Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC
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Higher Education

Rapid changes are occurring in higher education, which has led to more regulations and higher levels of compliance for administration. Our attorneys monitor laws that impact colleges and universities, such as Title IX, the Campus SaVE Act and the Clery Act, to provide our clients with up-to-date counsel on compliance and reporting requirements.

We’ve spent decades cultivating relationships with higher education institutions—from community colleges, to private colleges, to public universities—so we understand that every institution is unique, with its own challenges that require creative solutions. Our attorneys are equipped to integrate an array of legal disciplines, such as public entity defense, real estate, trusts and estates, and tort and personal injury litigation, to provide comprehensive counsel to higher education institutions.

Because many of our higher education clients are among the largest employers in the region, they can face complex human resources challenges. Our attorneys are well-versed in this distinct intersection of employment and higher education law, and are prepared to assist our clients with the defense of discrimination suits and whistleblower claims, faculty tenure and discipline issues, and compliance with Title VII, ADA, and other state and federal laws. We are also available to conduct on-site training on topics such as discrimination and harassment prevention, Title IX and sexual misconduct procedures, tenure review, and additional training for supervisors.

Our attorneys are also prepared to assist higher education institutions by acting as special investigators when circumstances require that an investigation of student or employee misconduct at any level be handled by an outside party.

  • Richard Crosby v. University of Kentucky, 863 F.3d 545 (6th Cir. 2017). Win for the University on alleged due process violations associated with removal of department chair.
  • Doe v. University of Kentucky, 860 F.3d 365 (6th Cir. 2017). Win for the University as the Court abstained from hearing claims with a pending student disciplinary matter.
  • Williamson v. Saunier, 2017 WL 2211376 (Ky.App. 2017). The Kentucky Court of Appeals held that University fire marshals are entitled to qualified immunity for claims associated with their inspection of a premises.
  • Williamson v. Morehead State University, 2017 WL 465318 (Ky.App. 2017). Win for the University affirming sovereign immunity.
  • Bailey v. Kentucky Community and Technical College System, 2016 WL 205504 (W.D.KY. 2016). Summary Judgment for the University on professor’s Title VII claims.
  • Jackson v. University of Kentucky, 2016 WL 3951084 (E.D.KY. 2016). Win for the University on student’s challenge to University student misconduct proceedings.
  • Kentucky Mist Moonshine Inc., v. University of Kentucky, 192 F.Supp.3d 772 (E.D.Ky. 2016). Win for the University as the Court dismissed claims against the University where plaintiff sought to debate the University’s trademarks.
  • Hendrix v. Northern Kentucky University, U.S. District Ct. Case No. 2:14-cv-79 (WOB-CJS). Win for the University, as the U.S. District Court granted summary judgment in favor of NKU, finding that NKU’s decision not to award Plaintiff a nursing degree did not violate her due process rights.
  • Overly v. Morehead State University, (2013-CA-002008-MR). The Kentucky Court of Appeals upheld the award of summary judgment by the Rowan Circuit Court which dismissed Plaintiff’s claims of race discrimination and retaliation, finding no evidence in support of Plaintiff’s claims and that Morehead State University established legitimate, non-discriminatory, non-retaliatory basis for its actions.
  • Frieder v. Morehead State University, 770 F.3d 428 (2014). Win for University that tenure denial not violation of free speech or constitutional rights or disability discrimination.
  • Hadjiev v. Board of Trustees of University of Kentucky, 2014 WL 5369331 (2014). Win for University on discrimination and retaliation claims and denial of extensive discovery of electronic data and deposition of University general counsel.
  • Furtula, et al. v. University of Kentucky, et al., 438 S.W.3d 303 (Ky. 2014). Win for University of Kentucky on issues of governmental immunity and whether unilateral personnel policies constituted an enforceable contract.
  • Coyle v. University of Kentucky, 2 F.Supp.3d 1014 (E.D.Ky. 2014). Win for University of Kentucky on defense of Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity versus Copyright Act claim.
  • Green v. Sandy, 2011 WL 4688639 (E.D.Ky. 2011). Win for Eastern Kentucky University concerning soccer player’s dismissal from team and related claims of free speech and due process violations.
  • Northern v. Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Educ., 2010 WL 3928494 (2010). Win for Council that complaints regarding known problems with oversight or negligence in operations does not constitute complaints of mismanagement or fraud under Kentucky Whistleblower Act.
  • Murray v. Eastern Kentucky University, 328 S.W.3d 679 (Ky.App. 2009). Win for university concerning alleged disability discrimination in denial of tenure.
  • Sinha v. University of Kentucky, 284 S.W.3d 159 (Ky.App. 2008). Win for university concerning medical resident’s records request and alleged violations of Kentucky’s Open Records Act.
  • Hayse v. University of Kentucky, 2008 WL 3163879 (Ky.App. 2008). Win for university concerning alleged wrongful denial of tenure.
  • Witt v. Eastern Kentucky University, 205 S.W.3d 263 (Ky.App. 2006). Win for university concerning public employee conflicts of interest.
  • Stathis v. University of Kentucky, 2005 WL 1125240 (2005). Win for University on discrimination claims finding due process provided and discovery appropriately limited.
  • Hash v. University of Kentucky, 138 S.W.3d 123 (Ky.App. 2004). Win for university concerning alleged disability discrimination of law student.
  • Paxton v. University of Kentucky, Kentucky Court of Appeals (2009). Successfully defended university against claims brought by student-athlete demanding reinstatement to athletic team.
  • Bassett v. National Collegiate Athletic Ass’n, et al., 528 F.3d 426 (6th Cir. 2008). Affirming summary judgment for university against athletic coach’s employment-related claims after he was terminated post-NCAA infractions.
  • Hutsell v. Sayre, 5 F.3d 996 (6th Cir. 1993). Affirmed summary judgment on Eleventh Amendment bar to suits against university and employees in their official capacities.


Salsburey, Staying within Ethical Boundaries in Conducting School District Investigations, presentation for the Council of School Board Attorneys (CSBA) Winter Meeting (2016).

Salsburey, Key issues that will keep administrators at colleges and universities up at night in 2016, presentation for the Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance (2016).

Beauman, How to Handle Crisis Communications, UK CLE Education Law Conference (2015).

Barker & Beauman, Addressing Complaints, Education Law Association School Law Seminar: Legal Issues for Private, Religious, and Independent School Administrators (2015).

Barker, Salsburey & Coleman, How to Conduct Effective Investigations, UK CLE Education Law Conference (2015).

Salsburey, The NLRB Comes to Campus: An Update on Union Activity at U.S. Institutions of Higher Education, Presentation for the Higher Education Council of the Employment Law Alliance. (February 2015)

Salsburey, Take it from the Top:  The First Amendment and Employment Law Matters, presented at the University of Kentucky’s Annual Employment Law Institute (June 5, 2014) (Author and Presenter).

Salsburey, Don’t Short-Circuit:  Ideas to Help You Manage the Pains of E-Discovery, presented at the Kentucky Bar Association’s Annual Convention (June 18, 2010) (Author and Presenter).

Salsburey, What Does the Statute Say?  (The ABC’s—and U.S.C.’s and C.F.R.’s—of Records Retention), presented as part of Records Retention:  To Keep or Not to Keep, National Association of College and University Attorneys’ 2008 Annual Conference (June 24, 2008) (Author only).



Barker, Avoiding the Tenure Trap, United Educators Perspectives (2013).

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