Judge Throws Out Anchorage Suit vs. Bellewood Home for Children
A judge has thrown out a lawsuit by the city of Anchorage, Kentucky, against Bellewood Home for Children, rejecting the small city’s effort to block the orphanage from accepting youths officials deem too dangerous for the neighborhood. Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP partner Jeffrey A. McKenzie is the former chair of the Bellewood board, and has been involved with the orphanage for more than two decades.
In a ruling on Wednesday Aug. 5, Jefferson Circuit Judge James M. Shake ruled in favor of Bellewood, which had sought a summary judgment, arguing that Anchorage’s claims were inaccurate and in some cases, absurd. According to The Courier-Journal, Shake also rejected the request of Anchorage that he rule in its favor.
BGD attorneys J. Mark Grundy, Jeffrey A. McKenzie, Jared A. Cox, Micah J. Revell and paralegal Vickie S. Senior represented Bellewood. Grundy said Shake’s ruling is a victory for children placed at the center, most of whom have been removed from homes because of neglect, abuse or emotional problems.
“We’re very pleased with the court’s decision,” Grundy said. “We’re pleased that justice has been served and that justice has protected the rights of the children to live there.”
Shake ruled that zoning law under a “conditional use” permit Bellewood obtained in 1998 did not apply in this case. And he ruled that the 2005 agreement between the city and Bellewood does not provide a “hard and fast mandate” that Anchorage could rely on to bar Bellewood from accepting the most troubled children.
The dispute began last year when Anchorage filed a lawsuit, asking the court to uphold what it claimed was its right to limit the type of youths accepted at Bellewood.
Grundy said Bellewood is willing to work with Anchorage to end the dispute now that the judge has ruled.
“It’s time to proceed with the business of caring for these children and not wasting resources on needless litigation,” he said. “The judge has ruled these children have a right to live at Bellewood. I think that’s pretty clear.”