Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC
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Government & Municipal Law

Sturgill Turner’s attorneys are experienced in providing comprehensive representation to cities, counties, state agencies, law enforcement, and other quasi-governmental entities.

Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC is proud to support the Kentucky League of Cities as a Cornerstone Partner. Through KLCIS, we have defended cities in an array of matters, including alleged constitutional violations by governmental bodies and/or government officials and workers’ compensation claims. A small sampling of the other legal issues that cities have called on us for assistance includes:

EMPLOYMENT & PERSONNEL ISSUES

Sturgill Turner is uniquely positioned to address the employment and personnel needs of cities. Sturgill Turner’s Government and Municipal Law group works closely with our attorneys who specialize in employment law to provide cities with the most up-to-date, thorough employment law counsel. We’re available to draft personnel policies, represent cities in employee discipline actions, and defend cities against allegations of wrongful termination, discrimination, and violation of constitutional rights, such as freedom of speech. We also provide counsel and training on personnel matters, like employment hearings, hiring and firing, written policies, employee manuals, sexual harassment prevention and requests for accommodations in safety-related positions, including the ever-increasing use of prescription drugs.

UTILITIES

With the expertise of former Kentucky Public Service Commission Chair, Jim Gardner, and a former PSC staff attorney, Todd Osterloh, Sturgill Turner has the distinctive capability to counsel cities on legal issues covering the provision of utilities to customers. Their experience spans representing cities in rate cases, easement issues, and sewer backup lawsuits.

POLICE OFFICER/ FIREFIGHTER ISSUES

Sturgill Turner has extensive experience representing cities in the process of disciplining or terminating police officers and firefighters. Charley Cole has litigated Kentucky’s Police Officer Bill of Rights all the way to the Kentucky Supreme Court. With the institutional expertise of former Kentucky State Police Trooper and Lt. Colonel, Scott Miller, Sturgill Turner’s Government and Municipal Law group is distinctively credentialed to defend the expanding area of lawsuits filed against police officers, such as malicious prosecution, illegal search and seizure, false arrest and excessive force.

INVESTIGATIONS

 Sturgill Turner has also expanded its services to include independent investigations within police departments. Sturgill Turner has extensive knowledge in police policies and procedures that has been enhanced with the addition of attorney and former KSP Lt. Colonel Scott Miller. Our attorneys are will-equipped to conduct employment and departmental investigations.  

OPEN RECORDS ACT & OPEN MEETINGS ACT

Our attorneys are often called upon by cities to assist with Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act issues. Sturgill Turner’s government and municipal law attorneys are incredibly well-versed in guiding public entities through the process of responding to open records requests, and ensuring that open meetings guidelines are properly followed.

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY

Our strong understanding of the various complex immunities available to public entities has contributed to our successes arguing and advancing the concepts of sovereign immunity and qualified official immunity applicable to governmental and quasi-governmental entities.

CITY ATTORNEY

Several of our members serve as the city attorney for central Kentucky municipalities, and as a result, possess a working knowledge of the municipal law issues faced by cities on a daily basis. We’ve also represented governmental entities and those who deal with them on matters involving alcohol and gun laws, state and local tax issues, inter-local agreements and a variety of other contracts and dealings.

Notable decisions in the area of sovereign immunity include the adjudication of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Airport Board and the Lexington-Fayette Airport Corporation against Comair in its attack on sovereign immunity, in which the Kentucky Supreme Court adopted our suggested refinement of the Berns test for immunity as applied to county boards and affiliated corporations such as the Airport Board. Comair, Inc. v. LFUCG Airport Board, et al., 295 S.W.3d 91 (Ky. 2009).

 

Notable decisions in the area of police officer discipline include:

  • Stephen Derrick Hill v. City of Mt. Washington, 448 S.W.3d 746 (Ky. 2014) (interpreting the applicable of scope of Kentucky’s Police Officer Bill of Rights).
  • Jeffrey Pearce v. City of Harrodsburg, et al, 440 S.W.3d 392 (Ky. App. 2014) (affirmed dismissal of constructive discharge and statutory due process claims by former police officer based upon failure to exhaust administrative remedies).

 

Notable decisions in the area of police officer liability include:

  • Shamaeizadeh v. Cunigan, 338 F.3d 535 (6th Cir. 2003) (unlawful search and seizure).
  • Tucker v. City of Richmond, 388 F.3d 216 (6th Cir. 2004) (First Amendment retaliation).
  • Bryant v. Pulaski County Detention Center, 330 S.W.3d 461 (Ky. 2011) (defended county jail officials on claims brought by inmate who was burned by deputy during maintenance work).
  • Woosley v. City of Paris, 591 F.Supp.2d 913 (E.D.Ky. 2008) (obtained summary judgment for police officer on claims of excessive force).

