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Business Litigation

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Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Business Litigation practice provides strategic advice to businesses and professionals faced with disputes, lawsuits, arbitration and other conflicts. We help manage disputes on the front end with guidance on sound business practices. For conflicts that could not be resolved early, we help clients through even the most complex, high-stakes disputes with a careful, focused and strategic approach.

We handle matters on a broad scale of sizes and situations. Our goal is to resolve matters efficiently with the client’s objectives foremost in our thinking. In matters where litigation is necessary, we have the experience, resources and toughness required. We never lose sight of the fact that while litigation may be necessary, the goal is to obtain the best possible result for our clients with careful consideration of their time and financial situation.

Our litigation practice and its attorneys are recognized as some of the best litigators in their respective fields by such sources as Chambers USA, Best Lawyers in America®, Super Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell®.

We have been named “Kentucky Firm of the Year” by Benchmark: Litigation; Litigation Law Firm of the Year in Kentucky by Corporate America;“Go-To Law Firm” for Litigation, American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel magazine; and Competition/Antitrust Law Firm of the Year in Kentucky by Corporate INTL Magazine. We also received a “First Tier” Ranking for Litigation from Chambers USA.

Our litigators work from the outset of a dispute to determine the best result that can be obtained, and we develop a rapport with our clients that is focused on positive results and informed decisions. We leverage our wealth of skills and knowledge with any matter we take on and emphasize on strategic thinking and carefully constructed, well-managed teams that execute tailored, constant consideration for the client.

The SKO team conducts arbitrations and mediations, tries cases, and counsels clients tactically through matters spanning from investigations to preliminary negotiations to litigations and trial.

Our practice’s experience includes matters involving:

  • Antitrust, Trade Regulation & Franchise
  • Appellate
  • Banking Litigation
  • Business Torts
  • Class Action
  • Construction Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Eminent Domain & Real Estate Litigation
  • Environmental Litigation
  • Equine Litigation
  • Healthcare Litigation
  • Securities Litigation
  • Trust & Estate Litigation
Benchmark Litigation Kentucky State Firm of the Year 2018

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.

Patent Infringement, False Advertisement & Antitrust

Static Control Components, Inc., et al. v. Lexmark International, Inc., et al., Case No. 04-84-GFVT (Consolidated with Action No. 02-571) (E.D. Ky) (multiple published decisions)

This multi-party, complex litigation involved Lexmark, a major provider of printing and imaging products and services. Lexmark asserted claims for, among other things, patent infringement and inducement to commit patent infringement. The lead opposing party, Static Control Components, asserted claims against Lexmark for, among other things, antitrust violations under the Sherman Act and Clayton Act and false advertising claims under the Lanham Act. Lexmark obtained dismissal of the Sherman Act and Clayton Act antitrust claims and a favorable ruling upholding Lexmark’s single-use restriction on its printer cartridges under the Uniform Commercial Code. On June 3, 2013 the United States Supreme Court granted Lexmark’s petition for writ of certiorari to resolve a circuit split on the proper test for standing to assert Lanham Act false advertising claims.  Steven argued the case in front of the Supreme Court on December 3, 2013.

Shareholder Class Action

Margie Elstein v. Lexmark International, Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 16-CI-02380 (Fayette Circuit Court)

SKO represented Lexmark in successfully dismissing a proposed class action lawsuit filed by a shareholder claiming Lexmark’s merger agreement with a consortium of investors was unfair to shareholders. The lawsuit was filed less than a month before Lexmark’s scheduled shareholder vote.  After the lawsuit was filed, the plaintiff sought a temporary injunction enjoining the shareholder vote.  Steven argued that the case should be dismissed because Lexmark’s bylaws require the case be heard in the Delaware Chancery Courts.  A mere three days before the scheduled shareholder vote, the Court dismissed the lawsuit and the shareholder vote occurred as scheduled.

Related Practices: Class Action, Business Litigation

Constitutional Law

Jerry Jamgotchian v. Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, et al., Civil Action No. 11-CI-01047 (Franklin Circuit Court)

SKO represented the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission in a dormant commerce clause challenge filed against it by a thoroughbred owner regarding an industry-standard regulation pertaining to the purchase of horses in claiming races. SKO obtained summary judgment upholding the constitutionality of the regulation, which was affirmed on appeal by the Kentucky Court of Appeals.  The Kentucky Supreme Court accepted discretionary review.  Following briefing, Steven argued the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court.  In May 2016, the Kentucky Supreme Court affirmed the Kentucky Court of Appeals in the Commission’s favor in a unanimous published opinion.

