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Michael Stevens
Louisville, Kentucky
Michael Stevens - Kentucky Personal Injury and Trial Lawyer.
Recent Activity
Here's a few court quotes from the following Courier-Journal story: The year's top quotes — from sublime to ridiculous “There you go, lock me up. I'm not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell." — Tweet from teenager Savannah Dietrich as she named the two boys who sexually assaulted her. The boys’ attorneys asked that she be held in contempt for defying a judge’s order, but the effort was dropped after a public outcry over Savannah’s treatment in the court system. “Some of the judges need to decide if this job interferes with their lifestyle.” — District Judge Sean Delahanty on fellow judges’ work habits after surveyed attorneys complained that a year-old Jefferson County court reorganization effort has been a flop. “If you ever call me on my cellphone again. I’ll strangle you.” — Senior Judge Martin McDonald to assistant public advocate David Barron during a September Jefferson County court hearing. McDonald was later removed from the case. “I have kept my word and have accepted responsibility for my actions, and anything questionable, just as I said I would.” Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2013 at Kentucky Law Review
Man who shot and killed UK football player in 1994 injured in Snyder Freeway accident Shane Ragland was seriously injured in an accident Saturday that shut down part of the Snyder Freeway.Ragland, who pleaded guilty in the 1994 slaying of a University of Kentucky football player, was driving a Dodge Durango on the ramp from the northbound lanes of the Snyder onto eastbound Interstate 64 at about 4:20 p.m. when he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the guardrail, said Alicia Smiley, a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Kentucky's pension debt to hit local governments' balance sheets Despite roughly $27 million in net assets, a $7 million cash reserve and an AA- credit rating, the city of Hopkinsville, Ky., could be broke in less than two years — at least on paper. That’s because new accounting rules that take effect July 1, 2014, require Kentucky and its 1,500 local governments, public agencies and other public employers that pay into the state retirement system, to reflect their portion of Kentucky’s massive pension debt on their financial documents. That means that Hopkinsville, for example, will have to show an estimated $36 million pension debt, while cities such as Louisville and Lexington will be saddled with an accounting debt of $823 million and $191 million, respectively. The newly reflected debt won’t alter those cities’ actual pension obligations. Public employers will pay for liabilities through annual pension contributions, as they do now. === Of course, now take a look at those judicial appointments of legislators and the senior status program. Who do you think is going to fund those folks getting large retirements? Yup. You and me. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Jefferson County homicides jumped 28 percent in 2012 Homicides in Jefferson County soared 28 percent in 2012, claiming 69 victims through Sunday — the first increase since 2007 and a grim reflection of a violent span that saw a high-profile triple shooting in May and three deaths around the Christmas holiday. Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
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Supreme Court rejects appeal of Kentucky fen-phen lawyer WASHINGTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court refused on Monday to hear an appeal by a Kentucky lawyer accused of cheating clients out of millions of dollars paid in a settlement over the diet drug combination fen-phen. The high court, without explanation, rejected William Gallion's bid to overturn his conviction for fraud related to his representation of 440 clients who had opted out of a nationwide class action claiming injuries from the anti-obesity drug fen-phen. A jury convicted the once-prominent attorney from Lexington, Kentucky, and his co-counsel Shirley Cunningham in 2009 for defrauding clients out of their share of a $200 million settlement with American Home Products, now part of Pfizer Inc. Under their agreements with clients, the lawyers were supposed to receive one-third of any settlement amount. Instead, they pocketed twice that amount, prosecutors said. Prosecutors accused Cunningham and Gallion of lying to clients about the settlement negotiations, misleading the trial judge and funneling settlement funds into a foundation, the Kentucky Fund for Healthy Living, where they were paid directors. Gallion was sentenced to 25 years in prison while Cunningham received a 20-year term, and the men had to pay $127 million in restitution to their clients. The jury acquitted a third lawyer who had raised alcoholism as a defense. Gallion and Cunningham appealed their convictions to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2009, claiming they were denied a fair trial. They argued that they did not intend to defraud their clients but rather relied on the guidance of another lawyer and the fact that the judge approved their actions. But the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected their arguments, finding that the pair had "participated in a massive scheme to defraud their clients." Asking the Supreme... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
