Kansas Court of Appeals to Hear Case at Southwestern College

The Kansas Court of Appeals is slated to hear cases in Cowley County this month and will hear a case at Southwestern College on Tuesday, April 9, from 10 to 11 a.m., in the Richardson Performing Arts Center. There will be a follow-up question and answer time from 11 a.m. to noon in the Deets Library. Students, faculty, staff, and the public are invited to attend.  There is no admission charge.

“This would be a great opportunity for students, faculty, and members of the public to see what they do and how Court of Appeals cases are handled,” says J.K. Campbell, associate vice president for faculty affairs and dean of faculty at Southwestern College.

Judges Amy Fellows Cline, G. Gordon Atcheson, and Rachel Pickering will hear oral arguments starting at 10 a.m. The case being heard is a wrongful termination case brought by Stephen Mattice against the city of Stafford.  Mattice brought a claim under the Kansas whistleblower statute after the city of Stafford terminated his employment as police chief. The district court originally dismissed the claim. The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings. After discovery, the city moved for summary judgment, contending that Mattice could not meet the elements of the statutory claim. The district court granted summary judgment, and Mattice again appeals, contending that the district court improperly resolved material fact disputes.

The 14-judge Court of Appeals hears all appeals from orders of the Kansas Corporation Commission and all appeals from district courts in both civil and criminal cases, except those that may be appealed directly to the Supreme Court. In fiscal year 2022, the Court of Appeals resolved appeals in more than 1,000 cases, including 781 cases in which the court issued formal written decisions.

The court may hear appeals en banc, which means by all 14 of its judges. Most frequently, though, the court sits in panels of three judges.

Court of Appeals judges decide appealed cases by reading the trial record and written briefs filed by the parties, and sometimes hearing oral arguments from lawyers. They research and review relevant laws and write decisions, some of which are published in bound volumes.

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