Kentucky Supreme Court Arguments – Dick’s Sporting Goods v. Webb and Shelton v. Kentucky Easter Seals Society, Inc. on August 15, 2012

Last week, Diane and I, went up to the Kentucky Supreme Court to hear the arguments in the two cases addressing the post-McIntosh world of “Open and Obvious” in premises liability.  We were providing some emotional support for both plaintiffs’ counsel making their first appearance – Brad Slutskin and Joseph Pepper.

The cases were Dick’s Sporting Goods v. Webb  and Shelton v. Kentucky Easter Seals Society, Inc.  The issue was the same in both cases –  whether summary judgment for the defendant was granted properly under Kentucky River Medical Center v. McIntosh, 319 S.W.3d 385 (Ky. 2010).

All counsel were well prepared and ready.

However, I took the above picture of Brad Slutskin in the quiet moments before the seven justices entered and arguments would begin.  An awesome responsibility, and after all the work, all the preparation, all the assistance from others, it is at this moment, this point in time, when it is you and you alone shouldering the hopes and needs of your client.  That folks, is what trial law is all about.  BTW.  Brad done good.  His wife was all smiles at the end too.  We sometimes forget that as lawyers we die just one death in the arena, but our loved ones watching from outside the bar die a thousand deaths with every breath, every word, every question.

And when it was all over, the counsel representing the plaintiffs in the underlying cases and making or assisting in the arguments and briefs had a quiet moment with a smile and a sense of relief.

As soon as I am sure who is who and have their correct and complete names, I will supplement this post.

I did this post as a reminder to myself and others that behind the dry legal principles at stake are the lives of those who have been deeply involved, litigants and lawyers alike, whose lives are affected and changed by these events.


After this was posted, I was reminded that Melissa Ann Wilson who argued on behalf of Cardinal Hill Hospital was making her first appearance before the Supreme Court, as well.  My wife and I spoke with her, and she was friendly, graceful, and more importantly for her client, she was well prepared and articulate, holding her ground and answering the questions.  I had no idea this was her first time.




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