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About Our Firm

Our firm was founded in 2005 by four attorneys, who left a larger firm with the goal of providing high-quality legal representation in a more client-focused and economical manner.

Today, our attorneys have a combined experience of over 60 years in the legal industry and have tried cases throughout Kentucky in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Our firm has achieved significant high marks from our peers, which include listings in U.S. News & World Report and Best Law Firms. Our attorneys are listed in Kentucky Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers and have received high ratings in Martindale-Hubbell for competency and ethics.

Our attorneys focus their practice primarily on civil and regulatory litigation matters affecting a wide range of industries, including the mining industry. Whether you are dealing with litigation, employment matters, a workplace safety investigation, buying or selling a business or need assistance reviewing and drafting contracts, we can help.

 

Meet the Team

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John M. Williams

Attorney & Partner

Phone: 859-245-1059, ext. 26

John M. Williams is a native of Loyall in Harlan County, Kentucky. John graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Business & Economics with a Bachelor of Business Administration (Finance) in 1984 and received his Juris Doctor from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1987. He has earned an "AV® PreeminentTM" rating by Martindale Hubbell. John is a member of the Kentucky, Fayette County, American and Federal Bar Associations. John is a volunteer counselor with the Kentucky Bar Association Lawyer's Assistance Program.

John has extensive litigation experience in federal and state courts throughout Kentucky. Although his practice is primarily in mineral and energy and commercial litigation, John has experience in personal injury, construction claims, architect and engineer defense and collection matters. His experience in mineral law includes drafting and reviewing lease agreements, contract mining agreements and other transactions plus litigation of contract disputes, boundary disputes and personal injury matters. In the commercial litigation area, John has represented parties in business torts, lender liability and a wide variety of contract disputes. John also advises small to medium-sized business on a broad range of corporate matters, including business organization, governance and transactions.

John represents numerous coal companies in mine safety matters before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. He regularly represents operators in special investigations conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and as well as advising these clients on compliance matters. He is also a frequent speaker on mine safety matters at local and national seminars.

John serves on the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Kentucky, Inc., and served as Board Chair for two years. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Kentucky Bar Association Lawyers Assistance Program Foundation, Inc. and a past member of the Kentucky State Corrections Commission. John is also a member of the board of directors of Shepherd's House, Inc. John was also on the Board of the Lexington Children's Museum, Inc. for almost ten years, during which he served as Board Chair for five years. He also received the 2015 Community Service Alumni Award from the University of Kentucky College of Law and 2017 Fayette County Bar Association Citizen-Lawyer Award.

Year Joined Firm

  • 2005

Areas of Practice

  • Mineral & Energy
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Business Organizations and Transactions
  • Construction Claims
  • Occupational Safety (Defense)

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky, 1987
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1988
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1988
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit

Education

  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • Juris Doctor - 1987
  • University of Kentucky College of Business & Economics, Lexington, Kentucky
    • Business Administration - 1984

