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.
- 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.
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into 2021 with no clear end in sight, a good question for product liability defendants is whether the pandemic will have a tolling effect on the applicable statute of limitations. In product liability cases, state law provides a statute of limitations to bar untimely-filed claims against the product manufacturer, distributor, or retailer. The point is to provide a predictable time period for a plaintiff to investigate the claim, identify the proper parties, and file suit.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Whitney Frazier Watt to the Board of Directors of the Governor’s Scholars Program.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC, announced today that Kentucky native Marjorie A. Farris will become the firm’s new Chair effective January 2021. She will be the first woman to lead the firm since its founding in 1832.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC welcomes attorney Brian Butler to the firm’s Louisville, Ky., office.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Nature Conservancy recently elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC Chair, Robert M. Connolly, to its Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Chapter.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Chambers USA selected 19 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys in Kentucky and Tennessee for inclusion in their 2020 guide.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Nashville Bar Foundation recently named Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Lauren Paxton Roberts as a Fellow.
LEXINGTON, Ky. —Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Ashley W. Ward was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) on March 7, 2020, at the Annual Meeting in Tucson, Ariz.
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC recently elected three members to the firm’s six-member Management Committee, replacing three attorneys who completed their terms of service. The new committee members are attorneys Erika Barnes, Carol Dan Browning and Richard Wehrle.
The Tennessee Supreme Court, in an opinion published February 26, 2020, upheld Tennessee’s statutory cap on noneconomic damages in civil cases, codified at Tenn. Code Ann. § 29-39-102, which generally limits noneconomic damages, including pain and suffering, permanent injury, and loss of enjoyment of life, to $750,000.