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Ed Springston has written two posts raising ethical issues relating to a sitting judge on the Jefferson Circuit Court - Judge Charlie Cunningham and his rulings and comments from the bench in a partisan challenge to a Kentucky State Senate race. For your information. Here are Mr. Springston's posts: "Does Judge Charlie Cunningham have ethics problems?" and "Judge Charlie Cunningham screws up the 37th State Senate District race" Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Posts from Shannon Ragland at Kentucky Trial Court Review on Senior Status Judges Program- Bad day for Ky Courts. Closed. Senior judge program jeopardized by the Marty "I'll Strangle You" McDonald scandal. In 20 days when Judge Morris leaves the program (as planned), Old Strangler will be the only Sr. Judge on the Jefferson County bench. And what circuit judge would want him hearing their cases? Hate to see a good program (Sr. Judges do good work in the right location, i.e. Potter in Bullitt County a few years back), but this looks very bad. Will anyone at Ky Courts act? Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Story from By Bill Estep — bestep@herald-leader.com at the Lexington Herald Leader: A judge on Friday ordered the acquittal of a woman charged with murder in the shooting death of her husband, a lawyer in London, according to one of her attorneys. Judge Robert McGinnis said there was insufficient evidence for a reasonable juror to conclude Lisa Gilliam killed her husband, said her attorney, Scott T. Foster of Somerset. McGinnis issued a directed verdict of acquittal, which is rare in a murder case, said Foster, who represented Gilliam with attorney Robert Norfleet. A jury could not reach a decision in the case a month ago, though most jurors reportedly wanted to acquit Gilliam. Gilliam, of Pulaski County, was charged with killing Larry Gilliam, 59, at his law office in downtown London in January 2011. Larry Gilliam died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Lisa Gilliam's defense was that her husband killed himself. Testimony at her trial indicated Larry Gilliam had taken money he was supposed to hold for clients, Foster said. Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/10/19/2377737/woman-charged-in-shooting-death.html#storylink=cpy Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
From the Courier Journal, Oct. 2, 2012, by reporter Andrew Wolfson. Click on the heading below for his entire story on line. Louisville businessman indicted in $53 million tax evasion A Kentucky businessman has been charged by a New York federal grand jury in an alleged $53 million tax evasion scheme and insurance frauds totaling more than $100 million. Business consultant W. Anthony Huff was arrested Tuesday in Louisville, 18 months after The Courier-Journal reported that he and former Kentucky Lt. Gov. Steve Pence were linked to the case as unnamed co-conspirators. Pence, however, was not charged in the indictment unsealed Tuesday against Huff, who appeared in U.S. District Court in Louisville and was released on a $100,000 unsecured bond. Other stories found on line using a "google" search: SEC v. W. Anthony Huff, et al., 08-CV-60315-Rosenbaum (S.D. FL) Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms the Court’s Findings and Remedies Imposed Against W. Anthony Huff ‘Victims everywhere’ in $100 million Certified Services worker’s compensation fraud Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
As a public service, we at the Kentucky Law Review wish to provide information to the voters of Jefferson County regarding the upcoming election and judicial races. Here is a link to the Courier-Journal's editorial interview of the three candidates for the Jefferson Circuit Court - Judge Angela McCormack Bisig - web site Wanda Mitchell Baker - web site Eric Ison - web site Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Senior Status Judge Martin McDonald "with a controversial history threatened . . . to “strangle” a lawyer, then disparaged his case, calling it “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “a huge waste of time. From Andrew Wolfson's Courier Journal story, dated 10/4/2012. Judge threatens to 'strangle' attorney in 'ridiculous' case Martin McDonald, a former Jefferson district and circuit judge, said in an interview later that he was being “facetious” when he threatened Friday to attack assistant public advocate David Barron if he ever called him again on his cellphone without opposing counsel’s participation. But leading national experts on legal ethics said McDonald’s comments about the case, in which Barron is seeking a new trial for death row inmate Roger Dale Epperson, indicate that the judge had improperly prejudged the case. “The judge’s conduct in general is highly injudicious,” said Hofstra University law professor Monroe Freedman. “He should be removed from this case and also from the bench.” McDonald was removed from an unrelated civil case on Sept. 19 by Kentucky Chief Justice John D. Minton after McDonald was accused by the defense of bias and failing to disclose a conflict of interest — that he’d practiced with the plaintiff’s lawyer 20 years earlier. Continue reading
Posted Oct 8, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
