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John W. Bilby

Member, Louisville

John is a seasoned litigator and a member of SKO’s Business Litigation practice. He also co-chairs the Trust & Estate Litigation practice. John’s career is highlighted by numerous successes in courts, recovering assets and resolving claims for the benefit of his clients.

Education
University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law
1975, J.D.
University of Kentucky
1972, M.B.A.
University of Kentucky
1971, B.B.A.
Admissions
Indiana
Kentucky
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh 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
United States Supreme Court

Recognition

  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Best Lawyers in America®, 2007 - present
  • Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year,” Louisville, Litigation-Real Estate and Litigation-Securities, 2014, 2017, 2018
  • Trust & Estate Attorney of the Year in Kentucky, Global Law Experts, 2015
  • Best in Technology Transfer Disputes in Kentucky, Corporate America Awards, 2015
  • Trust & Estate Attorney of the Year in Kentucky, Corporate Intl Magazine Global Award, 2014 and 2015
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, Real Estate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Trusts & Estates Litigation
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer, Business Litigation
  • Louisville Magazine Top Lawyer, Business/Commercial Law, 2012-2014; Business Litigation, 2013 and 2014
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Affiliations

  • American Bar Association, member
  • Indiana Bar Association, member
  • Kentucky Bar Association, member; Ethics Committee member, 2005
  • Citizens for Better Judges, 1989 - present; Advisory Board member, 2017 - present
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Meet John

Legal Practice

In my practice, I litigate business, estate and trust, and fiduciary disputes. I focus on contract disputes involving technology transfers and fiduciary disputes involving banks, trust companies and brokerages. I also represent fiduciaries in disputes with trust beneficiaries over the management of trust assets. My trial experience includes significant cases involving business disputes over computer software and fiduciary matters.

Recent highlights of my career include the following:

  • SKO successfully defended a bank against 36 claims for breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract and negligence brought by seven beneficiaries of two trusts, with an initial demand ranging from $450 million to $1.2 billion. Before trial, SKO obtained a summary judgment, dismissing 10 of the beneficiaries’ claims and reducing their demand to $162 million. Following a three-week trial, the court entered judgment in favor of the bank against the remaining claims. The bank also sought recovery of costs, expenses and attorneys’ fees under the fee-shifting statute of Kentucky’s Uniform Trust Code. The court awarded $2.6 million, more than 95 percent of the amount in the bank’s motion, in one of the first awards rendered by a Kentucky appellate court under the fee-shifting statute.

Looking Ahead

Estate, trust, fiduciary and securities litigation have become a much larger part of our trial practice. The generation now reaching retirement age has accumulated wealth; with it comes claims against fiduciaries, among beneficiaries and against brokerages.

Work Highlights

Estate Litigation

After a 2 ½ week trial in the Bourbon Circuit Court in 2013, obtained a favorable jury verdict setting aside an estate plan on the basis of undue influence and unsound mind and awarding damages exceeding $550,000 for misappropriation of Trust funds.

Abuse of Power of Attorney & Joint Account

SKO successfully represented a trust company appointed as conservator for an individual diagnosed with dementia who had millions of dollars taken from him by his attorney-in-fact (power of attorney) who also fraudulently created joint survivorship accounts. The individual also generated a will in...

Suitability Claims 

SKO successfully represented a bank acting in a fiduciary capacity in pursuing suitability claims against a securities firm. The amount recovered for our client was approximately $10,000,000.

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