Sean Ragland and Colleen Davis successfully defended a social worker and her employer, a behavioral health facility, at trial in a tragic suicide case. A fourteen-year-old girl from an extremely abusive home was residing at a residential treatment center. The girl was sent to the emergency room after a self-harming incident that the Estate characterized as a suicide attempt, and the social worker performed a mental health assessment. She recommended the patient return to the residential treatment center for continuation of the intensive treatment she was already receiving there. Twelve days later, and four days after a tense encounter with her mother, the patient died by suicide at the treatment center. The patient’s estate alleged that the social worker should have recommended inpatient treatment. The defendants argued that the assessment and recommendation were appropriate under the circumstances and that the patient’s death was likely triggered by some intervening event, such as the patient’s tense encounter with her abusive mother. The Estate sought nearly $2 million dollars in damages. The jury deliberated for just over one hour before returning a defense verdict.
Susan Phillips, Patricia Le Meur, and Jack Phillips were each recognized for outstanding legal merit or volunteerism in 2021. Susan was named the Kentucky Defense Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates. Susan was also awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Louisville Bar Association. Tricia earned recognition from the LBA as Vice Chair of the Health Law Section, which was named the Section of the Year. Jack was named an Outstanding Coordinator by the Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. Congratulations, Susan, Tricia, and Jack!
John Phillips and Sean Ragland recently won dismissal of Plaintiffs’ Complaint from the Supreme Court of Kentucky on behalf of their client, a former trustee of the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS). Plaintiffs, eight retired public employees and current members of the KRS’s defined-benefit retirement plan, brought suit against several former KRS trustees and officers alleging mismanagement of KRS fund investments resulting in the loss of over $100 million. Plaintiffs, however, according to the Supreme Court, failed to demonstrate a necessary element of constitutional standing under Kentucky law: an injury in fact that is concrete, particularized, and actual or imminent. The Court reasoned that because the Plaintiffs did not and could not claim that their vested or expected retirement benefits were reduced or otherwise made unavailable, they lacked standing to bring the entire action.
Sean Ragland and Jack Phillips successfully defended two hospitalists and their practice after an in-patient, 64, suddenly lost vision and seized. After transfer to a higher acuity hospital, neurologists ultimately diagnosed her with Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome, a rare neurological condition that was only discovered in the last 25 years. The PRES did reverse, and the patient recovered her sight but claimed ongoing memory loss and nerve damage. The Plaintiff alleged that untreated acute increased blood pressure during her two-day hospitalization caused the PRES. The hospitalists argued, through expert proof, that their monitoring of the Plaintiff’s blood pressure and clinical judgment not to treat it with medication was appropriate. A defense neurology expert also opined that, in retrospect, the blood pressures were not the cause of the PRES, but it was a mounting pneumonia infection, instead. The Plaintiff claimed over $1 million dollars in damages. A Carroll County, Kentucky jury returned a defense verdict in less than an hour.
Phillips Parker Orberson & Arnett is pleased to announce that Katherine T. Watts and Matthew A. Piekarski are now Partners with the firm. Watts has had an active trial and litigation practice throughout Kentucky since joining the firm in 2009. Her practice is primarily focused in the areas of medical malpractice defense, professional liability defense, employment/discrimination defense, and premises liability defense. Watts attended the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Piekarski has also maintained an active trial and litigation practice since joining the firm in 2009. His practice is focused on defending claims of medical and dental malpractice, claims against municipalities and law enforcement, premises liability claims, and motor vehicle accident claims. Piekarski is a graduate of Marquette University and the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law.
Sean Ragland and Jack Phillips successfully defended a pediatrician and her practice after a four-year-old patient’s mother alleged that she failed to diagnose emerging appendicitis. The Plaintiff alleged that an earlier diagnosis would have avoided a subsequent rupture of the appendix, a surgical complication during repair, multiple other abdominal surgeries, and a difficult hospital course. The Plaintiff claimed over $4.7 million dollars in damages. A Floyd County, Kentucky jury returned a defense verdict in 20 minutes.
by Donna Taylor
I have worked as a legal secretary for most of my life now. I don’t think I need to tell many of that one can get lost in this role. We transform someone else’s words into correspondence and pleadings. We turn factual summaries and arguments into red and blue booklets that are read and considered by high-court justices. We take pride in bringing the thoughts of others into perfect physical existence, leaving little room for any expression of our own thoughts and ideas.
I have recently been part of a law office tradition that subtly confirms for me, though, that no matter the role, each individual is part of the whole, and the whole is marked by the individuals who play a role within it.
Since 1999 PPOA has paid for each year’s new employees to blow a glass ornament to hang on the firm’s Christmas tree. Each year Flame Works Gallery offers slightly different color and pattern choices. Like the people who blow the ornaments, no two are alike.
Christmas seasons task new associates to work together to select, install and light a live tree in PPOA’s main lobby. Each employee then hangs his or her ornament from the branches of the massive and fragrant tree.
The ornaments, every one uniquely crafted from the very breath of the individuals who have been a part of the PPOA whole, belong to PPOA, and every ornament remains a part of the PPOA Christmas tradition.
The light of Christmas, the scent of tradition and the baubles of individuality all make for a warm and wonderful holiday atmosphere here.
Phillips Parker Orberson & Arnett is pleased to announce that Nicholas R. Hart is now a partner with the firm. Hart has had an active trial and appellate practice in both Kentucky and Indiana since joining the firm in 2007. His practice is primarily focused in the areas of medical malpractice defense, professional liability defense, toxic torts, premises liability defense and products liability defense. Hart attended the University of Kentucky College of Law.
John “Jack” C. Phillips, Matthew J. Wheatley, and Ryan D. Nafziger have recently been hired as new associates in the Louisville office. Jack graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2015 and spent a year as a clerk for The Kentucky Supreme Court before joining the firm this summer. He is the son of partners, John W. and Susan Phillips. Matthew J. Wheatley joins the firm after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2016. Matt started as a clerk at PPOA during the summer of 2015. Ryan D. Nafziger joins after graduating from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law in 2016.
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