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Court Holds Petitioner’s Appeal Was Timely Filed the Day After a Legal Holiday

05.06.2009

In Wilkins v. Retirement Systems Board of Trustees, 276 S.W.3d 812 (Ky. 2009), the Kentucky Supreme Court (“Court”) held that a disability retirement benefits claimant had one extra day to file his appeal of denial of benefits because the deadline for filing fell on a “legal holiday.”

The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees denied Wilkins disability retirement benefits and advised him that he had thirty (30) days to appeal the decision to the Franklin Circuit Court. The thirtieth (30th) day fell on a Sunday and Monday was Columbus Day, a legal holiday under KRS 2.100(1). KRS 2.110(1) provides that “certain dates, including ‘the second Monday in October (Columbus Day)…are holidays, on which all public offices of this Commonwealth may be closed.’"

KRS 446.030 provides that when the last day of a filing period falls on a Saturday, Sunday, legal holiday, or a day on which the public office in which a document is required to be filed is actually and legally closed, the period runs until the end of the next day which is not one of the days listed above.

Wilkins filed his appeal on Tuesday and the Circuit Court dismissed the appeal as untimely because the courthouse was open on Monday, Columbus Day. The Court of Appeals affirmed and reasoned that legal holidays under KRS 2.110 are not “required” legal holidays, but rather, “permissible” holidays. The Court of Appeals also held that because the Court of Justice did not designate Columbus Day as a legal holiday, the appeal was late.

The issue before the Court was whether a claimant gets an extra day to file an appeal under KRS 446.030 when the deadline for same falls on a legal holiday in which the courthouse remains open.

The Court held that it must give effect to every part of the statute, and opined that the word “may” refers to and allows public offices to be closed, but does not mandate public offices to be closed on legal holidays. It determined that “It does not state that the enumerated dates ‘may’ be designated by the Court of Justice as legal holidays….Although the Court of Justice could have closed the courts on that day, its decision not to close did not affect the status of Columbus Day as a ‘legal holiday.’”

Accordingly, the Court remanded the case to the Circuit Court to accept Wilkins’ petition as timely filed.

If you have questions about this topic or any other legal issue, please contact any member of the firm's State and Local Tax Team.

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