Constitutional Law

Latter-Day Saints v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Civil Action No. 98-CI-1888  19 (Fayette Circuit Court). Obtained ruling that Board of Adjustment violated Equal Protection, Free Exercise and Due Process rights of church and violated 42 U.S.C. 1983 by denying conditional use permit; case settled.


Furlong Development, LLC et al. v. United Bank and Trust Company, et al., Civil Action No. 11-CI-00111 (Scott Circuit Court)

SKO defended United Bank and Trust Company, as well as affiliate EGT Properties, Inc., in a dispute over bond proceeds that were in place to cover public improvements in a residential subdivision. SKO obtained summary judgment in a ruling that found the bonding company liable.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Scott Circuit Court’s decision. The Kentucky Supreme Court accepted discretionary review.  Steven argued the case before the Kentucky Supreme Court in February 2016 and won in a near unanimous, published decision.

Related Practices: Business Litigation

Building Dispute/Injunctive Relief

Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc. v. Saul Subsidiary I Limited Partnership, Ky. App., 159 S.W.3d 339 (2005)

Represented owner of Lexington Mall and obtained injunction requiring Home Depot to remove its store and restore the Mall structure because Home Depot violated restrictive covenants; case settled.

Patent Infringement

Lexmark International, Inc., et al. v. Pitney Bowes Inc., et al., Case No. 001-237-JMH (E.D. Ky.)

Successful litigation involving patent infringement claims against Lexmark relating to print quality enhancement technology. Lexmark obtained summary judgment, dramatically limiting the products at issue on the basis of failure to mark or provide actual notice under 35 U.S.C. § 287. The case was settled after the Court’s ruling.

Patent Infringement

Lexmark International, Inc. v. Laserland, Inc., 304 F.Supp.2d 913 (E.D. Ky. 2004)

Represented Lexmark in a patent infringement lawsuit, and established new personal jurisdiction law in the Sixth Circuit relating to interactive websites; case settled.

Trademark Infringement

Staxx is Eat BBQ LLC, et al. v. Thomas Walters, Case No. 12-71-GFVT (E.D. Ky.) 

Represented Staxx BBQ, a central Kentucky restaurant, in a trademark infringement case against a former employee who alleged an ownership interest in the restaurant and trademarks. SKO obtained a preliminary injunction after a contested evidentiary hearing and the case settled.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

James D. Duff v. David A. Duff et al., Case No. 04-345-USF (E.D. Ky.)

Obtained summary judgment on behalf of executor/trustee in a breach of fiduciary lawsuit by beneficiaries of an estate/trust where the ownership of a coal company was at issue.

Protecting Corporation’s Control of Assets from Shareholder Interference

Paul R. Plante, Jr. v. Frank D. Marcum, et al., Civil Action No. 12-CI-0040 (Fayette Circuit Court)

When minority shareholders in a closely-held corporation caused a bank to file an interpleader action regarding control of the corporation’s funds, SKO represented the corporation, and over the objection of the minority shareholders, ensured that the corporation controlled its funds, allowing the business to continue to operate.  

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

Breach of Commercial Sales Contract

C&M Giant Tire, LLC v. Triple S Tire Co., Inc., No. 13-162, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 158932, 85 U.C.C. Rep. Serv. 2d 187 (E.D. Ky. Nov. 10, 2014)

Obtained Plaintiff’s summary judgment for buyer’s breach of nearly $700,000 commercial sales contract for the purchase of large industrial tires.

Related Practices: Business Litigation

Directed Verdict in Criminal Case

SKO obtained a directed verdict of all criminal charges filed against a client following a jury trial in Circuit Court.

Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

Lead Trial Counsel Defending Top 10 NCAA Division One Football Coach and the University’s Athletic Association

The Coach and Athletic Association were sued by a former student-athlete who alleged improprieties in the granting of football scholarships. A decision against the Athletic Association and the Coach would have affected recruiting of college athletes at every level. Trial in this matter lasted two weeks with well-known experts from various college football programs testifying for each side. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict on all counts and awarded no damages.

Injunctive Relief, State Insurance Regulation

Obtained injunctive relief for major retailer of vision care products against major insurer of vision care for violation of state “any willing provider” law.  Dr. Mark Lynn & Assocs., PLLC v. Vision Service Plan Ins. Co., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24820 (U.S.D.C. W.D. Ky. 2005).

