Judge extends deadline for bonding agency to respond in civil case against former county clerk

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By Mallory Bilger

The county’s case against former Spencer County Clerk Judy Puckett will not move forward until September as Judge Charles Hickman granted a motion for enlargement of time Thursday to Liberty Mutual Insurance/Ohio Casualty Insurance Company.
Puckett’s bonding agency at the time of her employment — Liberty Mutual Insurance/Ohio Casualty Insurance Company —  will get 60 additional days to respond to the county’s amended complaint which adds the agency as a defendant in the civil case. The suit aims to recoup thousands of dollars that a state audit claims Puckett owes to the Spencer County Fiscal Court. The audit specifically identified $42,651 due directly to Spencer County Fiscal Court, as additional excess fees due the county, which were collected during 2009 and 2010. The $42,651 is the amount sought by the county in the civil suit filed in 2011.
Hickman granted Liberty Mutual Insurance/Ohio Casualty Insurance Company 60 additional days to respond to the amended complaint filed by the county. The initial complaint only named Puckett, but the county now seeks to add the insurance company. Spencer County Circuit Court Clerk Becky Robinson said in an email that the insurance company’s response is due Sept. 10. According to court documents, the company was seeking additional time to find local legal counsel.  
According to the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, the county was legally bound to seek the alleged missing funds. Puckett is being represented by local attorney Robert Coots. According to the defendant’s answer to the county’s initial complaint, “the defendant herein denies any indebtedeness or liability to the plaintiff under the allegations contained in the complaint.”