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.

Our professional liability litigation lawyers 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.

Our professional liability attorneys 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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Press Releases

Carol Dan Browning Appointed Chair of Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Litigation Group

Stites & Harbison, PLLC recently appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Carol Dan Browning as Chair of the firm’s Pharmaceuticals & Medical Devices Litigation Group.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 29, 2024
Press Releases

Edward and Charles Stopher Join Stites & Harbison’s Louisville Office

Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Edward H. Stopher and Charles H. Stopher of Boehl Stopher & Graves, LLP have joined the firm’s Louisville, Ky., office. They are members of the Torts & Insurance Practice Service Group and secondary members of the Business Litigation Service Group.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 17, 2024
Press Releases

Stites & Harbison Welcomes Bridget Stewart to the Nashville Office

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC welcomes attorney Bridget A. Stewart to the firm based in the Nashville, Tenn., office. She joins the Business Litigation Service Group.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 11, 2024
Client Alerts

Sixth Circuit Applies Updated Arbitration Waiver Standard

In a published opinion issued on March 27, 2024, the Sixth Circuit applied for the first time the waiver standard announced in the Supreme Court’s 2022 opinion, Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., 596 U.S. 411 (2022), in affirming the denial of a motion to compel arbitration due to the defendant’s extensive participation in the litigation.

by Robin E. McGuffin and Ashley Owens Hopkins April 04, 2024
Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation Selects Stites & Harbison as 2024 Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Benchmark Litigation recently named Stites & Harbison, PLLC as Litigation Firm of the Year for Kentucky at its 2024 Benchmark US Awards Gala. This is the fourth time Stites & Harbison has received the honor.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 03, 2024
Press Releases

Brian Butler Elected Fellow of American Board of Criminal Lawyers

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The American Board of Criminal Lawyers (ABCL) recently elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Brian Butler as a Fellow. He is one of only five Fellows in Kentucky.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC April 02, 2024
Press Releases

Thad Barnes and Michael Denbow Appointed to Lead Stites & Harbison’s Business Litigation Service Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorneys Thad M. Barnes and Michael Denbow have been appointed to Co-Chair the firm’s Business Litigation Service Group. Each attorney will continue their diverse legal practices in business litigation.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC March 25, 2024
Press Releases

Stites & Harbison Attorneys Honored by 2024 Georgia Super Lawyers

ATLANTA—The 2024 edition of Georgia Super Lawyers recently honored Dan Douglass, Joe Kingma and Brandon Sartin, all based in the firm’s Atlanta office.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC February 13, 2024
Press Releases

Demetrius Holloway Earns 2023 Trailblazer Award

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The Louisville Bar Association’s (LBA) Diversity & Inclusion Committee recently announced Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Demetrius O. Holloway as the recipient of the 2023 Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. Trailblazer Award.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC January 25, 2024
Events

2024 ABA Young Lawyers Division's Midyear Meeting

Date: 1/31/24 - 2/5/24

Omni Louisville, Louisville Marriott Downtown and Kentucky International Convention Center, Louisville, KY

Attorney Demetrius Holloway will speak on "passing the torch" of diversity to the younger generation of attorneys at this American Bar Association mid-year meeting.

Demetrius O. Holloway January 23, 2024
Press Releases

Robin D. Miller Honored by Ohio Super Lawyers for 2024

MASON, OhioThe 2024 edition of Ohio Super Lawyers recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Robin D. Miller on its Super Lawyers list.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC January 18, 2024
Events

IADC (International Association of Defense Counsel) 2024 Mid-Year Meeting

Date: 2/18/24 - 2/23/24

JW Marriott Miami Turnberry, 19999 West Country Club Drive, Miami, FL - 33180

Louisville office attorney Whitney Watt will be a speaker at the IADC 2024 Mid-Year Meeting in Miami, Florida February 18-23.

Whitney Frazier Watt January 10, 2024
Press Releases

Jennifer Henry Jackson Elected to CASA of the River Region’s Board of Directors

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of the River Region has elected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Jennifer Henry Jackson to its Board of Directors. She will serve a three-year term.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC January 10, 2024
Press Releases

Benchmark Litigation 2024 Honors 14 Stites & Harbison Attorneys

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The 2024 edition of Benchmark Litigation names 11 Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys as “Litigation Stars” and three as “Future Stars” in Kentucky.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC October 16, 2023
Events

8th Annual Accounting Risk Management Seminar

Date: 11/7/23
Time: 11:45 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

City Springs Conference Center, 1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs, GA 30328

Join Stites & Harbison Accounting Defense team for the 8th Annual Accounting Risk Management Seminar in Atlanta on November 8, 2023.

Stites & Harbison, PLLC October 02, 2023
Press Releases

Greg Smith and Lauren Paxton Roberts Earn 2023 Best of the Bar Honors

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The Nashville Business Journal recently honored Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorneys Greg Smith and Lauren Paxton Roberts with the 2023 Best of the Bar awards. Smith has been honored nine times for family law. This is Roberts’ first time being honored in the litigation and dispute category.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC September 15, 2023
Press Releases

Whitney Frazier Watt Named IADC Product Liability Committee Chair

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) has appointed Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Whitney Frazier Watt as Chair of its Product Liability Committee. She will serve a two-year term.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC July 28, 2023
Press Releases

Michael Denbow Named Chair of Stites & Harbison’s White Collar Practice Group

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (July 19, 2023)—Stites & Harbison, PLLC is pleased to announce that attorney Michael Denbow has been named Chair of the firm’s White Collar Practice Group.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC July 19, 2023
Press Releases

Lauren Paxton Roberts Selected for Leadership Franklin’s Class of 2023-24

FRANKLIN, Tenn.—Leadership Franklin has selected Stites & Harbison, PLLC attorney Lauren Paxton Roberts to join its 2023-24 class. Participants are chosen based on their leadership skills and community involvement.

by Stites & Harbison, PLLC July 10, 2023