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John W. Bilby

Direct Phone: 502.568.5750

John W. Bilby

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.

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.

Related Practices: Trust & Estate Litigation

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.

Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. v. Bank of Oklahoma, Nos. 07-6422,08-5191 (6th Cir. 2008)

Successful arbitration award for Trustee of a family trust in a ten year royalty reopener of a lease for a large limestone quarry. Award resulted in favorable interpretation of lease language which will result in higher royalties over the remaining 60-year-lease term. The arbitration award increased royalties by approximately $2 million per year. Lessee appealed to Sixth Circuit, and award was affirmed by that court.