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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by Whitney Frazier Watt and Jennifer Henry Jackson June 28, 2019
Press Releases

Demetrius Holloway named to Lawyers of Color's 2019 Nation's Best List

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by Stites & Harbison, PLLC June 11, 2019
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Demetrius Holloway elected to American Diabetes Association's Board

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The American Diabetes Association (ADA) of Kentucky has elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Demetrius Holloway to its Community Leadership Board.

by Stites & Harbsion and PLLC May 20, 2019
Press Releases

David Ratterman earns 2019 AISC Lifetime Achievement Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney David B. Ratterman with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award at the North American Steel Construction Conference (NASCC) held in St. Louis from April 3-5, 2019.

by David B. Ratterman April 12, 2019
Press Releases

Kentucky Super Lawyers Honors 42 Stites & Harbison Attorneys for 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2019 edition of Kentucky Super Lawyers recently honored 42 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in the Covington, Frankfort, Lexington and Louisville, Ky., offices. The publication named 33 attorneys to the Super Lawyers list and nine attorneys to the Rising Stars list.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC December 07, 2018
Press Releases

Ten Stites & Harbison Attorneys Honored by 2018 Mid-South Super Lawyers

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The 2018 edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers recently honored 10 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys. Five attorneys were named to the Super Lawyers list and five were named to the Rising Stars list. Of...
by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 27, 2018
Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation 2019 Honors 15 Stites & Harbison Attorneys

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2019 edition of Benchmark Litigation names 11 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys as “Litigation Stars” and four as “Future Stars” in Kentucky. The guide honors the firms and attorneys who have demonstrated the...
by Stites & Harbison, PLLC November 07, 2018