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!
Bill Orberson and Tricia Le Meur successfully pursued an appeal of a Court of Appeals decision requiring Encompass to provide coverage for injuries arising from the Plaintiff’s use of a motorcycle that he insured with a different company. The plaintiff in this case separately insured his vehicles, two cars and a motorcycle, with three different insurance companies. He was injured while riding his motorcycle and sought underinsured motorists (UIM) from all three insurers. Encompass, which insured one of the plaintiff’s cars, disputed coverage based on its clear policy provision excluding UIM coverage for the plaintiff’s use of another vehicle owned by him but not insured under the Encompass agreement (typically referred to as a “regular use exclusion”). Kentucky’s Supreme Court, reversed the Court of Appeals, holding that UIM coverage exclusions such as this are permissible under Kentucky law. Specifically with respect to Encompass, the Court held that its UIM regular use exclusion was “a clear and unambiguous statement that the policy does not pay benefits for vehicles it does not insure,” and that the plaintiff did not have any reasonable expectation of coverage for his motorcycle accident from his Encompass policy insuring only his car.
The Court of Appeals in this case determined that the Claims Against Local Governments Act (CALGA) does not obligate local governments to defend or indemnify employees for actions outside the scope of their employment. Bill Orberson and Tricia Le Meur represented Louisville Metro in this matter stemming from a motor vehicle accident in which an off-duty police officer was operating a police take-home vehicle. Pursuant to the agreement governing use of the take-home vehicle, the City provided $100,000 in liability coverage for the officers’ off-duty vehicle use. The Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs, holding that the officer’s off-duty compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) brought him within the scope of employment and triggered the City’s duty to provide unlimited indemnification pursuant to CALGA. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that this was an untenable expansion of Louisville Metro’s duties, in contravention of clear statutory language. It specifically rejected the contentions that officers participating in a take-home vehicle program always act within the scope of their employment, no matter how personal their off-duty actions or how miniscule the benefit to their employer. The Court of Appeals remanded the case with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Louisville Metro.
Joseph Effinger and Patricia Le Meur successfully defended summary judgment granted to their client, Norton Hospitals, Inc. This medical negligence case involved the removal of a newborn from its mother while they were both in the hospital based on a good faith, but erroneous, reading of a maternal blood alcohol test requested by protective services. Kentucky requires that known or suspected cases of child abuse be reported. To encourage reporting and to eliminate fears of potential lawsuits, Kentucky also provides immunity from criminal and civil prosecution where the person who reports suspected child abuse acts upon reasonable cause or in good faith. Kentucky’s Supreme Court held that the trial court had correctly applied the immunity statute in this case and reinstated the trial court’s grant of summary judgment to the hospital and treating physician.
John Parker and Tricia Le Meur received a unanimous defense verdict for their ophthalmologist client in a significant medical malpractice case arising from a complication from cataract surgery – a retrobulbar hemorrhage – which left the Plaintiff legally blind in one eye. The Plaintiff contended that the surgery was contraindicated based on the condition of the eye, potential side-effects of his heart medication, and post-surgical sequella from prior cataract surgery on the other eye. The Plaintiff sought $2,600,000.00 in damages. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.
Tricia Le Meur successfully defended a medical malpractice case against an internal medicine physician. The Plaintiff claimed that, following her scheduled office visit, the physician improperly left her alone in the examination room to get down from the examination table unassisted. The Plaintiff fell, sustaining both a hip fracture and arm injury. The Plaintiff sought just under $270,000.00 in damages. After a brief deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of the physician.
John Parker and Tricia Le Meur successfully defended a local surgeon in Glasgow, Kentucky who was accused of medical malpractice by a former patient who had undergone laparoscopic cholecystectomy (surgical removal of the gallbladder). The right hepatic duct had been inadvertently clipped during surgery, which was not discovered until 12 months after the surgery and resulted in the Plaintiff losing approximately 40% of her liver. The Plaintiff claimed that the surgeon breached the standard of care, and she sought over $2,000,000.00 in damages. The defense demonstrated that the Plaintiff had a rare congenital anomaly of her hepatic anatomy, which, together with her unusual post-surgical presentation, masked the ductal occlusion and precluded the surgeon and the other treating physicians from discovering her condition earlier. After a brief deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the surgeon.
Tricia Le Meur and Nicholas Hart successfully defended a medical malpractice action against a dialysis facility. Plaintiff claimed that the dialysis nurses/staff failed to adequately supervise the patient causing the patient to fall and break his hip. The patient died two months later from complications allegedly related to his broken hip. As a result of the alleged negligence, Plaintiff sought over $6 million in damages. A Jefferson County, Kentucky jury returned a unanimous verdict for the defense.
Tricia Le Meur and Nicholas Hart successfully defended a medical malpractice action against a radiologist in Danville, Kentucky. Plaintiff claimed that the radiologist failed to identify an acute knee fracture following a skateboarding fall. Plaintiff ultimately required surgery to correct his knee issues. After four days of evidence, a Boyle County, Kentucky jury returned a defense verdict for the radiologist.
PPOA is excited to announce that David Thompson and Tricia Le Meur have been named partners of the firm. David joined PPOA in 2008 after practicing for seven years in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. During his time at the firm, David has successfully defended physicians, hospitals, as well as other professionals and entities in malpractice trials. Tricia has practiced with PPOA since earning her Juris Doctor in 2001. Since then, she has successfully represented defendants in a variety of professional and liability lawsuits.
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