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From time to time, when requested, the Kansas Bar Association will take a position on a case that has an impact on the practice of law, on public access to the courts, or on some technical aspect of the law. Those positions are stated in a formal document called an amicus curiae (Latin for "friend of the court”) which is submitted to the court and a matter of public record. The KBA has also taken positions on the way judges and justices are selected for the Kansas Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. The KBA does not take positions on particular criminal or civil cases before the court, or on candidates for political or judicial office.
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Florida Bar Ass'n v. McHenry a/k/a Went For It Inc.
In Florida Bar Association v. Went For It Inc., the KBA joined in an amicus brief promoted by the Florida Bar Association to allow states to regulate some forms of lawyer advertising. In this case, it was to ban letters from personal injury attorneys to accident victims within 30 days of the accident date. The U.S. Supreme Court modified the stand it took in Shapero v. Kentucky Bar Association, and indicated that accident victims have a right of privacy that cannot be invaded by lawyers within that 30‑day span and upheld the ban.
Pizel v. Zuspann
In Pizel v. Zuspann, dealing with attorney malpractice liability for third party beneficiaries of a trust document, KBA entered a joint motion with the Probate bar to have the case reopened for further hearings and clarification of a key phrase in the opinion. The court granted our motion. See Pizel v. Zuspann, 247 Kan. 699, 803 P.2d 205, 206 (1990).
Romer v. Evans
In Romer v. Evans, KBA joined the Colorado Bar Association in a limited brief to stand up for the rights of all citizens to organize and affect the political process.
State ex rel. Stephan v. Smith
In State ex rel Stephan v. Smith, KBA sponsored a brief on the unconstitutionality of our indigent defense panel law and how it violated the state constitution's prohibition against local legislation.Jerry Elliott wrote the brief for us at that time. The KBA's position was persuasive. See 242 Kan. 336, 747 P.2d 816 (Kan. 1987).
Workers Compensation Attorney Fee Litigation
In 1993, the Legislature changed Kansas workers compensation law to further restrict attorney fee cases. The KBA has not taken a position on this issue, however, as of early August 1995, the case testing this provision is not yet to the appellate level.
Challenge to Constitutionality of IOLTA
The Washington Legal Foundation (a Washington, D.C., based "think tank”) filed a lawsuit against the Legal Foundation of Washington (the IOLTA administrator in the State of Washington) challenging the constitutionality of IOLTA insofar as it applied to "limited practice officers” (escrow agents whose closing of real estate transactions is considered the limited practice of law in Washington State). The Board of Governors agreed to join the Legal Foundation of Washington as an amicus is opposing this challenge to the constitutionality of IOLTA.
Sedgwick Board of County Commissioners v. Hon Paul Buchanan
The Sedgwick Board of County Commissions filed an original mandamus action in the Kansas Supreme Court challenging Judge Buchanan’s authority to issue Orders directing the funding authorities to provide adequate funding for reasonable and necessary Court expenses. Consistent with its long-standing commitment to an independent judiciary and adequate funding of the judicial system, the Board of Governors voted to authorize the filing of an amicus brief in support of Judge Buchanan if the Supreme Court denied Judge Buchanan’s request that the Petition be dismissed or denied and set the matter for argument.
The KBA has no connection with the Supreme Court Nominating Commission and plays no role in the election or appointment of members to that commission or the selection of Supreme Court justices. The KBA is a nonprofit, voluntary members organization — attorneys in Kansas are not required to join the KBA. Elected members of the commission are elected by all licensed attorneys in the state of Kansas, not by KBA membership. Appointed members of the commission are appointed by the governor, who does not review those selections with the KBA. For more information on the Supreme Court Nominating Commission, please see K.S.A. 20-119 et seq.