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Interactive Media Entertainment v. Wingate

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Citation Edit

Interactive Media Entertainment, Inc. v Wingate, 2009 WL 142995 (Ky. App. Jan. 20, 2009)

Factual Background Edit

These consolidated petitions for a writ of prohibition stem from an order of the Franklin Circuit Court seizing 141 Internet domain names identified in a civil complaint filed by the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The trial court justified the seizure order on the basis that the domain names constituted "gambling devices" subject to the court's in rem jurisdiction. The petitioners argue that they were entitled to the extraordinary remedy of prohibition because the Franklin Circuit Court acted outside its jurisdiction and the parties had no adequate remedy by appeal.

Appellate Court Proceedings Edit

The focus of the appellate court's inquiry was whether the trial court had jurisdiction to act. This determination required an analysis of two factors:

(1) whether petitioners have standing to pursue a writ in this forum; and

(2) whether the domain names fit within the statutory definition of "gambling devices" so as to trigger subject matter jurisdiction over the nature of the case and the type of relief sought.

The appellate court found that the parties did have standing.

Next, the court needed to determine whether an Internet domain name fall within KRS 528.010(4). This issue was subject to de novo review by the court. The court found that the trial court erred in concluding that the domain names can be construed to be gambling devices subject to forfeiture under Ky. Rev. Stat. §528.100. The court noted that the General Assembly has not seen fit to amend Ky. Rev. Stat. §528.010(4) so as to bring domain names within the definition of gambling devices.

The court granted the petitions and enter an order prohibiting the lower court from enforcing its order seizing the 141 domain names and from conducting a scheduled forfeiture hearing.

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