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The rumors of the past several weeks has gained traction with a formal response by Senate President David Williams that he would consider accepting an appointment to the circuit court bench. Nothing about him or another submitting his name to the Judicial Nominating Commision for the circuit in question or if a "deal" or "arrangement" has been struck to hasten his exit from the state senate. This is not the first time that our Governor has used the judicial vacancy appointment process to solve his partisan political issues in state government by "rewarding" them with distinguished judicial appointments which enhance the opponent's prestige, position, and pensions. Now to consider appointing Williams to the bench is to politicize the judiciary in a way that can only puzzle court watchers who want an independent and judicious judiciary and not a haven for politicians in their twilight moments. Or as Shoeless Joe Jackson was queried (my parody): "Say it ain't so, Stevie!" Of course, in baseball being sent to the bench was not a good sign for a ball player. The nominating commission is scheduled to meet on Oct. 26 to consider the appointments. However, there is more than just considering a nomination, Mr. Williams will have to have his name submitted to be considered. When a judicial vacancy occurs, the executive secretary of the JNC notifies all attorneys and the public in the affected judicial circuit or district. Attorneys can recommend someone or nominate themselves. Interested attorneys must complete an application and return it to the executive secretary of the JNC. The chief justice meets with the JNC to select three nominees and then forwards those names to the governor. The names of the three nominees are listed in alphabetical order without indicating the commission’s preference. The governor must appoint a judge... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
If trouble comes in threes, we had number one with the appointment of Mr. Glover as bar counsel (Courier-Journal: "New Kentucky bar counsel once complained of changes brought by women lawyers"). Trouble number two in the ethics arena was sent up to Kentucky by way of Florida with a less than flattering story on local law firm Winters and Yonker, now Winters Yonker and Kannaday. Note the perplexing response by the KBA President that "it is monitoring the situation and if the firm advertises in Kentucky during the suspensions, it will be reported to the Florida bar." Tattling to the teacher is not a fine way of enforcing the rules in Kentucky. What is trouble number three? Well, I would submit that the nearly cavalier responses by the KBA President would be right up there. Here is a link to the various KENTUCKY Supreme Court rules on the practice of law. Another probing story by Courier-Journal reporter Andrew Wolfson: Lawyers Winters & Yonker are suspended; firm's TV ads are off the air The ubiquitous commercials for Winters & Yonker have been pulled from the airwaves in Louisville and Florida after the Tampa attorneys who head the law firm were suspended for misconduct. Known in Louisville as Winters Yonker & Kannady, the firm spent $651,000 on 12,212 spots in the Louisville market in the first eight months of this year alone, not counting any discounts they may have received, according to the Neilsen Co., which tracks TV advertising. William Winters and Marc Yonker, who promote themselves as the “aggressive attorneys,” were suspended for 91 days and 60 days respectively earlier this month by the Florida Supreme Court, which found they acted too aggressively when the stole clients from their former boss 11 years ago to start their own firm. The court... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
Read this story, and you say to yourself. Why? With the profession getting hits for actions of prior bar counsel and Kentucky Bar Association officers, why? With over 40 candidates vying for this position, is this the best we got seeking this position? Why? With over 17,000 lawyers in the state, is this the best we have to be in charge of our ethical standards? Why? I do not know which is the most egregious conclusion: A. He said it. B. The KBA hired him knowing he said it. C. The President of the KBA "found it didn't amount to anything." D. None of the other 40 seeking the job were better qualified. E. All of the above. Mr. Glover might be a fine attorney and a fine human being today, but our bar counsel should be made of cleaner stuff and be beyond suspicion. Now what? It's the KBA, an organization in and of itself. Required and regulated by the Kentucky Supreme Court and membership by all lawyers is mandatory. Maybe, I should be quiet? Why? Why not!! New Kentucky bar counsel once complained of changes brought by women lawyers Kentucky’s new chief bar counsel, who will oversee discipline of the state’s 17,164 attorneys, once blamed problems in the legal profession on the influx of women lawyers. A 1994 column Thomas “Tommy” Glover wrote as president of the Fayette County Bar Association in its newsletter, appeared to bemoan the changes brought by more women practicing law. Glover noted in the column that the percentage of women lawyers had risen dramatically since he entered the profession in 1975 and that for a number of attorneys “the new order is disturbing.” The column goes on to say that “women speak the law unlike men do. Not better, different.” Glover also said... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
