government sustain a substantial punitive damages award.
Kentucky law authorizes, but does not require, the attorney general to intervene in cases that challenge the constitutionality of state law. In recognition of the vital public policy served, the Attorney General joined the City of Murray to preserve CALGA protections. KLC is actively engaged with this case and will provide updates as it progresses through the courts.