Publications

Presentations

  • ENERGY & MINERAL FOUNDATION | 2006 Amendments to Kentucky’s Mine Safety Regulations Energy & Mineral Law Foundation | 2006 Annual Institute | May 2006
  • Serving Two Masters: Ethical Considerations for Employee Representatives in Regulatory Investigations | ENERGY & MINERAL LAW FOUNDATION | 2007 Kentucky Mineral Law Conference | October 18, 2007
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation | 29th Annual Institute | MINER Act: Keeping Out of Trouble | May 20, 2008
  • ENERGY & MINERAL LAW FOUNDATION | 2009 Kentucky Mineral Law Conference | Pay Now or Pay Later | New Approaches to Delinquent Penalties Under the Mine Act | October 2009
  • ENERGY & MINERAL LAW FOUNDATION | 2010 Kentucky Mineral Law Conference | MINE SAFETY LAW AND REGULATION CHANGES | The Robert C. Byrd | Miner Safety and Health Act of 2010 | October 2010
  • ENERGY & MINERAL LAW FOUNDATION | 2014 Kentucky Mineral Law Conference | Beyond Secretary v. Nacco Mining Company: Operator Liability for Flagrant Conduct of Its Agents Under the Mine Act | October 2014
  • ENERGY & MINERAL LAW FOUNDATION | 2016 KENTUCKY MINERAL LAW CONFERENCE | Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Ethical Issues with the Impaired Attorney | October 19, 2016
  • Kentucky Bar Association | 2015 Annual Convention | Law Practice Management for Solo Practices and Small Firms | June 17, 2015
  • KENTUCKY JUSTICE ASSOCIATION | ETHICS ON THE LINKS | The Impaired Attorney: Ethical Considerations | May 16, 2016
  • KENTUCKY JUSTICE ASSOCIATION | ETHICS AT KEENELAND | Lawyer Impairment: Help Before It’s Too Late | April 23, 2015
  • 2014 SOUTHEAST MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH CONFERENCE | CURRENT LEGAL ISSUES IN COAL MINING | November 2014
  • 2016 SOUTHEAST MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH CONFERENCE | SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTION IN THE WORKPLACE: LEGAL AND PRACTICAL ISSUES | November 2016
  • 2017 SOUTHEAST MINE SAFETY AND HEALTH CONFERENCE | MSHA LIABILITY—Understanding and Minimizing Your Risk | November 2017
  • 2018 Industrial Minerals Association-North America Technical Workshop | SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND ADDICTION IN THE WORKPLACE: LEGAL AND PRACTICAL ISSUES | March 20, 2018
  • 42nd Annual Kentucky Blasting Conference | MSHA LIABILITY—Understanding and Minimizing Your Risk | December 2015
  • LEXINGTON COAL EXCHANGE | March 12, 2010 | Current Issues In Mine Safety
  • Indiana Coal Council, Inc.Annual Meeting | Current MSHA Issues | December 3, 2009
  • Kentucky Professional Engineers in Mining | 20th Annual Seminar | Underground Mine Mapping | Kentucky Mining Law Changes | Mine Rescue Teams | August 2007
  • KENTUCKY SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERS | 2016 Annual Convention | Design-Build Contracts | April 14, 2016
  • ACEC-KY RETREAT | Design-Build: Meet the New Boss—Same as the Old Boss? | January 2007
  • KSPE Annual Convention | Design-Build: Who’s the Boss? | April 13, 2007
  • KENTUCKY BAR ASSOCIATION | 2016 Kentucky Law Update | The Aging Attorney and Cognitive Impairment: Ethical Issues & When it’s Time to Start Winding Down
  • AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION SECTION OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT | OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH COMMITTEE | MSHA Roundtable on Hot Topics: 103(f) Walk Around Rights, Remedies in 105(c) Outside the Act, Flagrant Citations and Status of Pattern of Violations | February 27, 2018

Classes/Seminars

  • Organized the Federal Bar Association’s Introduction to Federal Practice Seminar
  • Mine Safety Matters At Local and National Seminars, Frequent Speaker
  • Frequent speaker on addiction in the legal profession and workplace

Honors and Awards

  • “AV® Preeminent™” rating by Martindale Hubbell
  • Listed in Best Lawyers (Energy Law)
  • Kentucky Super Lawyer (Thomsen Reuters)
  • Lawyer of the year 2015
  • 2015 Community Service Alumni Award, University of Kentucky College of Law
  • 2017 Fayette County Bar Association Citizen-Lawyer Award
  • University of Kentucky Society of Fellows

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Kentucky Bar Association, Member
  • Fayette County Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Member
  • Federal Bar Association, Kentucky Chapter, 2000, President
  • Kentucky Coal Association, Health & Safety Committee, 2006 - Present

Past Employment Positions

  • Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Associate, 1987 - 1994
  • Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Partner, 1994 - 2005

Pro Bono Activities

  • Special Olympics Kentucky, Inc., Board of Directors and Past Board Chair
  • Kentucky Bar Association Lawyers Assistance Program Foundation, Inc., Board of Trustees
  • Kentucky State Corrections Commission, Member
  • Lexington Children’s Museum, Inc., Past Board Chair
  • Kentucky Bar Association Lawyer’s Assistance Program, Volunteer Counselor
  • Shepherds House, Inc., Board of Directors
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Melanie Jane Kilpatrick

Attorney & Partner

Phone: 859-245-1059, ext. 23

Melanie J. Kilpatrick practices in the areas of mineral and energy, employment law, and commercial litigation. She has authored articles and given presentations on topics of interest in the mineral and energy, employment and education law fields. She is experienced in arguing appellate cases before the United States Court of Appeals, the Kentucky Court of Appeals and the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. Ms. Kilpatrick has been admitted to practice before the Kentucky Supreme Court, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth, Sixth and D.C. Circuits.

