Friday, October 12, 2012

Statutory Construction – Statutes in Derogation of the Common Law?

Statutory Construction – Statutes in Derogation of the Common Law?
I have to admit to confusion as to a point (well actually many points, but this is the one of the moment) of statutory construction.
             There exists a string of cases that stand for the proposition that a statute should not be interpreted to supersede the common law unless the legislative intent to do so is specific and explicit.  See, e.g., Brown Sprinkler Corp. v. Somerset-Pulaski County Dev. Found., Inc., 335 S.W.3d 455 (Ky. App. 2010); Miller v. Cundiff, 245 S.W.3d 786 (Ky. App. 2007).  Another string of cases stands for the proposition that the common law should in the face of a statute be deemed modified only to the degree necessary to prevent conflict between the two.  I interpret the latter rule as being a component of the former.
            At the same time we have a general statutory rule to the effect that these rules of construction do not apply.  KRS § 446.080(1) provides:
All statutes of this state shall be liberally construed with a view to promote their objects and carry out the intent of the legislature, and the rule that statutes in derogation of the common law are to be strictly construed shall not apply to the statutes of this state.
Some day I hope to either determine that these positions can be reconciled or, in the alternative, that the courts are simply ignoring KRS § 446.080(1).

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