Litigation & Appeals

Professional Liability Litigation

Stites & Harbison has a 150-year history of engaging in litigation involving allegations of professional liability defense or misconduct. And, in recent history, the need for professionals to represent other professionals has never been greater. At Stites & Harbison, we do just that on a daily basis.

We invest significant time and resources in understanding the practices and duties unique to each profession. Some of these professions include attorneys, accountants, auditors, counselors, land surveyors, travel agents, debt collectors, engineers, architects, construction professionals, bankers, real estate professionals, structural inspectors, appraisers, title agents, public officials, crop dusters, mortgage brokers, financial advisors, directors and officers, insurance agents and brokers, and the insurance industry as a whole. Often these cases overlap with litigation involving the financial services industry, and we handle these types of claims almost every day.

We also aid professionals in actions before administrative agencies or professional boards, and work with professionals when incidents occur to mitigate or eliminate potential liability.

In context of civil suits, our work begins long before a complaint is filed. First, we push to prevent filing altogether through argument and, if merited, we aim for negotiation. When complaints are filed, clients can count on aggressive, effective, and efficient representation.

We have also assisted insurers in coverage disputes with their insureds under professional liability policies.

The attorneys of our professional liability team frequently publish and lecture on issues related to ethics, professional liability and trial practice. Members of our group also participate in a number of bar-related activities and roles, including:

  • the former Chairman of the Kentucky Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section,
  • the former President of the Kentucky Chapter of the Federal Bar Association,
  • the former President of the Kentucky Defense Counsel, and
  • the former Chairman of DRI's Professional Liability Committee's Steering Committee.

Other team members are active in DRI, the Kentucky Defense Counsel, the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, the ABA's Professional Liability Litigation Committee, and the Association of Professional Responsibility Lawyers.

Experience

  • We recently obtained summary judgment for a prosecutor on the issue of absolute immunity, which was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Originally engaged as trial counsel and retained throughout the process, we obtained a positive outcome in a legal malpractice case in which the Kentucky Supreme Court provided much-needed analysis on Kentucky’s "case within the case" requirements.
  • We recently briefed, argued, and obtained a successful result from the Kentucky Supreme Court affirming twice, the summary judgment we secured for a lawyer client involving the assignment of a claim against him.
  • We have obtained multiple summary judgments for attorney clients. The two most recent were defending malicious prosecution actions against lawyers. Another involved allegedly negligent advice in the sale of a business, in which we successfully argued lack of "but for" causation. That case was affirmed on appeal.
  • In another matter involving the failure to bring suit on an assault at a correctional institution, we secured judgment on seven separate grounds; all finding there was no viable "case within a case."
  • Our lawyers have obtained summary judgments for architects and engineers based on the "government contractor" defense. These victories, to our knowledge, were the first of their kind in Kentucky.
  • On the eve of trial in a recent and complex accountant malpractice case, we successfully deployed a Daubert challenge to convince the trial court to exclude the plaintiff's sole expert witness.
  • After being contacted by an insurance carrier about a potential claim against one of its insured attorneys, we were able to convince the claimant's counsel that the attorney not only should not be sued, but was owed a significant amount of money by his former client.
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Events

Driving Diversity in Law & Leadership: Atlanta

Date: 9/14/22
Time: 8:50 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Atlanta, GA (Venue TBA)

Atlanta office attorney Shannon Sprinkle will be a speaker at this event held in Atlanta on September 14, 2022

Shannon M. Sprinkle June 27, 2022
Press Releases

Stites & Harbison Attorneys Honored by 2022 Georgia Super Lawyers

ATLANTA—The 2022 edition of Georgia Super Lawyers recently honored four Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys based in the firm’s Atlanta office. Of special note, Joe Kingma was named to the Top 100 Georgia Lawyers list for the fifth time.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC June 01, 2022
Events

SHRM-Atlanta Legal Summit

Date: 5/12/22
Time: 8:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Virtual Event

Atlanta attorney Shannon Sprinkle will be a speaker at this Legal SHRM-Atlanta Legal Summit on May 12, 2022.