Ms. Kilpatrick serves on the Board of Directors for the Thomas D. Clark Foundation and Radio Eye, Inc. She is a member of the Fayette County, Kentucky, Federal and American Bar Associations. Ms. Kilpatrick serves on the Scholarship Committee of the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation. She has been recognized in the listing of Kentucky Super Lawyers from 2012-2018.

Ms. Kilpatrick was Articles Editor (1995-96) and a Staff Member (1994-95) for the Kentucky Law Journal. She served as law clerk to the Honorable Eugene E. Siler, Jr. on the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1996-97. Ms. Kilpatrick received her B.A. degree with High Honors in 1992 from the University of Virginia and her J.D. degree (valedictorian) from the University of Kentucky in 1996.

Areas of Practice

  • 35% Mineral And Energy
  • 30% Employment Law
  • 25% Education
  • 10% Commercial Litigation

Litigation Percentage

  • 95% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions

  • Supreme Court of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1998
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 2008
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1999
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1996
  • Kentucky, 1996
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 2003

Education

  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D. summa cum laude - 1996
    • Honors: Valedictorian
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Articles Editor, 1995 - 1996
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Staff Member, 1994 - 1995
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
    • B.A. magna cum laude - 1992
    • Honors: With High Honors
    • Major: French
    • Major: Foreign Affairs

Published Works

Representative Cases

  • Hopkins County Coal v. Secretary of Labor, 875 F.3d 279 (6th Cir. 2017)
  • Pendley v. Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, 601 F.3d 417 (6th Cir. 2010)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Ohio Valley Coal Company, 359 F.3d 531 (D.C. Cir. 2004)
  • Brandon Enterprises, LLC v. United States, 358 F.Supp.2d 506 (W.D. Va. 2005)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co., 36 FMSHRC 1282 (2014)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Leeco, Inc., 36 FMSHRC 130 (2014)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co., 35 FMSHRC 1585 (2013)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Premier Elkhorn Coal Co., 35 FMSHRC 150 (2013)
  • Clintwood Elkhorn Mining Co. v. Secretary of Labor, 32 FMSHRC 1880 (2010)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Musser Engineering, 32 FMSHRC 1257 (2010)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Blue Diamond Coal Co., 32 FMSHRC 581 (2010)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Martin County Coal Corp., 29 FMSHRC 1017 (2007)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Bell County Coal Corp., 29 FMSHRC 506 (June 2007)
  • Secretary of Labor v. Lone Mountain Processing, Inc., 20 FMSHRC 1233 (1998)

Classes/Seminars

  • Presenter, Mineral, Energy and Employment Law Fields
  • Mine Safety & Health Review, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation & University of Kentucky Mineral Law Center
  • Coal Mine Mapping, U.S. Department of Labor & Energy & Mineral Law Foundation (EMLF)
  • MSHA's Right to Information, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation & EMLF
  • Legislation by Mine Plan, Energy & Mineral Law Institute
  • MSHA Enforcement over Engineers and Engineering Consultants, Society of Mining Engineers
  • Temporary Reinstatement Under The Mine Act, Special Institute on Mine Safety & Health
  • Challenges to MSHA Enforcement of its POV Rule, EMLF
  • Mining Regulation, University of Kentucky
  • Recent Decisions and Trends in Labor and Employment Law, Society for Human Resource Management

Honors and Awards

  • Super Lawyers, 2012-2018
  • Lexington Chamber of Commerce's Class of Leadership Lexington, Member, 2005 - 2006

Past Employment Positions

  • Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Attorney, 1997 - 2005
  • Hon. Eugene E. Siler, Jr., United States Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit, Law Clerk, 1996 - 1997

Pro Bono Activities

  • The Thomas D. Clark Foundation, Inc., Board Member , 2002 - Present
  • Alzheimer's Association, 2003 - 2007
  • Energy and Mineral Law Foundation, Trustee
  • Radio Eye, Inc., Board Member, 2006 - Present
  • Pro Bono Services for Fayette County Pro Bono Office, 1998 - Present

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Kappa Delta
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Noelle Holladay True

Attorney & Partner

Phone: 859-245-1059, ext. 27

Noelle Holladay True is a native of Lexington, Kentucky. She is licensed to practice in Kentucky, and is admitted before the United States District Courts for the Eastern District and Western Districts of Kentucky and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit. She received her B.S. degree with Honors in Finance from Indiana University in 1997, and graduated Order of the Coif in 2000 from the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Noelle practices in the areas of mine safety and health, occupational safety and health, and business litigation. Her primary focus area is Mine Safety and Health Administration work. She represents coal and metal/non-metal companies around the country in litigation matters before the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, and locally before the Kentucky Mine Safety Review Commission. Noelle represents and advises mine operators and their agents during special investigations conducted by the Mine Safety and Health Administration in cases involving accidents, fatalities, and claims of discrimination, and also advises operators on other compliance issues involving federal and state agencies.

