Jeff is the practice leader for Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits group. Jeff is relied upon by clients as a trusted, responsive, and down-to-earth advisor. He has substantial experience litigating in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies, and regularly provides clients with advice on difficult workplace issues and legal compliance matters. Jeff also works closely with educational institutions, and has been certified as a Title IX Coordinator by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA).
Jeff represents employers across a range of industries, particularly manufacturing, transportation, education and finance. His clients include employers of all types, from private business to government agencies and nonprofit organizations.
Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits: Jeff regularly counsels employers on difficult workplace issues and is a sought-after speaker on employment law. While the services he provides cover a full range of employment areas, he has particular expertise with claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, FMLA/ADA leave and reasonable accommodation issues, and non-compete agreements.
Higher Education: Jeff has many years of experience advising public and private universities with respect to Title IX compliance, employment law, and other matters unique to faculty, students, and administrators of higher educational institutions.
Sports Law: Jeff applies his labor and employment experience to counsel one of the nation’s most successful collegiate athletics programs. He works with athletic directors, coaches and other staff, in offices and in courtrooms, helping them maintain their focus on the fields of competition.
SKO represented an insurance company that was being sued in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky by a paper products manufacturer for breach of an insurance contract. The manufacturer alleged that it had proven a covered loss under an employee theft policy and the insurer disagreed and denied many elements of the claim. At the trial court level, the manufacturer willfully violated multiple discovery orders and the court dismissed the manufacturer’s claims as a sanction. After the dismissal, the trial court denied the insurer’s motion for fees incurred litigating the dispute. The manufacturer appealed the trial court’s denial to the Sixth Circuit and the insurer cross-appealed the denial of fees. After briefing on the first appeal had concluded, the parties resolved all matters amicably. While the case did not result in an appellate decision, SKO was successful in preserving an important district court opinion levying a rare dismissal sanction for discovery misconduct.
SKO represented a university that terminated one of its police officers after two episodes of misconduct that were detected through intradepartmental procedures. The employee appealed the termination through an internal appeal process, which concluded in a four-day de novo hearing before a neutral Hearing Officer from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office. The internal appeal was unsuccessful, and the employee appealed to Jefferson Circuit Court, arguing that the Hearing Officer’s recommendations were arbitrary and capricious and that the employee had been deprived of the procedural protections found within KRS 15.520, aka the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights. In response, the university explained that the Hearing Officer’s recommendations were well supported, that KRS 15.520 was only applicable when officer discipline was premised on a citizen complaint (and thus not applicable in an intradepartmental matter), and that even if the procedural protections of KRS 15.520 applied, any prejudice was cured through the four-day de novo hearing that the employee had been afforded internally. After the Circuit Court agreed with the university’s points and upheld the Hearing Officer, the employee appealed to the Kentucky Court of Appeals, where the same arguments were made. The Court of Appeals issued a 31-page opinion affirming the trial court on all points. The employee filed a motion for discretionary review which is currently pending. The case is a very meaningful one in the law enforcement community, particularly among non-unionized officers. Also, in reaching its decision, the Court of Appeals ruled as a matter of first impression that the university’s internal pre-hearing processes were constitutional.