Prosecutorial Misconduct

Rogers et al v. O’Donnell et al, No. 10-00373 (E.D. Ky. 2011), aff'd 737 F.3d 1026 (6th Cir 2013). Represented state prosecutors in a case arising from a criminal prosecution of local police officers for assault, intimidating a participant in a legal process, and tampering with a witness. After the police officers were acquitted of all charges, they filed a lawsuit against the state prosecutors pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The district court granted summary judgment based on grounds of qualified immunity. The case was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Related Practices: Business Litigation

Defense of Alleged Breach of Fiduciary Duty in an LLC

SKO defended the majority member of a medical billing company from multiple claims of usurping corporate opportunities and breach of fiduciary duty.  Counterclaims were filed against the plaintiffs alleging breach of fiduciary. The case was quickly settled on favorable terms to SKO's client, resulting in the majority member being the sole owner of the company.

Defense of Majority Shareholder Against Breach of Fiduciary Duty Charges

SKO defended a majority shareholder against multiple claims of breach of fiduciary duty, self-dealing and fraud stemming from multiple construction and land use projects.  The case was litigated over the course of four years, with the plaintiffs eventually agreeing to settle the dispute for a small fraction of their demand.

Suit Brought on Behalf of LLC Member to Follow Operating Agreement

When a faction of an LLC purported to take control of its board notwithstanding the absence of a vote of the members, SKO represented a group of members in litigation insisting that the requirements of the operating agreement be satisfied. 

Terminated Shareholder Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty & Employment Agreements

A terminated shareholder/corporate officer was sued on a number of grounds, including breach of fiduciary duty and breach of an employment agreement. SKO represented the defendant corporation and its founding shareholder. SKO obtained a jury verdict substantially in favor of the defendant. 

Defending a Shareholder Derivative Action

When a single, dissident shareholder brought both derivative claims on behalf of the corporation and direct claims against certain directors, SKO successfully argued in litigation that the dissident shareholder had no standing to assert claims and lacked the ability to bring a derivative action for failure to satisfy the statutory requirements for doing so. The litigation continued to the enforcement of a stock buy-sell agreement, upon which our client was successful in both its enforcement and the valuation of the minority member’s shares.

Competing Venture by an LLC Member

When a minority member of an LLC organized a competing venture, SKO brought suit and obtained injunctive relief on behalf of our client based upon minority member’s breach of his statutory duty of loyalty. After a two-week jury trial, obtained favorable settlement for client.

LLC Member’s “Salary”

When a terminated member argued that he was still entitled to his “salary,” SKO prevailed in the lawsuit, demonstrating that the “salary” was a distribution and that under state law the LLC was prohibited from making a distribution under existing circumstances.

Ending a Derivative Action by a Merger and Dissenter Rights

When a small minority of the shareholders prevailed in derivative action, SKO was brought in to advise the majority owners. A merger transaction both ended the derivative action by depriving the minority of standing and provided a means of redeeming their shares so similar suits may not be brought in the future. The minority shareholders initiated a dissenter rights action, which was resolved on a valuation favorable to our client.

Defending Against a Threatened Change in Control

When a dissident group of shareholders threatened to alter the structure of the board and thereby take control of the corporation, SKO advised the incumbent board on how to structure an asset sale to a related company that preserved existing relationships.

Franchise Dispute, Lanham Act Violations & Personal Guarantees

This complex franchise dispute included claims that certain franchisees were in violation of their franchise agreements based on the management structure of the franchisees. The franchisor sought to terminate the franchises and recover monetary damages from the franchisees and personal guarantors. SKO successfully argued against the lawsuit taking place in the franchisor's home state. All claims, including claims against both the franchisee and the personal guarantors, were transferred to the home state of the franchisee and guarantors.

Criminal Representation Resulting in Dismissal of Five Felony Charges

SKO successfully reached a settlement with the U.S. Attorney on our client's behalf to dismiss five felony counts and prevent jail time and any associated fine.
Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

Breach of Contract Prosecution

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

Violations of Agreements and Restrictive Covenants

SKO represented a provider of specialty patient care equipment that sued a consultant and its consulting business after an agreed upon Asset Purchase Agreement and Consulting Agreement’s restrictive covenants had been violated by the consultant. The provider sued for both monetary damages and injunctive relief. The Jefferson Circuit Court granted the provider’s motion for a temporary injunction against the consultant under the Consulting Agreement, but denied the motion for a temporary injunction against the consultant under the Asset Purchase Agreement. Because the Asset Purchase Agreement provided greater injunctive protection, the provider filed an interlocutory appeal pursuant to CR 65.07. The Kentucky Court of Appeals agreed with the provider that the Jefferson Circuit Court had erred in denying injunctive relief under the Asset Purchase Agreement, and reversed the Jefferson Circuit Court’s decision on that issue. This was a notable decision because the standard of review for a party seeking interlocutory relief from a trial court’s decision to grant or deny a temporary injunction is a clear abuse of discretion.

