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Bluestem Telephone Co. v. Kansas Corporation Commission

February 8, 2008

BLUESTEM TELEPHONE COMPANY, ET AL., APPELLEES,
v.
KANSAS CORPORATION COMMISSION, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Nemaha District Court; JAMES A. PATTON, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The Kansas Universal Service Fund was established to provide a subsidy for local exchange telephone carriers in order to replace revenue lost from bringing intrastate and interstate rates into parity pursuant to state and federal law.

2. Although we give some deference to an agency's interpretation of statutes that the agency is charged with implementing, we do not perceive K.S.A. 16-204 (interest on judgments) as such a statute.

3. Any entitlement to postjudgment interest under K.S.A. 16-204 attaches automatically and is not waived by a litigant's failure to previously plead or otherwise request such interest.

4. The loss of the use of money generally ought to be compensated, whether occasioned by delay or default of an ordinary citizen or the State or one of its agencies or political subdivisions.

5. K.S.A. 16-204 authorizes the assessment of postjudgment interest against the State and any agency or political subdivision of the State.

6. A specific amount of money need not be stated in a judgment in order to trigger postjudgment interest liability under K.S.A. 16-204, so long as the judgment is a final determination of the rights of the parties in the action and specifies a readily determinable sum.

7. Under the facts of this case, where there was no final, definite adjudication of the rights of the parties by reason of a prior district court action or this court's review thereof, but rather any finality and definiteness was achieved only upon a subsequent agency action on remand, postjudgment interest under K.S.A. 16-204 was not triggered by the prior judgment of the district court or the mandate of the appellate court.

8. Bluestem Telephone Co. v. Kansas Corporation Comm'n, 33 Kan. App. 2d 817, 109 P.3d 194, rev. denied 280 Kan. 981 (2005) (Bluestem I), is construed and applied.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greene, P.J.

Affirmed in part and reversed in part.

Before GREENE, P.J., McANANY and BUSER, JJ.

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) appeals a district court judgment that reversed a KCC order and awarded interest to a group of rural telecommunication companies, which received a restoration of support payments they had lost from the Kansas Universal Service Fund (KUSF) for access line adjustments under K.S.A. 66-2008(e). The restoration of these payments was ordered by the KCC after a mandate from this court that affirmed the district court and overturned the basis utilized by the KCC in calculating the appropriate adjustments to KUSF support for 2003 through 2005 because the KCC failed to consider the required statutory factors for each such adjustment. Bluestem Telephone Co. v. Kansas Corporation Comm'n, 33 Kan. App. 2d 817, 109 P.3d 194, rev. denied 280 Kan. 981 (2005) (Bluestem I). When the KCC decided on remand to simply restore the prior support payments absent any recalculation of the proper adjustments for the subject periods, the companies claimed ...


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