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. Mike formerly served as the Louisville Office Executive Member and is a former member of the firm’s Management Committee.
Tie Votes in the Kentucky Supreme Court
Bench & Bar Magazine, Kentucky Bar Association, March/April 2023
Friend or Foe - Dealing With Your Own Insurer
Kentucky Bar Association In-House Counsel seminar, March 8, 2022
The Court of Appeals is Speaking - Are We Listening?
Louisville Bar Briefs, January 2021
How Louisville's lawyers, architects and accountants are going remote
by Marty Finley and Sarah Shadburne, Louisville Business First, April 2, 2020
Stites & Harbison names new top exec in Louisville
by Chris Larson, Louisville Business First, March 3, 2020
Kentucky High Court Restores $80M Punitive Damages Against Firm
Law360, December 13, 2018
Currently representing Kentucky bourbon distiller on matters arising from well-publicized collapse of bourbon warehouse.
Currently representing multiple clients in various appellate courts.
Convinced Kentucky Supreme Court to not abandon traditional classification of entrants upon land in premises liability cases. (2018)
Successfully represented plaintiffs before the Kentucky Supreme Court in connection with $100 million judgment partially set aside by the Court of Appeals. (2018)
Successfully represented insurer in Sixth Circuit in plaintiff’s appeal of dismissal of bad faith claims. (2020)
Successfully represented insurer in Kentucky Court of Appeals in plaintiff’s appeal from setting aside of significant default judgment. (2019)
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)
In re King’s Daughters Health System, Inc., 31 F.4th 520 (6th Cir. 2022): Sought writ of mandamus from Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of hospital trying to protect the confidentiality of patient information.
Everest Stables, Inc. v. Rambicure, 803 Fex. Appx. 819 (6th Cir. 2020) (Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment granted to insurer on bad faith claim)
PNC Bank, N.A. v. Edwards, 590 S.W.3d 818 (Ky. 2019) (Kentucky Supreme Court clarified jurisdictional issues in Estate litigation)
Community Financial Services Bank v. Stamper, 586 S.W.3d 737 (Ky. 2019) (Kentucky Supreme Court resolved what constitutes a negotiable instrument under the Uniform Commercial Code)
Vogt Power Int’l, Inc. v. Labor Dep’t of Workplace Standards, 585 S.W.3d 169 (Ky. App. 2019) (Dispute over whether Wage and Hour regulations applied to a corporate executive)
Smith v. Smith, 563 S.W.3d 14 (Ky. 2019) (Convinced Kentucky Supreme Court to retain traditional classifications of entrants onto land to define the duties owed the entrant)
Yung v. Grant Thorton, 563 S.W.3d 22 (Ky. 2019) (Kentucky Supreme Court reinstated full award of $80,000,000 in puritive damages to firm’s client)
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)
Other Significant Appellate Decisions
- 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)
- 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 discrimination 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)
- Kroger Co. v. Regional Airport Authority, 286 F.3d 382 (6th Cir. 2002) (Sixth Circuit upheld administrative process client had implemented)
- 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)
- United Mine Workers v. Peabody Coal Co., 38 F.3d 850 (6th Cir. 1994) (Affirming summary judgment for employer in WARN Act case on statute of limitations grounds, thereby creating a conflict among the circuits eventually resolved by the Supreme Court)
Appellate Advocacy group, Co-Chair
Louisville Office Recruiting Committee, Member
Business Acceptance Committee, Member
Former Office Executive Member, Louisville Office
Diversity Committee, Former Member
Louisville Litigation Service Group, Former Chair
Management Committee, Former Member
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
University of Kentucky College of Law
summa cum laude
Murray State University
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.
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.
Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
Best Lawyers in America®, Appellate Practice (2011-23)
Best Lawyers in America®, Louisville Area Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Law (2017, 2022)
Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2013-23)
Louisville Magazine's "Top Lawyers" for Insurance Law (2013, 2014, 2016)
Finance Monthly, Fintech Awards Insurance & Reinsurance Lawyer of the Year (2019)
Kentucky Super Lawyers Honors 49 Stites & Harbison Attorneys for 2023
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2023 edition of Kentucky Super Lawyers recently honored 49 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in the Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., offices. The publication named 37 attorneys to the Super Lawyers list and 12 attorneys to the Rising Stars list.
Stites & Harbison, PLLC Lawyers Named to 2023 Best Lawyers® Publications
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that 98 of its lawyers are included in the 2023 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©. Additionally, 11 Stites & Harbison attorneys are named as “Lawyer of the Year” and 19 attorneys are recognized in “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch,” which recognizes attorneys early in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.
Kentucky Super Lawyers Honors 37 Stites & Harbison Attorneys for 2022
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2022 edition of Kentucky Super Lawyers recently honored 37 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in the Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., offices. The publication named 29 attorneys to the Super Lawyers list and eight attorneys to the Rising Stars list.
Stites & Harbison, PLLC Lawyers Named to 2022 Best Lawyers® Publications
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that 93 lawyers are included in the 2022 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©. Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Additionally, 11 attorneys are named as “Lawyer of the Year” and 14 attorneys are recognized in “Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch,” which recognizes attorneys early in their careers for outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States.
IN PERSON: Stites & Harbison's Michael Risley goes from small town to the big time
When Michael Risley entered law school at the University of Kentucky, he admitted to being initially intimidated by his big-school, big-city classmates.
Kentucky Super Lawyers Honors 41 Stites & Harbison Attorneys for 2021
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2021 edition of Kentucky Super Lawyers recently honored 42 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in the Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., offices.
Stites & Harbison, PLLC Lawyers Named to 2021 Best Lawyers® Publications
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that 82 lawyers are included in the 2021 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.
Mike Risley named Stites & Harbison's Louisville office Executive Member
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Mike Risley has been named Office Executive Member for the Louisville, Ky., office.