Automobile Franchise Litigation, Breach of Franchise Agreement, Bad Faith, Fraud & Deceptive Practices

SKO successfully represented an automobile manufacturer against claims of breach of franchise agreement, bad faith, breach of contract, fraud, and deceptive practices brought by a former franchised dealer. The claims involved complex issues relating to the manufacturer’s allocation and distribution policies of new automobiles to franchised dealers, as well as claims involving oral promises of a new dealership. After achieving summary judgment in the client's favor, resolving all claims except the breach of franchise agreement claim, the jury found on our client's favor after trial.

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.

Sixth Circuit Criminal Oral Argument

SKO successfully argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a conviction in the lower court. We argued that prejudicial evidence substantially outweighing probative value.
Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

Superfund Site Guidance, Superfund Investigation

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

Workers’ Compensation Retaliation

SKO represented a manufacturer and distributor of auto supplies that was sued for workers’ compensation retaliation under the Kentucky Workers’ Compensation Act, KRS Chapter 342. The United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky entered summary judgment in favor of the manufacturer, from which the plaintiff did not appeal.

Class Action, Telecommunications, Public Utility, Taxation & Consumer Protection

SKO represented a class of more than 450,000 members in U.S. District Court challenge to overcharges/tariff violations by regulated telecommunications carrier. We obtained summary judgment on federal overcharge claims for class members and protected class certification by defeating an interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. We also prevailed for class members in a collateral state utility commission proceeding on issues referred by the District Court. Settlement approved by District Court in November 2013 included cash refunds to all class members. Bowers v. Windstream Ky. East, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 157242 (W.D. Ky. 2013).

Airline & Wrongful Death Litigation

SKO represented five families in the wrongful death litigation arising from the crash of an airliner. SKO’s team handled this litigation and was appointed by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky as Plaintiff’s Liaison Counsel.  In this role, SKO coordinated the efforts of more than 40 plaintiffs and their counsel in pursuing wrongful death claims. 
Related Practices: Business Litigation

Kentucky Court of Appeals Criminal Appeal

Successfully argued before the Kentucky Court of Appeals to overturn the sex offender registration requirement for a client based on constitutional violations.
Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

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

Class Action, Telecommunications and Consumer Protection

SKO acted as counsel for a 175,000-member plaintiff class in U.S. District Court to challenge sales tax collection on broadband Internet access services provided by incumbent local exchange carrier. The Court approved settlement agreement in August 2007 that provided class members full refunds of overpayments plus interest, totaling $8.2 million. Clark v. BellSouth Telecommunications, Inc., 461 F.Supp.2d 541 (W.D. Ky. 2006).

Kentucky Civil Rights Act & Disability Discrimination

Successfully represented a company and one of its executives against claims by plaintiff for alleged disability discrimination, retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. SKO represented the company during investigations by the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After the EEOC found no wrongdoing, the plaintiff filed claims in the Pulaski Circuit Court. After three years of litigation, we obtained summary judgment dismissing all claims. SKO then successfully represented the company on appeal. The Kentucky Court of Appeals affirmed the Pulaski Circuit Court's order dismissing all claims and denied the Plaintiff's petition for a rehearing.

Criminal Charges Dismissed

Successfully obtained a dismissal of all criminal charges pending against manager for corporate client.
Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

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.

Claims Against Cemetery for Improper Practices

SKO represents a putative class of individuals with relatives buried in a cemetery, asserting claims against numerous former and current owners of the cemetery for improper burial practices. The case is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
Related Practices: Class Action, Business Litigation

Condemnation Defense

Defense of a major water company against attempted condemnation by local government in multiple proceedings, ultimately resulting in a published decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court affirming an injunction to prevent a referendum scheduled outside the regular election cycle and a public vote in favor of the water company the following year.

Landowner Defense

Represented numerous individual, agricultural, commercial and industrial landowners in negotiations and litigation against the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Highways, in connection with acquisitions of right-of-way for road projects and other assorted road and highway issues.

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.

Renunciation of a Will

We successfully defended the renunciation of a will related to an estate involving more than $25 million in assets. In litigation spanning several years, SKO’s client ultimately prevailed at the trial court level and was upheld on appeal.

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 his favor. SKO successfully voided the will and recovered more than $16 million in assets.

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.

Circle Environmental CERCLA Claim

Successfully resolved EPA cost recovery claim against multiple Potentially Responsible Parties arising out of the EPA’s cleanup of a waste oil facility.

