A lawsuit by Toyota paint shop workers seeking back pay will proceed in circuit court in Scott County, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
The 5-2 ruling rejects a decision last year by the same court that sided with Toyota, which has said the long-argued case should continue to be heard through the state Department of Labor.
Rob Roark, one of the attorneys for the workers, said he's excited the case will return for trial in circuit court.
"We finally are going to get our day in court to be heard," he said. "We've been fighting procedure, but the merits of the case haven't been heard."
Toyota spokesman Rick Hesterberg said the company disagreed with the decision and was "disappointed in the Kentucky Supreme Court's decision to change their prior decision."
He noted the move is "another procedural ruling that doesn't really have any impact on the heart of the case."
At the heart of the case is whether workers should have been paid for the time it takes to put on and remove protective suits, and to walk to and from their jobs. The original suit was filed in August 1999.
In 2006, Toyota offered settlements to affected workers of $1,000 for a full year of work for up to five years. More than 1,100 employees accepted. But lawyers for the workers have claimed they're entitled to more.
Justice Mary Noble was among the dissenters in Thursday's ruling and questioned why the court would essentially restart the proceedings in a different venue.
"Where is the concern for fairness to Toyota?" she wrote.