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Palmer G. Vance II

Member, Lexington

Gene Vance, a Member in the Lexington office, has been with the firm since 1995. He is a member of the Business Litigation Practice Group, as well as the Tort, Trial and Insurance Services Practice Group, and the Intellectual Property Practice Group. Gene maintains an active trial and dispute resolution practice focusing on business and commercial litigation, products liability litigation, toxic tort litigation, copyright and intellectual property litigation, trucking and transportation litigation, and insurance coverage litigation. He serves as chair of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee.

Gene has received an AV Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating © and is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and as a Kentucky Super Lawyer based upon his experience and ability. He has also been listed in the International Who’s Who of Commercial Litigators since 2013.

Gene represents several large consumer goods and industrial products manufacturers and has defended products liability matters throughout Kentucky and in other jurisdictions. He has defended toxic tort claims including asbestos, benzene and styrene exposure cases, as well as pharmaceutical claims.

His business litigation experience includes disputes in the automotive, environmental, equine, mining and construction industries. Gene previously represented a manufacturer of shipping containers in industry wide products liability litigation and served as Kentucky counsel for several pharmaceutical companies involved in pricing litigation with the Kentucky Attorney General.

His intellectual property practice has included representation of an international trade association in copyright infringement litigation throughout the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. Gene’s trucking industry experience includes representation of national, regional and local motor carriers, as well as representation of a number of trucking insurance companies including the largest underwriter of trucking insurance in Canada. His experience with insurance matters includes significant coverage litigation, as well as claims for extra-contractual damages, for domestic carriers as well as several underwriting syndicates at Lloyd’s, London. Gene’s national practice has included handling matters before courts in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

Gene currently is Chair Elect of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation, the largest section in the ABA. He has been active in the Section’s leadership since 2003, previously serving as the Section’s Revenue Officer as a Managing Director of the Section and co-chairing the Section’s 2009 Annual Meeting.

Since 2001, Gene has served in the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association, and currently serving as the Kentucky State Delegate. From 2010-12, he served as Chair of the House Committee on Rules & Calendar. He has chaired or co-chaired two ABA Presidential Appointments Committees. From 2012-15, he served as Chair of the Council of the ABA’s charitable arm, the Fund for Justice and Education. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of both the American Bar Endowment and the American Bar Foundation. Gene is a member of the Defense Research Institute and the American Counsel Association.

Gene served as President of the Fayette County Bar Association in 2013-14 and has also held a number of positions with the Kentucky Bar Association, including as a member of the Board of Governors and as Chair of its Young Lawyers Division.

Active within the community, Gene serves on the Board of Regents at Transylvania University, as Treasurer of Legal Aid of the Bluegrass and on the Advisory Board of the International Book Project. He is a past president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation and continues as a member of the Board of Trustees. From 2011-13, he was Vice-Chair of the Lexington Fayette Police and Fire Pension Task Force. He previously served as a trustee of the Delta Sigma Phi Foundation and on boards of various other non-profits in Kentucky. In 2013, Gene’s community service was recognized with presentation of the Difference Makers Award from the American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division.

Recent representative engagements include:

  • Philadelphia Indemnity Ins. Co. v. Youth Alive, Inc., 732 F.3d 645 (6th Cir. 2013)
  • Philadelphia Indemnity Ins. Co. v. Youth Alive, Inc., 857 F.Supp.2d 647 (W.D. Ky. 2012)
  • Cumberland Valley Contractors, Inc. v. Bell County Coal Corp., 238 S.W.3d 644 (Ky. 2007)
  • Hiscox Dedicated Corporate Member v. Wilson, 246 F.Supp.2d 684 (E.D. Ky. 2003)
  • Morton v. Bank of the Bluegrass & Trust Co., 18 S.W.3d 353 (Ky. App. 1999)
  • Horner v. Kentucky High School Athletic Ass’n, 43 F.3d 265 (6th Cir. 1994)
  • Converge, Inc. v. Topy America, Inc. 2009 U.S.App. LEXIS 4917 (6 Cir. 2009)
  • Fritz v. Campbell Hausfeld/Scott Fetzer Co., 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 38887 (E.D. Ky. 2007)
  • Gatewood v. Universal Underwriters Ins. Co., 2007 U.S. Dist.





University of Kentucky College of Law
1990, J.D.
Transylvania University
1987, B.A., cum laude
Kentucky Supreme Court
Pro Hac Vice: Florida, Illinois, Maine, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky


  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America®, Commercial Litigation, Product Liability Litigation-Defendants
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer, Business Litigation
  • International Who's Who of Commercial Litigators
  • American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division’s Difference Makers Award for “Making a Difference through Community Service,” 2013
  • Life Member, Sixth Circuit Judicial Conference
  • American Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • American Bar Association, vice-chair of the Section of Litigation, 2016-2017
  • Kentucky Bar Foundation, Life Fellow
  • Leadership Kentucky, Class of 2008
  • Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation, Vice-President and Trustee
  • National Counsel for Omicron Delta Kappa, the national collegiate leadership honor society, 1994-2004
  • Distinguished Service Key from Omicron Delta Kappa, Recipient, 2006
  • Meritorious Service Award from Omicron Delta Kappa, Recipient, 2000
  • Delta Sigma Phi Foundation, trustee, 2005-2011
  • Harvey H. Hebert Memorial Award for Distinguished Service, 2001
  • Mr. Delta Sig Award (Fraternity's Highest Award), Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, 2011
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  • Fayette County Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Endowment, board of directors, 2012–present
  • American Bar Foundation, board of directors 2012–present
  • Defense Research Institute
  • American Counsel Association, board of directors, 2009-2012
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Work Highlights

Warranty and Products Liability

John F. Ruggles, Jr., Inc. v. Ventex Tech., Inc., No. 09-141, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 79816 (E.D. Ky. Jul. 21, 2011)

Obtained complete defense summary judgment for client in case involving breach of warranty claims against manufacturer of electronic transformers used in commercial signage.

Related Practices: Business Litigation

Premises and Promoter Liability

Brotherton v. Victory Sports, Inc., 24 F. Supp. 3d 617 (E.D. Ky. 2014)

Successfully defended motocross race promoter and venue owner against negligence claims relating to injury sustained during motocross racing event.  The case resulted in complete summary judgment in favor of SKO’s clients.

Unfair Competition, Negligent & Intentional Misrepresentation

Successfully represented client in claims for unfair competition and intentional and negligent misrepresentation against competitor companies. The claims involved complex issues relating to a patented air pollution control technology and governmental regulations relating to the same. A favorable settlement was reached with each of the defendants resulting in a multi-million dollar recovery for our client.
News Seminars
"General Counsel Forum," Kentucky Bar Association Convention, Lexington, KentuckyJune 2008
"The Legal Community Working Together Nationally," Panel Member, Kentucky Bar Association Convention, Louisville, KentuckyJune 2005
"Responding to Aggressive Litigation Tactics," ALFA International Client Seminar, Scottsdale, ArizonaMarch 2004