Sam Hinkle passed away on July 10, 2019, at his home in Shelbyville at the age of 72. He was a founding partner of Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Louisville office and was on the firm’s board of directors.
From his office in Louisville, Sam served as Chair of Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Litigation Department and Business Litigation practice. He focused primarily on complex commercial litigation, contract and fraud claims, environmental law, equine law, bankruptcy cases and land-use disputes.
Sam’s successes in challenging cases before federal and state courts have contributed substantially to SKO’s repeated designations as “Kentucky Firm of the Year” by Benchmark Litigation.
For his many legal accomplishments, Sam was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America® for seven years, including the year of his passing. He was AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, was recognized by Chambers USA and honored as a Kentucky Super Lawyer®, among other distinctions.
Over the course of his career, Sam contributed his time and talents to multiple professional and civic organizations. He was a member of the Louisville and American Bar Associations. A dedicated advocate of public schools, Sam served a four-year term on the Kentucky Board of Education, and he served for more than a decade on the Shelby County School Board as both a member and chairman. He participated in Leadership Shelby County and was named a Leadership Louisville Bingham Fellow. He was also a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
Sam’s leadership, generosity and keen intellect will be greatly missed at our firm.
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.
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.
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.