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Samuel D. Hinkle IV

Member, Louisville

Sam is a Member in Stoll Keenon Ogden's Louisville office and practices in Lexington as well. He is also a member of the firm’s board of directors.  He serves as chair of the firm's Litigation department and Business Litigation practice and is a member of the Banking Litigation, Environmental Litigation; Antitrust, Trade Regulation & Franchise; Class Action; Construction; Bankruptcy; Mineral & Environmental Law; Equine and Real Estate practices. He focuses on complex commercial litigation, contract and fraud claims, environmental law, equine law, bankruptcy litigation and land use disputes.

Sam is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, is listed in The Best Lawyers in America®, recognized by Chambers USA, honored as a Kentucky Super Lawyer and recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a "Local Litigation Star" for his legal accomplishments. He was also honored by Louisville Magazine as a Top Lawyer. He has successfully defended clients against claims of lender liability and breach of fiduciary duty, actions alleging fraud and other violations of securities law.  His clients include major chemical companies, financial institutions, energy companies, equine interests, trade organizations and creditors involved in bankruptcy proceedings. He also has extensive experience in land use, planning, zoning and subdivision regulation matters. He is experienced with the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, CERCLA, RCRA, the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act in addition to state regulatory matters.

Sam is a member of the Louisville and American Bar associations. He currently serves on the Kentucky Board of Education and previously served on the Shelby County School Board as a member and Chair. Sam is a past participant of Leadership Shelby County and Leadership Louisville Bingham Fellows.  He is also a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Yale University
1972, J.D.
Washington and Lee University
1969, B.A., summa cum laude
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Indiana
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Kentucky
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Central District of California
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court, Northern District of California
U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan


  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, Bankruptcy; Energy & Natural Resources; Environmental; Equine; General Commercial, 2013-2017
  • Best Lawyers in America®, 2006 - present
  • Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year,” Louisville, Litigation-Environmental, 2017
  • Best Lawyers “Lawyer of the Year,” Louisville, Litigation-Antitrust, 2014
  • Best Lawyers "Lawyer of the Year," Louisville, Litigation-Land Use & Zoning, 2013
  • Louisville Magazine Top Lawyer, Environmental Law, 2013; Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2012-2014 and 2016
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer, Business Litigation
  • Chambers USA, Leading Lawyer for Business, Litigation: General Commercial, 2014-2017
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  • American Bar Association
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Kentucky Board of Education, member
  • Shelby Co., Ky. School Board, past member and Chair
  • Leadership Shelby County
  • Bingham Fellow, Leadership Louisville Foundation
  • Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
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Work Highlights

Complex Litigation of Superfund Cleanup Site

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.

Contaminated Collateral

Successfully represented local lender regarding a defaulted loan secured by collateral that was contaminated and subsequently un-archived as a Superfund site.

Rights of Nonprofit Members to Inspect Corporate Records

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.

Securities Fraud

SKO’s client was one of several defendants sued by a group of disappointed investors alleging securities law violations. SKO mounted an aggressive defense, and while the plaintiffs settled with other defendants, they agreed to simply dismiss their claims against SKO’s client.

USEF Administrative Proceeding

SKO represented four American Saddlebred horse show officials in an administrative hearing conducted by the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), the United States' governing body for equestrian sports. In the hearing, the owner of a fallen horse filed multiple charges against the show’s officials when his horse died after becoming excited and striking its head as medical crew were attempting to assist an injured rider at the show. The horse owner alleged that show officials violated several safety rules that contributed to the death of the horse. If the owner prevailed, officials would face suspensions, fines and the potential for additional civil litigation. The USEF found in favor of SKO’s clients on all charges and acknowledged that while the incident was tragic, SKO’s clients acted appropriately and complied with all applicable rules.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claim

SKO represented a client in a federal action in California involving claims of fraud and civil conspiracy in connection with a multi-million dollar equine transaction.  SKO obtained a Rule 12 dismissal of the claims against its client, but the Court granted leave to amend.  After amendment of the claims by the Plaintiff, SKO was successful in obtaining another dismissal, with prejudice.

Breach of Contract Prosecution

Successfully prosecuted a breach of contract claim under the indemnity provisions of a purchase and sale agreement.

Superfund Site Guidance, Superfund Investigation

Advised client in negotiations with Potentially Responsible Parties, EPA and Kentucky state regulatory authorities in major Superfund investigation.

Dismissal of RCRA Citizen Suit

Obtained dismissal of a RCRA Citizen Suit under the Burford Abstention doctrine by arguing that existing state administrative proceedings covered the same issues

Neighborhood Nuisance & Trespass Claims

Defended claims for nuisance, trespass, negligence and strict liability by multiple property owners against the local electric utility. Successfully defeated class certification.

Superfund Potentially Responsible Parties

Successfully resolved a contribution claim against alleged Potentially Responsible Party arising out of the remediation of a former scrap processing facility.

Environmental Litigation for a University

Represented a university and its athletic association in environmental litigation against CSX related to environmental costs incurred in building and expanding the university's stadium.

Neighborhood Nuisances & Temporary Restraining Orders

Successfully defended claims for nuisance, tortious interference and negligence arising from the construction of a stormwater/wastewater retention basin by the local wastewater utility.

News Publications Seminars
"Antitrust: Cloning Issues in the Equine World: Life After the AQHA Decision for Breed Registries," 29th Annual National Conference on Equine Law, University of Kentucky College of Law2014
"Legal Issues for New Owners," Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders, presenter2009