 

Notable decisions in the area of governmental employment include:

  • Williams v. London Utility Commission, 375 F.32 424 (6th Cir. 2004) (breach of contract, constitutional and ADA allegations).
  • Reeves v. City of Georgetown, 539 F.Appx. 662 (6th Cir. 2013) (successfully defended constitutional challenges of a Chief of Police’s claims surrounding his termination).
  • Cummins v. City of Augusta, 2013 WL 5436657 (Ky.App. 2013), 2012-CA-1641 (successfully defended City against claims of wrongful termination arising out of removal of former Chief of Police).
  • Burnett v. Transit Authority of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, 981 F.Supp.2d 630 (E.D. Ky. 2013) affirmed (6th Cir. 2014) (obtained summary judgment against employee’s civil rights and state-conspiracy claims).
  • Turner v. City of Paris, 534 F.Appx. 299 (6th Cir. 2013) (successfully defended suit against City alleging ADA violations).
  • Meads v. Transit Authority of Lexington Fayette Urban County Government, (6th Cir. 2012) (successfully defended suit against transit authority alleging racial discrimination).
  • Madison Co. Fiscal Ct., et al., v. Kentucky Labor Cabinet, 352 S.W.3d 572 (Ky. 2011) (represented numerous municipalities in labor dispute concerning calculation of overtime compensation for firefighters).
  • Washington v. City of Georgetown, 2010 WL 3892002 (E.D.Ky. 2010) (obtained summary judgment of claims by employee for discrimination, Equal Pay Act and retaliation).
  • Fournier v. City of Lawrenceburg, (2008 WL 1103930, Ky. App., 2007-CA-000490) (dismissal of wrongful discharge suit filed by former police officer affirmed by the Kentucky Court of Appeals).
  • Bullock v. City of Somerset, (2007 WL 548825, 2006-CA-000006) (summary judgment affirmed by Court of Appeals in favor of City on employee’s claims of age and disability discrimination and alleged workers’ compensation retaliation).
  • Drigger v. City of Owensboro, (110 Fed.Appx. 499, C.A.6 (Ky. 2004) (summary judgment affirmed by for the City on former female police officer’s claims of First Amendment freedom of association, sex discrimination and retaliation).

 

Notable decisions in the area of private/public transactions include:

  • Snowden v. City of Wilmore, 412 S.W.3d 195 (Ky. Ct. App. 2013). Litigation concerning alleged contractual and business relations interference, involving annexation, zoning and proposed development of a horse farm
  • Brandywine, Inc. v. City of Richmond, 359 F.3d 830 (6th Cir. 2004) (sustaining summary judgment for city on implementation and application of its sexually-oriented business regulations).
  • Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control v. City of Somerset, Kentucky, No. 2014–SC–000154–MR, 2014 WL 5410325, City brought suit against ABC seeking determination that it usurped its statutorily defined role in process of distributing licenses. ABC petitioned the Supreme Court for writ of prohibition to block trial court from proceeding, which was denied.
  • Ohnemus v. Thompson, (594 Fed.Appx. 864, 2014 WL 1998667) (county’s purchase of drone from private vendor and dismissal of summary judgment affirmed for deputy sheriff on allegations of malicious prosecution and constitutional claims).

 

Other notable decisions include the following:

  • Jones v. Hamilton Co., Tennessee, 891 F.Supp.2d (E.D.TN 2012) affirmed (6th Cir. 2013) (successfully defended constitutional challenge to County’s practice of opening legislative meetings with prayer).
  • Adams v. City of Morehead, Rowan Circuit Court, Division II, Civil Action No. 08-CI-90319 (defended city in suit brought on behalf of minor child who sustained near-drowning event in municipal swimming pool and suffered severe and permanent brain injury).
  • Chappell v. Arnold, Fayette Circuit Court, Division 4, Civil Action N. 10-CI-3051 (defended transit authority against claims brought be pedestrian who sustained catastrophic brain injury as a result of being struck while in crosswalk by transit bus).

SEMINARS

Cole, Osterloh & Miller, Advanced Legal Issues Affecting Local Governments and Municipalities: An Ultimate Guide, National Business Institute CLE (December 2016)

Cole, An Update on the Police Officer Bill of Rights, Kentucky (Larger) Home Rule Cities Meeting (August 2016)

Cole, A Current Look at Government Immunity, Local Government Law: What Attorneys Need to Know CLE presented by the National Business Institute (May 2015).

Cole, Police Liability and Ethics: Other Current Police Liability Issues, NBI Local Government Law CLE (2014)

Osterloh, Public Records Issues, Local Government Law: What Attorneys Need to Know presented by the National Business Institute (May 2015).

Osterloh, “Public Open Records and Open Meetings Laws,” CLE presentation for the National Business Institute (June 2013).

Osterloh, “Contracts between Cities and Public Utilities,” CLE Presentation for the Municipal Attorneys Association of Kentucky (October 2011).

Cole, 42 U.S.C. §1983 Federal Practice, Federal Bench & Bar Conference (2013)

Cole, Uniformed Employee Discipline, Kentucky League of Cities Conference (October 2007)

Cole, Qualified Official Immunity in Kentucky, CLE presentation at the KBA Conference (2008)

 

PUBLICATIONS

Cole and Osterloh, “Taxpayer Revolt, Enhanced Scrutiny of Special Districts, and House Bill 1,” Kentucky Bench and Bar Magazine (March 2014).

Beauman, “Reining in Mayberry’s Red-Light District” (a discussion of regulation of sexually oriented businesses through planning, zoning and licensure controls of local governments), For The Defense (June 2007).

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