- On May 26, the trial court entered a final judgment;
- Within ten days Appellee filed a motion for relief from the judgment;
- On June 16 the trial court denied this motion;
- Appellee thereafter filed another motion for relief from the judgment;
- The trial court granted this second motion, reversed its order of June 16 and modified its May 26 judgment, and;
- This ruling was appealed.
In Mingey v. Cline Leasing Service, Inc., 707 S.W.2d 794, 796 (Ky. App.1986), the chronology was as follows:
- On January 11, the trial court entered a final judgment;
- Within ten days Appellant filed a motion for relief from the judgment;
- On February 15, the trial court denied this motion;
- Appellant thereafter filed another motion for relief from the judgment;
- The trial court granted this second motion, reversed its order of February 15 and set aside its January 11 judgment;
- On March 27 Appellee moved to have the January 11 judgment reinstated;
- Thereafter, on April 18, the trial court granted Appllee's motion and reinstated the prior judgment based upon the holding in Cloverleaf Dairy v. Michels, supra, and;
- This ruling was appealed.
The primary difference between Cloverleaf Dairy and Mingey is simply this: The final judgment in Mingey was a default judgment and in Cloverleaf Dairy, it was not. Different rules apply to Kentucky default judgments, in several respects.
For example, it is a general rule that for a trial error to be subject to appellate review, the alleged error must first be presented at the trial court level and preserved in the record. One exception to this general rule is the direct appeal of a default judgment. As the Court of Appeals stated in Statewide Environmental Services Inc v. Fifth Third Bank, 352 S.W.3d 927 (Ky. App. 2011):
"Of course, an inherent characteristic of a direct appeal from a default judgment is that the appellant has failed to preserve his claim of error. Ordinarily, we review unpreserved claims under the manifest injustice standard established in CR 61.02, the "substantial error" rule. However, the standard of review we apply now became a part of our common law in Rouse v. Craig Realty Co., 203 Ky. 697, 262 S.W. 1083 (1924), before adoption of our current rules of civil procedure. Subsequent to the adoption of the current civil rules, the issue arose again in Mingey v. Cline Leasing Service, Inc., 707 S.W.2d 794 (Ky.App.1986), and we elected to apply the more specific Rouse standard of review despite the availability of CR 61.02. Jeffrey followed Mingey; therefore, we now follow Jeffrey . . .Under Jeffrey v. Jeffrey, [153 S.W.3d 849, 851 (Ky. App. 2004)] , the default judgment itself may be appealed directly without preservation of the error . . . ." [footnotes 6 - 7]“ 'However, the issue in such an appeal [is] limited to determining whether the pleadings were sufficient to uphold the judgment, or whether the appellant was actually in default.' Mingey v. Cline Leasing Service, Inc., Ky.App., 707 S.W.2d 794, 796 (1986) citing Rouse v. Craig Realty Co., 203 Ky. 697, 262 S.W. 1083 (1924)", as quoted in Jeffrey.