THE LAW FIRM OF STITES AND HARBISON WAS EMPLOYED TO DEFEND THE KBA IN THE LAWSUIT FILED BY JOHN M. BERRY JR. AND THE ACLU. KBA says this was the insurer carrier’s decisions decision
In response to LawReader’s request for information regarding this decision, the KBA President, on behalf of the Executive Committee, was kind enough to reply. This is the first time that the KBA has taken the time to respond to questions about this lawsuit from a dues paying member of the Bar. We hope this indicates that the KBA will be more transparent in the future.
The law firm of Stites and Harbison was reported by President Myers to have earned a legal fee in “the low $200,000’s”. We have previously complimented Stites and Harbison for their excellent work, and we have no doubt the fee was earned.
One Board opf Governors member, Douglass Farnsley of Louisville is employed by Stites and Haribson.
This letter explains that the KBA’s liability insurer hired Stites and Harbison, and that Board member Farnsley had no input in his firm’s selection.
We have asked the bar for the identities of the Executive Committee and Board Members who in 2009 approved this expenditure instead of choosing to correct the Inquiry Commissions “unconstitutional” deprivation of Berry’s free speech rights (as found by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.) That information has not yet been provided to LawReader.
This action by the KBA Inquiry Commission against Berry, cost a total of about $400,000. President Myers has said that this was covered by the insurance carrier.
It appears that the KBA places the blame for their decision on the Supreme Court since they adopt the rules which govern attorney discipline procedures.
We still have not heard of an apology to Berry from the KBA. We have not learned of any deductible in the insurance policy, and we have not learned if the KBA’s liability insurance premiums will be raised in the future as a result of this $400,000 loss.
KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION
514 WR~T MAIN S1REET
FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY 40601 -1812
FAX (502) 564-3225
From: KBA President W. Douglas Myers and The Executive Committee
TO: Stan Billingsley
I have your letter of September 21, 2012 to John Meyers. I have advised Mr. Meyers not
to engage in research projects for individual members of the Kentucky Bar Association.
I will tell you that the existence of the Kentucky Bar Association Executive Committee is
created in the bylaws of the KBA. The bylaws were adopted by the Bar and approved by the
Kentucky Supreme Court. These bylaws and the Policies adopted by the Board of Governors of
the Kentucky Bar Association (The Policies) create the authority by which the Executive
In your letter, you also raise several questions concerning the employment of Mark
Overstreet of the law firm of Stites & Harbison for representation in the case of John M. Berry,
Jr. v. Michael J. Schmitt, in his official capacity as Chair of the Kentucky Bar Association Inquiry
Commission. At the time this lawsuit began, the suit was directed to the insurance carrier which
provides coverage for the Kentucky Bar Association Inquiry Commission. This insurance carrier
directed the KBA to employ panel counsel approved by the carrier. The firm listed for defense
of claims of this nature in Kentucky was Stites & Harbison.
The Policies adopted by the Board of Governors require as follows:
Members of the Board, Trustees, Inquiry Commission, CLE
Commission and other KBA commissions and committees, and
employees of the KBA are to be defended, indemnified and held
harmless for any activity that they engage in on official KBA
business, excluding illegal activity in which they have been
Thank you for your interest in the Bar Association and its operations.
W. Douglas Myers
C: John Meyers