Probate of Holographic Will

Successfully settled a case on behalf of beneficiaries to a holographic will for a $4.5 million estate where the probate court had originally declined to admit the will to probate.

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.

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.

Reversal of Jury Verdict

SKO was retained after an estate suffered a jury verdict of $3.5 million based on alleged testamentary promises. SKO successfully obtained a complete reversal of the verdict in approximately six months.

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.

Drafting Form Construction Contracts & Documents

SKO has assisted a governmental client with revising its construction contract forms and documents to update them to current standards and circumstances.

Major Electric Transmission Project

Collaborated with a longtime electric utility client to plan and coordinate the acquisition of more than 100 parcels of real estate in three counties for a 41-mile electric transmission line.  Our assistance began in the early planning stages of the project and carried through agreed-upon acquisitions, challenges to the right to condemn, appeals and valuation litigation. 

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.

Defense of Nonprofit as Beneficiary

Represented a charitable organization in defending a will contest in a multimillion dollar estate where the charitable organization was the primary beneficiary. After aggressively defending the action, SKO obtained a favorable settlement that involved dozens of contesting family members.

Enforcement of Prohibited Substance Regulations

SKO represented a horse racing commission in connection with proceedings imposing penalties against a Thoroughbred horse trainer and a veterinarian for the possession of prohibited substances, including cobra venom and Carbidopa/Levodopa, on the premises of a race track. The trainer was suspended one year for the cobra venom violation and served his suspension. The veterinarian was suspended for five years for the cobra venom and Carbidopa/Levodopa violations and appealed the suspension to the Franklin Circuit Court. The Franklin Circuit Court affirmed the four-year cobra venom suspension and reversed the one-year Carbidopa/Levodopa suspension. Both the veterinarian and the commission appealed the order to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the appeals are currently pending.

Distributorship Agreement; Substantial & Common Law Damages

SKO represented an international manufacturer of construction equipment in a lawsuit concerning a challenge by a distributor to a termination of a distributorship agreement and claims for substantial statutory and common law damages as well as injunctive relief to require rescission of the termination. At the outset of the dispute, SKO was successful in having an action filed by the distributor dismissed and allowing the litigation to proceed in federal court in Kentucky. SKO later obtained a summary judgment ruling in the manufacturer’s favor on all counts. This federal action involved potential major implications for the manufacturer and its relationship with its distributors around the world.

Major Water Pipeline Project

Worked with a water utility client that was acquiring right-of-way access. We assisted with negotiations and, where necessary, litigation to secure rights to construct a much needed 42” water main to transport water from the Kentucky River to Lexington and surrounding communities, securing a new and dependable water source for Central Kentucky for years to come.

Contaminated Collateral

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

Kentucky Supreme Court Ruling & Selling of Interest

Successfully obtained a ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court that enforced an oral contract between a beneficiary and the estate requiring the beneficiary to sell his interest with the estate’s interest in a bank.

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

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.
Related Practices: Business Litigation, Appellate

Nuisance Claims

The firm represented several land owners being sued by neighboring property owners both individually and as a class for an alleged nuisance related to odors emanating from hog barns. The plaintiffs claimed that the odors unreasonably interfered with their enjoyment of property. The case was before the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky where it ultimately settled just before trial. Powell v. Tosh, No. 5:09-CV-00121-TBR-DW (W.D. Ky.).

Assault & Battery Criminal Charges Dismissed

SKO obtained a dismissal of all criminal charges filed against a family law client following a successful a suppression hearing.
Related Practices: Criminal Law, Business Litigation

Constitutional Challenge to Racing Regulation

SKO represents a horse racing commission defending a lawsuit in which the plaintiff is challenging the validity of a racing regulation that places conditions on the racing of horses claimed at Kentucky race tracks. The plaintiff argues that the regulation violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. After both parties filed motions for summary judgment, the Franklin Circuit Court granted the motion of the commission, denied the motion of the Plaintiff and upheld the validity of the commission’s regulation. The time to appeal has not expired.

Wrongful Termination

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.


American Bar Association, Construction Law Committee

American Bar Association, Forum on the Construction Industry

American Health Lawyers Association

American Intellectual Property Law Association

Associated General Contractors of Kentucky

Chemical Industry Council

Defense Research Institute, Appellate Advocacy Committee

Financial Markets Association

Health Enterprises Network

International Trademark Association

Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities

Kentucky Association of Manufacturers

Kentucky Bankers Association

Kentucky Bar Association, Construction Law Section

Kentucky Coal Association

Kentucky Hospital Association

Litigation Counsel of America

National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)

Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association