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C. Kent Hatfield

Member, Louisville

Kent is a Member in Stoll Keenon Ogden's Louisville office. He is a member of the Utility & Energy practice as well as the Business Litigation practice with a focus on Antitrust & Trade Regulation, Business Torts, and Corporate Law.  As a trial attorney in the Antitrust Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, DC, he gained extensive experience investigating and prosecuting antitrust cases in the electric power, natural gas and other regulated industries. A frequent theme of his practice is the interplay between law and economics in the energy, telecommunications, utility, aluminum and construction industries. He has deep experience in antitrust litigation and counseling, and frequently appears before federal and state courts and agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Kentucky Public Service Commission in matters involving economic and utility regulation and rates. He has successfully handled numerous Sherman Act and Robinson-Patman Act cases, including class actions. He has unique experience in corporate and governance issues for joint ventures.  He has received specialized litigation training at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy in Boulder, Colorado.

Kent is AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated™ by Martindale-Hubbell® and has been listed for many years in Best Lawyers in America® (Administrative Law, Communications Law and Energy Law), in "Chambers USA" (Environment, Natural Resources and Regulated Industries) and is recognized as a Kentucky Super Lawyer (Utilities). His corporate practice involves counseling on a wide variety of corporate transactions, including financing, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, corporate valuations and shareholder disputes. He has extensive experience negotiating jointly-owned electric generating plant agreements. He is Corporate Secretary to a large manufacturing joint venture and serves as principal outside counsel to a number of businesses, having guided many businesses through organization and start-up into periods of growth and maturity.

Kent graduated with high distinction from the University of Kentucky College of Law, where he qualified for Order of the Coif and published for the Kentucky Law Journal.   His undergraduate degree is in business and economics from the University of Kentucky.

Kent is admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the U.S. District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Kentucky, and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. He is a member of the Kentucky, Louisville and American Bar associations, as well as the Energy Bar Association and the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation.

Education
University of Kentucky College of Law
1973, J.D., High Distinction
University of Kentucky
1970, B.S.
Admissions
Kentucky Supreme Court
U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky

Recognition

  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year," Louisville, Administrative/Regulatory Law, 2013
  • Louisville Magazine Top Lawyer, Administrative Law, Antitrust Law, Corporate Law, 2012-2014; Administrative Law and Antitrust & Trade Regulation Law, 2016
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®, Administrative/Regulatory Law, Communications Law, Energy Law; Listed in Best Lawyers for over 25 years
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated™ by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyer for Business, Utilities, 2015-2017
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer, Utilities
  • Order of the Coif
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Affiliations

  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Energy Bar Association
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Christian Alliance for Orphans, founding director
  • Bob Russell Ministries, Inc, founding director
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Work Highlights

Family Business Succession Planning and Estate Planning with Special Trusts

Represented husband and wife in planning for their business and estates by restructuring the company into voting and nonvoting shares, allowing them to transfer value while maintaining control, and preparing and implementing a stock restriction agreement, a multi-generation family protection trust, traditional A/B trust planning, essential planning, a qualified personal residence trust, a vacation home trust, and gifting trusts for each grandchild.

Related Practices: Business Services

Intellectual Property and Licensing

Currently represent a software services company that provides a suite of management and IT solutions for financial institutions, designed to improve efficiency and compliance with federal regulations in connection with seed round and subsequent financings involving a national private equity fund.

Sale of Natural Gas Production Interests

Represented sellers of significant natural gas production interests in series of large transactions with strategic buyers.  Included negotiation with multiple prospective purchasers, NDAs, due diligence, regulatory issues, negotiation and closing of all purchase-related agreements.

Recapitalization and Restructuring of Financial Services Compliance Firm

Represented financial services compliance firm in all aspects of recapitalization and sale of multiple series of securities to private equity firm and other stockholders.

Related Practices: Business Services

Sale of Financial Services Technology Business to Private Equity Firm

Represented sellers in negotiating and closing the sale of major high technology, financial services business.  Included confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, review of competing proposals by prospective purchasers; due diligence; negotiation and closing of all purchase agreements with well-known private equity firm buyer.

Related Practices: Business Services

Injunctive Relief, State Insurance Regulation

Obtained injunctive relief for major retailer of vision care products against major insurer of vision care for violation of state “any willing provider” law.  Dr. Mark Lynn & Assocs., PLLC v. Vision Service Plan Ins. Co., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24820 (U.S.D.C. W.D. Ky. 2005).

Federal and State Regulation, Telecommunications

Obtained favorable ruling in interconnection dispute between major telecommunication carriers, prevailing before Sixth Circuit, District Court, and Kentucky Public Service Commission.  BellSouth Telecomms., Inc. v. Goss, 142 Fed. Appx. 886 (6th Cir. 2005).

Related Practices: Utility & Energy

Antitrust, Telecommunications

Successfully defended telecommunications carrier in Sixth Circuit and District Court against antitrust and related claims in suit brought by prison inmates.  Daleure v. Kentucky, 269 F. 3d 540 (6th Cir. 2001); Daleure v. Kentucky, 119 F. Supp. 2d 683 (U.S.D.C W.D. Ky. 2000).

Related Practices: Utility & Energy

Antitrust, Robinson-Patman Act

Successfully defended manufacturer of lawn and garden equipment against Robinson-Patman Act claims in distribution before Sixth Circuit and District Court.  New Albany Tractor, Inc. v. Louisville Tractor, Inc., 650 F. 3d 1046 (2011); New Albany Tractor, Inc., v. Louisville Tractor, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 352, (U.S.D.C. W.D. Ky. 2010).

Antitrust, Constitutionality of State Law

Brought action on behalf of major grocery chain claiming Sherman Act and Kentucky Constitution violations by state agency.  Result invalidated state statutes regulating milk marketing.  Kentucky Milk Marketing & Antimonopoly Com. v. Kroger Co., 691 S.W. 2d 893 (1985).

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Cases

Successfully handled major litigated rate case before FERC on behalf of utility purchaser of wholesale distribution service.  Case established new ratemaking methodology through extensive hearing and resulted in substantial refunds and lower purchase rates for SKO client.

Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc. and Ameren Illinois Company, 148 FERC ¶ 61,206, Opinion 534 (2014)

Related Practices: Utility & Energy

Competing Venture by an LLC Member

When a minority member of an LLC organized a competing venture, SKO brought suit and obtained injunctive relief on behalf of our client based upon minority member’s breach of his statutory duty of loyalty. After a two-week jury trial, obtained favorable settlement for client.

LLC Member’s “Salary”

When a terminated member argued that he was still entitled to his “salary,” SKO prevailed in the lawsuit, demonstrating that the “salary” was a distribution and that under state law the LLC was prohibited from making a distribution under existing circumstances.

Class Action, Telecommunications, Public Utility, Taxation & Consumer Protection

SKO represented a class of more than 450,000 members in U.S. District Court challenge to overcharges/tariff violations by regulated telecommunications carrier. We obtained summary judgment on federal overcharge claims for class members and protected class certification by defeating an interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. We also prevailed for class members in a collateral state utility commission proceeding on issues referred by the District Court. Settlement approved by District Court in November 2013 included cash refunds to all class members. Bowers v. Windstream Ky. East, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157242 (W.D. Ky. 2013).
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