I previously posted on CFA Chris Tobe's analysis of the use of RFP's to save the Kentucky Retirement System up to $85 million a year. See, CFA Chris Tobe Comments on Kentucky's Retirement System and the Need for RFP's (requests for proposals). Well, he was in the news in another matter involving finances and Kentucky Retirement Systems, and I am sharing that story with you. When the taxpayers are worried about their jobs and families, then government employees and those in financial positions with the government are going to be under rigorous scrutiny by those who are ultimately paying the bills. Whistleblower Disputes Kentucky Retirement Officials on Placement Agent Claim" A whistleblower and former member of the Kentucky Retirement System’s board of trustees is disputing claims that the pension plan hasn’t used placement agents recently. Chris Tobe is an investment expert who served on the system’s board for four years. He’s also the main witness in a Securities and Exchange Commissions investigation into KRS and its previous uses of placement agents. Officials at the pension agency told lawmakers yesterday that they hadn’t used a placement agent in three years. But Tobe says the agency uses a group called ORG for real estate deals and that ORG is registered as an agent in California. “And I think that to me, that disqualifies them as an independent consultant for KRS and that KRS should be much more sensitive to these issues since they are still in the middle of an SEC placement agent investigation,” he says. Tobe says ORG is registered as a placement agent for the California Teachers Retirement System and that ORG can't be an "independent consultant" in Kentucky and a registered agent somewhere else. Tobe also says KRS and even the legislature is ignoring an important report regarding Kentucky’s... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
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I was emailed the following post, link and comment from CFA Chris Tobe (i think CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analyst). He also sent it to the LawReader, and I assume it was tendered to me for publication here. Lawreader got it first, and I am sharing it with you now. Government is looking for funds. I was told by my father that the penny you save is more valuable than the penny you earn. See, Op-Ed: What is being done to recover some of the money leaks at the Metropolitan Sewer District? from January 20, 2012 of the Kentucky Law Review and CJ News: "Bud Schardein departs from MSD" and what about that sweetheart of a trust?. And most will remember my posts years ago warning of the financial toll to be paid for funding the Senior Status Judges' Program and the Court House Building Bonanza. Well, to rephrase Sen. Everett Dirksen's remarks about spending - a few thousand here and a few hundred thousand or even a million dollars there, and before you know it you are talking some serious money. Per Mr. Tobe, that could be as high as $85 million per year! No RFP’s for Kentucky Pensions- all back room deals. by Chris Tobe, CFA I estimate that over $65 million to as high as $85 million a year is paid out in fees in non-bid contracts by the pension systems in Kentucky. While the 2012 placement agent bill was an extremely watered down version from that of 2011, it is currently unenforceable because there is no documentation from an RFP to check. Because of total lack of oversight the $13 billion Kentucky Retirement System (KRS) have been able to bypass many of the competitive bidding practices typically used by other parts of state government. The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
From the News Journal. To read the complete Supreme Court decision, click here A Knox County official received a public reprimand by Kentucky's highest court late last week. In a decision returned on Thursday, the Kentucky Supreme Court publicly reprimanded Knox County Attorney Charley Greene Dixon Jr. The Court overturned an Inquiry Commission's July 2008 decision, which found Dixon not guilty. The charges involved a money laundering scheme which sent former Knox County Judge/Executive Raymond Smith to prison. *** In their ruling, the Court stated: "Dixon's actions had the effect of facilitating Raymond Smith's money laundering scheme. Two of the checks were drawn on Knox County. So Dixon's actions had the effect of defrauding the county that Dixon represented as county attorney," the court stated in their decision." In July 2008, Dixon was investigated by the Inquiry Commission and found not guilty of misconduct regarding his attorney escrow account. The commission alleged Dixon received checks from businesses owned by brothers Raymond and Matt Smith, put the checks in his escrow account, then distributed the cash value of the checks to both Smiths' wives at the instruction of Raymond Smith, according to the document However, the Kentucky Supreme Court decided to review the trial commissioner's decision. Four years later, the Court has disagreed with the not guilty decision by the Commission. The court found Dixon was guilty of violating SCR 3.130-1.15(b) by receiving more than $85,000 in checks made payable to specific businesses, making no effort to notify those businesses that he had received those funds, then paying the funds to a third party, the decision stated. Smith laundered money through various accounts, including Dixon's escrow account, according to the document. * * * As part of the decision, Dixon was ordered to pay all costs associated with the disciplinary proceeding,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
