DUDEE (JITANDER SINGH) VS. DUDEE (CHARLENE THERESA), ET AL.Annotate this Case
RENDERED: AUGUST 8, 2008; 10:00 A.M.
NOT TO BE PUBLISHED
Commonwealth of Kentucky
Court of Appeals
JITANDER SINGH DUDEE
APPEAL FROM FAYETTE CIRCUIT COURT
FAMILY COURT DIVISION
HONORABLE TIMOTHY NEIL PHILPOT, JUDGE
ACTION NO. 03-CI-00442
CHARLENE THERESA DUDEE AND
JAMES W. GARDNER, ESQ., RECEIVER
OPINION AND ORDER
** ** ** ** **
BEFORE: CLAYTON, MOORE, AND TAYLOR, JUDGES.
TAYLOR, JUDGE: Jitander Singh Dudee brings this appeal from a June 4, 2007,
order of the Fayette Family Court defining the duties of a receiver appointed by the
court to take charge of Jitander’s business operations in order to pay Charlene
sums due as a result of the parties’ divorce including maintenance and child
support. For the reasons stated, we dismiss.
Jitander and Charlene Theresa Dudee were married in March 1995,
and divorced by Decree of Dissolution entered in the Fayette Family Court on
February 13, 2006. During the marriage, the parties accumulated a substantial
marital estate, including Jitander’s medical practice, Medical Vision Group, P.S.C.,
and a real estate holding company, Schatzie, LLC. Rather than award Charlene a
portion of the marital business assets, the court ordered Jitander to make a property
equalization payment of $1,299,038 to Charlene. The court also awarded Charlene
maintenance of $5,600 per month and child support of $3,600 per month.1
Charlene subsequently filed a motion to appoint a receiver to operate
Medical Vision Group and Schatzie. In the motion, Charlene contended that
Jitander failed to make required monthly maintenance payments, failed to pay
court ordered attorney’s fees and failed to pay the property equalization payment.
Also, Charlene pointed out that Jitander was incarcerated for contempt of court for
his failure to pay these court ordered amounts and had refused work release,
thereby abandoning the medical practice.
Charlene Theresa Dudee appealed to this Court the judgments entered by the circuit court
regarding the property division and maintenance, which were affirmed in Appeal Nos. 2005-CA002218-MR and 2006-CA-000775-MR, by a consolidated opinion rendered July 13, 2007. A
motion for discretionary review of the opinion is presently pending in the Kentucky Supreme
By order entered April 3, 2007, the court granted Charlene’s motion
and appointed a receiver to operate Medical Vision Group and Schatzie.2 In the
order, the court also directed that the parties “try to reach an agreement on the
parameters of the receivership.” The parties were unable to reach an agreement.
By order entered June 4, 2007, the court specifically set forth the duties of the
receiver. Being unsatisfied with the receiver’s duties as defined in the June 4,
2007, order, Jitander pursued the instant appeal to this Court. For the reasons
hereinafter stated, we do not believe this Court has jurisdiction to reach the merits
of this appeal as the underlying controversy is now moot.
It is well-settled that judicial power may constitutionally extend only
to justiciable controversies. Thus, an appellate court is generally without
jurisdiction to reach the merits of a moot appeal. Kentucky High School Athletics
Ass’n v. Runyon, 920 S.W.2d 525 (Ky. 1996); Associated Indus. of Kentucky v.
Com., 912 S.W.2d 947 (Ky. 1995); Black v. Elkhorn Coal Corp., 233 Ky. 588, 26
S.W.2d 481 (1930); Kentucky High School Athletic Ass’n v. Davis, 77 S.W.3d 596
(Ky.App. 2002). An appeal is considered moot and must be “dismissed where, due
to subsequent events, the circumstances have changed so as to make the
determination of the question unnecessary.” Sharp v. Robinson, 388 S.W.2d 121
(Ky. 1965); see also Lewis LP Gas, Inc. v. Lambert, 113 S.W.3d 171 (Ky. 2003),
abrogated on other grounds by Hoskins v. Miracl, 150 S.W.3d 1 (Ky. 2004).
The order appointing the receiver was not appealed.
In this appeal, Jitander argues that the receiver’s duties as defined in
the June 4, 2007, order are overbroad and violated sundry statutory provisions.
Jitander specifically requested that “this Court overturn the Trial Court’s Order of
June 4, 2007 in which the Receiver was granted the authority over the business of
Medical Vision Group, P.S.C. and Schatzie, LLC.” Jitander’s Brief at 10.
However, Charlene urges this Court to dismiss the above-styled appeal as moot.
Charlene points out that the receiver has been “dismissed” by order of the circuit
court entered March 6, 2008.
A review of the March 6, 2008, order indicates that the receiver was
discharged effective February 22, 2008.3 As the receiver has been discharged, an
opinion of this Court adjudicating the proper duties of the receiver would be
merely advisory and would lack any legal import. Moreover, it seems axiomatic
that the parties no longer have a legally cognizable interest in the outcome of this
appeal. Thus, we concluded that this appeal has been rendered moot by entry of
the March 6, 2008, order discharging the receiver. See Lambert, 113 S.W.3d 171;
Hoskins, 150 S.W.3d 1.
Now, therefore, be it ORDERED that Appeal No. 2007-CA-001331MR is DISMISSED as this Court is without jurisdiction to reach the merits thereof
as the underlying controversy is moot.
An appellate court may review a subsequently entered circuit court order when determining
whether an appeal is moot. See, Lewis LP Gas, Inc. v. Lambert, 113 S.W.3d 171 (Ky. 2003).
ENTERED: August 8, 2008
/s/ Jeff S. Taylor
JUDGE, COURT OF APPEALS
BRIEF FOR APPELLANT:
BRIEF FOR APPELLEE:
Thomas D. Bullock
J. Ross Stinetorf
Harold L. Kirtley II
Valerie S. Kershaw