Shannon M. Sprinkle April 25, 2022
Events

Professionalism, Ethics and Malpractice

Date: 4/28/22
Time: 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Livestream or In-Person at State Bar of Georgia, Bar Center, 104 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta office attorney Shannon Sprinkle will be a presenter at this State Bar of Georgia Institute of Continuing Legal Education seminar on April 28, 2022.

Shannon M. Sprinkle April 12, 2022
Press Releases

Marjorie Farris Named as 2022 Business Women First Enterprising Women Award Honoree

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Louisville Business First has named Stites & Harbison, PLLC Chair Marjorie A. Farris as a recipient of its 2022 Business Women First Enterprising Women Awards.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 01, 2022
Events

2022 Corporate Counsel Training Academy

Date: 4/6/22
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, Illinois

Whitney Watt will be the Moderator for one of the sessions of this Corporate Counsel Training Academy in Chicago on April 6, 2022.

Whitney Frazier Watt March 31, 2022
Events

The Back on Track Series: Training, Forging Relationships, and Building Firm Culture with Younger Lawyers in the New Normal

Date: 4/1/22
Time: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.

Ansley Golf Club, 196 Montgomery Ferry Drive, Atlanta, GA 30309

Atlanta office attorney Matt Gass will be a panelist for this seminar presented by the Atlanta Bar Association.

Matthew A. Gass (Matt) March 16, 2022
Press Releases

Ashley Goins Alderson Earns 2022 Tennessee Bar Association Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Ashley Goins Alderson as the recipient of the 2022 Harris Gilbert Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC March 09, 2022
Press Releases

Brian Butler Named to Bingham Fellows Class of 2022

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Leadership Louisville Center recently announced that Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Brian Butler is one of 47 community leaders selected to participate in the Bingham Fellows Class of 2022.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC January 26, 2022
Press Releases

Stites & Harbison Continues Expansion in Atlanta – Lands Commercial Litigation Team of 12 from Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell LLP

ATLANTA—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that 12 attorneys from Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell, LLP (CSKL), including named Partner Johannes S. Kingma, Managing Partner Shannon M. Sprinkle and General Counsel William D. Newcomb, have joined Stites & Harbison’s Atlanta office.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC January 24, 2022
Press Releases

Greg Parsons to be Inducted as Fellow of American College of Construction Lawyers

LEXINGTON, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Greg Parsons will be inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Construction Lawyers (ACCL) on February 26, 2022, at the Annual Meeting in Laguna Beach, Calif. ACCL, one of the nation’s leading legal associations, only designates the top 1% of the construction bar in the U.S. with this honor.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC December 21, 2021
Press Releases

Lauren Paxton Roberts Named as Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) has named Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Lauren Paxton Roberts as a Fellow.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 08, 2021
Events

2021 Kentucky Association of Health Care Facilities (KAHCF) Annual Meeting and Expo

Date: 11/9/21 - 11/11/21

Galt House Hotel & Suites, 140 North Fourth Street, Louisville, KY 40202

Stites & Harbison is a sponsor and Louisville office attorney Matt Breetz will be a presenter at the KAHCF Annual Meeting and Expo in Louisville November 9-11, 2021.

Matthew W. Breetz October 22, 2021
Press Releases

Jeffrey Melcher Joins Stites & Harbison

ATLANTA—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce attorney Jeffrey W. Melcher has joined its Atlanta office as a Member (Partner). He will be based in Atlanta while also serving clients in Nashville, Tenn.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC October 15, 2021
Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation 2022 Honors 15 Stites & Harbison Attorneys

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2022 edition of Benchmark Litigation names 12 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys as “Litigation Stars” and three as “Future Stars” in Kentucky.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC October 08, 2021
Events

Fall 2021 National Legal Malpractice Conference

Date: 9/22/21 - 9/24/21

JW Marriott Nashville, 201 8th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37203

Louisville office attorney Matt Breetz will be moderating a panel discussion on Case Law Updates on September 23rd in Nashville TN at this conference.

Matthew W. Breetz September 17, 2021
Events

2021 Women in Litigation Joint CLE Conference

Date: 11/17/21 - 11/19/21

Boston Park Plaza, 50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116-39014

Louisville office attorney Whitney Watt will be a member of the panel for a presentation at this ABA Conference in Boston, Mass., November 17-19, 2021.

Whitney Frazier Watt September 17, 2021