Adam is a Member in Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Louisville office and has been with the firm since 2001. He serves as Chair of the Environmental Litigation practice and focuses primarily on complex cases involving clients in the energy and commercial sectors. He is also part of the Business Litigation, Banking Litigation, Health Care, and Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring practice groups.
Within the realm of environmental litigation, Adam has been lead counsel in a variety of complex cases involving hazardous waste, air and water. These cases include complex cost allocation, citizen suits, class actions, alleged regulatory violations and contractual claims. In many of the cases, Adam has achieved outright dismissals, while in others he has achieved a successful verdict on the merits or a favorable settlement.
A highlight of Adam’s success was his role as lead counsel for a chemical manufacturing client in an arbitration over cost allocation in which the client owned one of the most environmentally complex sites in the U.S. The prior owner of the site had owned and operated the facility for approximately 30 years until 1990, while Adam’s client has owned and operated the facility for the last 30 years. The parties had a significant dispute over responsibility for investigating and remediating the substantial environmental liabilities at the site. The parties arbitrated the dispute, and the final arbitration hearing consisted of 36 trial days over four months, 7,000 exhibits, more than 20 expert witnesses, 36 live witnesses and 16 witnesses by deposition. After the hearing, the three member arbitration panel issued a unanimous award assigning responsibility for 100% of the costs to the prior owner and 0% to Adam’s client. The arbitration award was confirmed by the federal district court. PolyOne Corporation v. Westlake Vinyls, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-121.
As further testament to Adam’s strengths as a litigator, Adam was lead counsel in an appeal that vacated a multimillion-dollar verdict against his client. The published opinion, Insight Kentucky Partners II L.P. v. Preferred Automotive Services, Inc., was the first in Kentucky state courts to establish the standard for aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty.
In other high-stakes cases, Adam has represented clients in substantial matters involving fraud, embezzlement and other financial improprieties. Adam led a forensic investigation into alleged financial improprieties in excess of $100 million at a major foundation. He also represented the largest creditor in a bankruptcy involving an approximately $2 billion dollar ponzi scheme, and Adam helped to lead not only the examination of the financial records in that matter, but also claims against accountants and various guarantors. Adam obtained summary judgment enforcing guarantee agreements in excess of $100 million dollars, and he achieved significant settlements in National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) arbitrations, insurance coverage disputes and breach of contract claims.
Early in his career, Adam gained substantial experience in criminal law and handled felony jury trials on matters ranging from white-collar crimes to murder charges. Most of the court rulings were acquittals on all charges or a conviction of lesser offenses.
For his numerous accomplishments, Adam has earned professional recognitions on a local and national level. He has shared his expertise in the field of environmental law in several news and legal publications, including Business First, Bench and Bar magazine and the Louisville Bar Association’s Bar Briefs.
Adam is AV® Preeminent ™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® and has also been recognized as a Kentucky Super Lawyer for several years. Recently he was listed in Louisville Magazine as one of the best environmental lawyers.
Environmental Litigation: Adam’s extensive background touches on all aspects of environmental law, from legal and regulatory matters to large-scale lawsuits. For a high-profile site in downtown Louisville, he challenged the claim that the property was in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), achieving a dismissal.
He has also defended clients in various citizen suits under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and was able to secure the dismissal of those lawsuits on various grounds before discovery. This includes a class action against the Louisville/Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District that involved claims arising out of flood damage.
Business Litigation: Working with clients in Kentucky and surrounding states, Adam helps resolve disputes over business torts, contracts, lender liability, LLC agreements, accountant liability, white-collar criminal defense and insurance coverage.
Banking Litigation: Adam advises businesses and professionals faced with securities infractions, preference and fraudulent conveyance claims, and valuation disputes, among other issues.
Health Care: Concentrating mainly on litigation, Adam represents hospitals, physicians and physicians groups, assisted-living facilities and other service providers in antitrust matters, insurance coverage disputes, breach of contract claims and a range of other concerns.
Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring: Adam provides representation to all types of constituencies in insolvency situations, from lender liability litigation to conflicts over securitized loans.
Louisville Industrial Park, LLC v. ExxonMobil Oil Corporation, et al., Case No. 3:14-CV-278-CRS (W.D. Ky., 2017). See also, FCBKy Holding, LLC v. Louisville Industrial Park, LLC, et al., Case No. 13-CI-402829 (Jefferson Circuit Court, 2013).
Originally presented with a foreclosure case by our bank client, the matter became further complicated when the location in question was declared a Superfund Site by the U.S. EPA. SKO negotiated a resolution that involved an acquisition under Kentucky’s brownfields regulations, protecting the bank against liability for historic contamination. The firm’s attorneys also successfully acquired the property for a subsidiary while dealing with substantial tax liens and negotiated a plan for cleanup, which proved satisfactory to state and federal regulators. Subsequently, SKO also successfully resolved lender liability claims that threatened to delay the transfer of the property and the commencement of cleanup activities. The case was settled favorably in March 2018.
When a faction of an LLC purported to take control of its board notwithstanding the absence of a vote of the members, SKO represented a group of members in litigation insisting that the requirements of the operating agreement be satisfied.
SKO represented certain members of a Kentucky nonprofit equine corporation in litigation against the nonprofit. When “significant deficiencies” were identified in the nonprofit’s $2 million annual budget, the organization refused to produce accounting records to the members who requested them. SKO obtained a summary judgment on behalf of its clients and defeated nonprofit’s motion for a stay of the judgment pending appeal. SKO also established that the nonprofit destroyed records, computer hard drives and backup servers during the pendency of the litigation. The Fayette Circuit Court held the nonprofit in contempt and ordered it to pay SKO’s fees. The nonprofit sought relief in the Kentucky Court of Appeals. Following the conclusion of the briefing by both parties, the nonprofit agreed to dismiss its appeals and to comply with the judgments entered in the Fayette Circuit Court action. This was a case of first impression in Kentucky. The Court held that, under Kentucky law, all Kentucky nonprofit corporations must allow their members to inspect and copy all of the corporation’s books and records.