From wwntradio Judge Moore Applauds Kentucky Court for Defending the Acknowledgment of God Judge Roy Moore (R) from Gallant applauded the Kentucky Supreme Court for their recent decision upholding a Kentucky homeland security law which acknowledged Kentucky's "reliance upon Almighty God" for the "safety and security of the Commonwealth. Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
The Kentucky Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a case that asks how much due process individuals deserve before they are branded as child abusers, the Courier-Journal reports. Unlike the sex-offender registries that every state makes available on the Internet, child offender lists generally aren’t accessible to the public. A person doesn’t have to be convicted or charged with a crime to be listed. In Kentucky, people are placed on it because a social worker substantiates an allegation of abuse or neglect, according to the newspaper. A man identified by his initials, W.B., sued to challenge the protocol, fearing that being listed would cost him his teaching post. [from the Wall Street Journal] Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
I apologize for the hijacking and loss of connection these past few weeks. I think it is back up now. For those with geek-like tendencies. The blog is hosted at typepad.com. The domain "kentuckylawblog.com" is hosted at dotster.com and is "mapped" to the typepad site for "kentuckylaw.typepad.com/blog". This has worked flawlessly for year with noone knowing or needing to know what was happening under the hood. Well, that ended last month when Dotster redid their access page and servers which broke up my connections. I finally figured it out, and I believe now we have connections. I just hope Google finds me again. ;-( Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
The Kentucky Court Report is no longer being hosted at the TypePad site. We have moved to a WordPress site at http://www.KyCourtReport.com. We also are redirecting KentuckyCourtReport.com to the site as well. The domain KyCases.com will eventually fade away, but for the short term we will redirect that site to the KyCourtReport.com. We apologize for any incovenience, but we do have more flexibility at the new site. mike stevens Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2012 at Kentucky Court Report - SCOKY & COAKY
The following news story from the Harlan Daily Enterprise is posted in its substantial entirety because the ramifications are signficant. A sitting judge, elected by the citizens, was removed by the SCOKY. The Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld the Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission’s decision to remove Harlan Circuit Court Judge Russell Alred from the bench. The Kentucky Supreme Court heard oral arguments in this matter approximately three months ago. An order to remove Alred from the bench was handed down by the Commonwealth of Kentucky Judicial Conduct Commission (JCC) on Sept. 20. That order is only the fourth such order issued since the JCC was established in the early 1980s. The Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision, released on Monday, states that Alred was found guilty of judicial misconduct in nine out of 20 charges made by the JCC. The Supreme Court upheld the commission’s order on eight counts and reversed the commission’s decision on one count. That count included, “on two occasions, Judge Alred questioned the principal of his children’s elementary school about why a certain defendant continued to work as a substitute teacher at the school while she had pending fraud charges in the Harlan Circuit Court.” The Kentucky Supreme Court stated that the commission’s findings regarding that count were erroneous because they are not supported by sufficient evidence. The written decision also states “from our review of the record, it is clear that Judge Alred engaged in a pattern of misconduct, displaying disregard for the law and the Kentucky Code of Judicial Conduct. He continually refuses to accept responsibility for his actions or acknowledge his wrongdoing. Accordingly, we agree with the commission that there is good cause under section 121 of the Kentucky Constitution to remove Judge Alred from his judicial office for misconduct, as defined in the Kentucky... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2012 at Kentucky Law Review
July 2012- SCOKY – NO COURT Posted on July 15, 2012 by Michael Stevens • 0 Comments Filed Under: Argument Calendars, SCOKY Argument Calendars - 2009+ June 2012 SCOKY Oral Argument Calendar and Links to Briefs at NKU Posted on July 15, 2012 by Michael Stevens • 0 Comments Click HERE for link for this month’s argument calendar. Click here for link to table of all monthly calendars at AOC from 2005 to date. Appellate briefs are posted at the Northern Kentucky University, Salmon P. Chase College of Law ( Click here). If the briefs have been filed at NKU at the time of… Continue Reading Filed Under: Argument Calendars, SCOKY Argument Calendars - 2009+ May 2012 SCOKY Oral Argument Calendar Posted on July 15, 2012 by Michael Stevens • 0 Comments Click HERE for link for this month’s argument calendar. Click here for link to table of all monthly... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2012 at Kentucky Court Report - SCOKY & COAKY