Noelle is a member of the Fayette County, Kentucky and American Bar Associations, the Fayette County Women Lawyers Association, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Commerce Lexington, the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Association, the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, and the Kentucky Coal Association. She was a recipient of the 2004 Lexington Young Professionals Association's "Rising Star Award.'' In law school, Noelle was Associate Editor for the Kentucky Law Journal, in which she authored an article entitled "The Limited Fiduciary Duties Owed by Corporate Managers to Preferred Shareholders: A Need for Change." She is Immediate Past President of the University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Association, and a 2016 graduate of Leadership Kentucky. She also chairs the Staff Parish Relations Committee at Southern Hills United Methodist Church. In the past, she has served on the Board of Directors (and as Treasurer) for the New Opportunity School for Women in Berea, Kentucky, on the Finance Committee for Southern Hills United Methodist Church, as Chair of the Steering Committee for the Southern Hills Early Childhood Program, and on the Board of Directors for the Friends of Raven Run in Lexington. Noelle frequently makes presentations on topics of interest in the area of workplace safety and health at various seminars throughout the country.

Areas of Practice

  • Workplace Safety
  • Energy Law
  • Mine Safety & Health
  • Occupational Safety & Health
  • Employment Law - Employer
  • Administrative Law
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Education Law
  • Litigation & Appeals

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 2017
  • U.S. Court of Appeals District of Columbia Circuit, 2011
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 2001
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 2005

Education

  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D. cum laude - 2000
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Associate Editor, 1998 - 2000
  • Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
    • B.S. - 1997
    • Honors: With Honors
    • Honors: With Distinction
    • Major: Finance

Published Works

  • "The Limited Fiduciary Duties Owed by Corporate Managers to Preferred Shareholders: A Need for Change", Kentucky Law Journal, Volume 88, No:1, 2000
  • "Mine Disasters and Crisis Management: Keeping Your Client Out of Trouble", Attorney At Law Magazine, 2014
  • "Crisis Management: Be Prepared Before It Happens to You", Business Quarterly Magazine, 2015

Classes/Seminars

  • Presenter, Mineral and Energy Law Conferences
  • OSHA Record Keeping Seminar, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • OSHA's New Walking-Working Surfaces Rule, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, 2008 - 2017
  • Mine Safety & Health Special Institute, Energy & Mineral Law Foundation
  • Kentucky Mineral Law Conference , Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, 2005 - 2015
  • Southeast Mine Safety & Health Conference , Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, 2014 - 2016
  • Southeast Blasters Workshop, Alabama Society of Explosives Engineers
  • Kentucky Chamber Annual Business Summit, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce
  • EMERGE Lexington for Emerging Leaders, Commerce Lexington

Honors and Awards

  • Recipient, Lexington Young Professionals Association "Rising Star Award"
  • Best Lawyers , 2015 - Present
  • Leadership Kentucky 2016 Graduate

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Fayette County Bar Association, Member
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Member
  • American Bar Association, Member
  • Kentucky Coal Association, Member
  • Women Lawyers Association, Member
  • Fayette County Bar’s Women Lawyers Association, Member
  • University of Kentucky Alumni Association, Member
  • University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Assoc., President
  • Commerce Lexington, Member
  • Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Member
  • Leadership Kentucky, Alumnus

Past Employment Positions

  • Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, LLP, Associate Attorney, 2000 - 2005

Pro Bono Activities

  • University of Kentucky College of Law Alumni Association, President and Board Member, 2009 - Present
  • Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, Member
  • Southern Hills United Methodist Church, Finance Committee (Past) & Staff Parish Relations Committee (Current Chair)
  • New Opportunity School for Women, Berea, Kentucky, Board of Directors and Treasurer, 2000 - 2010
  • Southern Hills Early Childhood Program, Lexington, Steering Committee, Past Chair
  • Friends of Raven Run, Lexington, Kentucky, Board of Directors, 2001 - 2008

Languages

  • English

Fraternities/Sororities

  • Pi Beta Phi

Learn More At A Consultation

Contact us to meet with our attorneys and learn more about how they can help you and your business. You can contact us online or call our office in Lexington from anywhere in the country at 859-245-1059 to schedule a consultation.