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Craig C. Dilger

Direct Phone: 502.560.4274

Craig C. Dilger

Craig is a Member in Stoll Keenon Ogden’s Louisville office and has been with the firm since 2001. He serves as Chair of the Sports and Criminal Law practices, Co-Chair of the Health Care practice and also focuses on complex commercial litigation. Having served as lead Trial Counsel on more than 60 Jury Trials and dozens of Bench Trials and Administrative Proceedings, Craig brings unique and critical experience to the representation of his clients.

Among the highlights of Craig’s distinguished career is his successful defense at trial of a Division I college football coach and athletic association against a student alleging improprieties in the granting of football scholarships. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the university and awarded no damages. In the public realm, Craig serves as Chairman of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance. Prior to joining SKO, Craig worked as an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney and was the lead Prosecutor in a number of high-profile cases, including a workplace violence trial that ended in convictions on two counts of intentional murder. Craig also served as one of two Prosecutors imbedded with the Gang Violence Task Force.

Sports Law: Craig provides counsel to several of the nation’s leading collegiate athletic programs. He is a trusted advisor on matters spanning from employment and labor to NCAA compliance.
Criminal Law: As a former prosecutor, Craig brings a range of skill and experience to this practice. He has worked with business professionals charged with white-collar crimes like tax evasion, insider trading, fraud and embezzlement.

Business Litigation: For businesses and individual professionals faced with disputes, Craig draws upon his considerable expertise to achieve a satisfactory resolution, either in the courtroom or at the negotiating table.

Business Torts: Craig represents clients in defending and prosecuting torts such as abuse of power, bad faith and misappropriation of trade secrets. He provides thoughtful counsel at every phase of litigation, including pre-hearing processes.

Environmental Litigation: In matters involving air, water and waste, Craig consults with businesses on compliance with laws and regulations, and he negotiates with state and federal agencies regarding agreed-upon orders and corrective measures.

Health Care: Craig stays abreast of the industry landscape to offer assistance to healthcare companies, physician groups, assisted-living facilities, hospitals, physical therapy companies and other service providers on civil, criminal, internal security and administrative concerns.

Labor, Employment & Employee Benefits: Leveraging his depth of knowledge in this evolving area, Craig helps employers solve problems through proactive counseling, employee training and, where possible, cost-effective litigation.

Work Highlights

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.

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.

Motor Vehicle Accident: Alleged Negligent Maintenance of Street Light

Obtained a unanimous defense jury verdict on behalf of a public utility. The plaintiff claimed that the utility failed to properly maintain a street light, which caused a motor vehicle accident. This is the first and only case of its kind to be tried to a jury in Kentucky, subsequent to decision by Kentucky Supreme Court allowing such causes of action.

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.

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.

Sexual Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment & Damage to Professional Reputation

SKO represented a university, a university dean and a department chair against allegations of sexual discrimination, hostile work environment and damage to professional reputation. During the long and strongly contested discovery process, SKO moved for summary judgment with respect to claims against the dean and the chair, and the motions were fully briefed and argued. At the conclusion of discovery, SKO moved for summary judgment on behalf of the university. The court granted summary judgment as to all defendants on all counts and dismissed the case.

Lead Trial Counsel for Plaintiffs in Discrimination suit against a large Metropolitan Correctional Services Department. The Plaintiffs were both employees of the Corrections Department, one a Corrections Officer and the other the Director of Human Resources. The Chief of Corrections and several members of the command staff engaged in discriminatory conduct against the Plaintiffs including retaliation which created a hostile work environment. The jury returned a verdict in favor of both Plaintiffs on all counts and awarded substantial damages.

Lead Prosecution Counsel in High Profile Workplace Violence case. Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Kimberly Harris Lead Prosecution Counsel in the capital murder trial of the defendant for the murders of Patti Eitel and Deborah Bell on April 29, 1997. Argued this case before the Kentucky Supreme Court on June 9, 1999 requesting a Writ of Prohibition to prevent the trial judge from granting a defense motion to exclude the death penalty. Supreme Court unanimously granted the Writ and all concurred in overruling the trial court. Case tried to a jury and the defendant found guilty of two counts of Intentional Murder and sentenced to Life Without the Possibility of Parole consecutive with Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

U.S. ex rel. Villafane v. Solinger, 543 F. Supp. 2d 678, Med & Med GD (CCH) W.D. Ky. 2008

Burkhead v. Louisville Gas & Electric Co., 250 F.R.D. 287 W.D. Ky. 2008

U.S. v. Solinger, 457 F. Supp. 2d 743, 2007-1 Trade Cases P. 75,551 W.D. Ky. 2006

UPS Capital Business Credit v. C.R. Cable Const. Inc., 181 S.W. 3d 44, Ky. App. 2005

Commonwealth v. Ryan, 5 S.W. 3d 113, Ky. 1999