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Michael D. Risley

Michael D. Risley

Mike Risley is Co-Chair of the firm's Appellate Advocacy Group and former Chair of the Louisville office's Litigation Service Group. A seasoned litigator, Mike frequently appears before both state and federal appellate courts.  He also has deep experience in disputes involving insurance bad faith and coverage, ERISA, and commercial and employment-related matters. 

Recent Assignments

  • Currently representing party before the Kentucky Supreme Court in case addressing whether the Court should abandon traditional classification of entrants upon land in premises liability cases
  • Currently representing successful plaintiffs before the Kentucky Supreme Court in connection with $100 million judgment partially set aside by the Court of Appeals
  • Currently representing employer in Sixth Circuit in plaintiff's appeal from dismissal of employment claims
  • Currently representing insurer in Sixth Circuit in plaintiff's appeal of dismissal of bad faith claims
  • Currently representing insurer in Kentucky Court of Appeals in plaintiff's appeal from setting aside of significant default judgment
  • Represented insurer before the Kentucky Supreme Court in significant bad faith verdict (2017)
  • Successfully represented insurer before Kentucky Supreme Court in reversal of Court of Appeals dismissal of insurer's appeal on procedural grounds (2015)

Recent Decisions

  • Gentry v. Tennessee Board of Judicial Conduct, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 7629 (6th Cir. 2018) (Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of claims against attorneys brought by opposing party)
  • Indiana Ins. Co. v. Demetre, 527 S.W.3d 12 (Ky. 2017) (Appeal from significant bad faith verdict against insurer)
  • Marshall v. Rawlings Co., 854 F.3d 368 (6th Cir. 2017) (2-1 reversal of summary judgment granted employer on employment-related claims)
  • Davis v. Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 495 S.W.3d 159 (Ky. App. 2016) (Successfully represented insurer in case involving the number of occurrences arising from a tragic death)
  • Interstate Fire & Cas. Co. v. BFK, Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23537 (W.D. Ky. 2016) (Court dismissed declaratory judgment action based on lack of actual controversy)
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Armfield, 2016 Ky. App. LEXIS 23 (Ky. App. 2016) (Court of Appeals held no coverage existed for loss of consortium claim when no coverage existed for bodily injury claim)
  • Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Conley, 456 S.W.3d 814 (Ky. 2015) (Ky. Supreme Court reversed Court of Appeals' dismissal of appeal, recognizing that appeals should be decided on their merits)
  • Macglashan v. ABS LINCS KY, Inc., 448 S.W.3d 792 (Ky. 2014) (Kentucky Supreme Court answered certified question of law on employment law issue)
  • Hoskins v. Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., No. 2012-SC-000731-D (Ky. 2014) (Kentucky Supreme Court deadlocked 3-3 on applicability of a policy exclusion to a spouse's loss of consortium claim)
  • Phelps v. American Reliable Ins. Co., 2014 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 869 (Ky. App. 2014) (Successful affirmance of trial verdict in insurance coverage/bad faith action)
  • Smith v. AEGON Cos. Pension Plan, 769 F.3d 922 (6th Cir. 2014) (Sixth Circuit upheld enforcement of forum selection clause contained in ERISA plan)
  • Smith v. Commonwealth General Corp., 589 Fed. Appx. 738 (6th Cir. 2014) (Sixth Circuit affirmed dismissal of state law claims based on ERISA preemption)
  • Crutchfield v. Transamerica Occidental Life Ins. Co., 527 Fed. Appx. 339 (6th Cir. 2013) (Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for insurer on claims for long-term care benefits and for bad faith)
  • Young v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 693 F.3d 532 (6th Cir. 2012) (Sixth Circuit affirmed certification of plaintiff class in connection with insurer's address verification process for taxing purposes)
  • Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co., 306 S.W.3d 69 (Ky. 2010) (successfully represented appellant before Kentucky Supreme Court on whether a contractor's faulty workmanship constitutes an occurrence for purposes of a Commercial General Liability policy)
  • West v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 374 Fed. Appx. 624 (6th Cir. 2010) (Represented employer in appeal of discrimination claim)
  • Other Significant Appellate Decisions
    • Cape Publications, Inc. v. University of Louisville Foundation, 260 S.W.3d 818 (Ky. 2008) (Resolving application of Open Records Act to the identity of donors to the University of Louisville Foundation)
    • Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Hofmeister, 2008 Ky. App. LEXIS 313 (Ky. App. 2008) (Reversal of significant insurance bad faith verdict)
    • Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Rodgers, 179 S.W.3d 815 (Ky. 2005) (Reversal of insurance bad faith verdict)
    • Harris v. Peabody Coal Co., 102 Fed. Appx. 482 (6th Cir. 2004) (Affirmance of summary judgment for employer on discrimition claim)
    • James v. Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 2003 Ky. App. LEXIS 312 (Ky. App. 2003) (Affirmance of verdict in insurer's favor on coverage and bad faith claims arising out of school shooting)
    • United Mine Workers v. Peabody Coal Co., 38 F.3d 850 (6th Cir. 2002) (Affirming summary judgment for employer in WARN Act case on statute of limitations grounds, thereby creating a conflict amoung the circuits eventually resolved by the Supreme Court)
    • Global Network Technologies v. Regional Airport Authority, 122 F.3d 1997 (8th Cir. 1997) (Affirmance of summary judgment on claim of fraud in letter of credit being presented for payment)

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

More Than Stites & Harbison

Mike serves as General Counsel to the Better Business Bureau of Greater Louisville. He is a Church Attorney for the Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, and a former long-time member of the Board of Trustees of St. Francis School, an independent school located in Louisville.

Besides Stites & Harbison

Mike spends some of his time away from the office travelling, being an avid sports fan, and serving at his Church. In addition, while a notoriously bad golfer, Mike will long be remembered for winning the closest to the pin contest at the 2005 Louisville Bar Association annual golf outing.

Professional Accolades

Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

Best Lawyers in America®, Appellate Law (2011-19)

Best Lawyers in America®, Louisville Area Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Law (2017)

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2013-18)

Louisville Magazine's "Top Lawyers" for Insurance Law (2013, 2014, 2016)

Community Involvement

  • Better Business Bureau of Greater Louisville, General Counsel
  • Episcopal Diocese of Kentucky, Church Attorney
  • St. Francis School, former long-term Board of Trustees member
  • University of Kentucky Fellow