Kara M. Stewart

Experience

Defended Hospital Against Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation Claims

Client: A Hospital

Defense of a hospital against sexual harassment/hostile work environment and retaliation claims brought pursuant to the Kentucky Civil Rights Act. The plaintiff alleged a physician at the medical center sexually harassed her by making inappropriate comments about her appearance and unwanted physical contact, thereby creating a hostile work environment. She further alleged the hospital was aware of the physician’s conduct and failed to act. We defended the sexual harassment claim on the grounds that the physician’s alleged behavior was not sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment and, in any event, the hospital acted appropriately once the physician’s behavior was reported. We defended the retaliation claim on the ground that no there was no adverse employment action taken against the plaintiff. The plaintiff originally sought $5 million in damages, but asked the jury for $2.5 million in closing argument after the court granted a directed verdict on the retaliation claim. The jury returned a verdict for just $75,000.

Product Liability Lawsuit Involving a Side-by-Side Utility Vehicle

Employee was injured on the job while riding a side-by-side utility vehicle and received substantial worker’s compensation benefits. Worker’s compensation carrier brought subrogation/product liability lawsuit against Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer. Summary judgment was granted in favor of manufacturer on statute of limitations grounds as well as lack of privity between the employee and the manufacturer. Affirmed on appeal.

Product Liability Matter Involving Fireplace Glass Front

Defense of Hearth and Grill Manufacturer in product liability lawsuit. Plaintiff’s minor son was injured when he came in contact with the hot glass front of a fireplace. The fireplace was manufactured and sold by a company that had gone bankrupt before the lawsuit was filed. Plaintiff sought to impose liability on Hearth and Grill Manufacturer because it had purchased certain assets of the bankrupt company even though those assets did not include the fireplace in question. Summary judgment granted in favor of Hearth and Grill Manufacturer on the ground that the asset purchase agreement precluded liability for products manufactured and sold by the bankrupt company prior to the asset purchase agreement.

Product Liability Lawsuit Involving Allegations of Unwanted Acceleration

Defense of Automobile Manufacturer against unwanted acceleration allegation involving two seriously and permanently injured plaintiffs. Daubert motion lead to exclusion of plaintiffs’ liability expert and motion in limine resulted in exclusion of numerous allegedly similar incidents. Negotiated favorable settlement for Automobile Manufacturer.

Product Liability Lawsuit Involving Allegations of Airbag Non-Deployment

Defense of Automobile Manufacturer against airbag non-deployment allegation involving serious injuries. Daubert motion lead to exclusion of the plaintiff’s liability expert, which laid the groundwork for a successful summary judgment motion.

Commercial Litigation Involving Breach of Contract Allegations

Plaintiff claimed Vending Machine Company breached contract by soliciting its customers. Summary judgment granted in favor of Vending Machine Company on the grounds that contract was unambiguous and did not preclude Vending Machine Company’s conduct. Affirmed on appeal.

Plaintiff v. Equipment Manufacturer

Defense of Equipment Manufacturer in machine guarding product liability lawsuit. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Equipment Manufacturer on statute of limitations grounds and inapplicability of the relation-back doctrine.

Multi-District Product Liability Litigation

National liaison counsel for Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer in multi-district litigation involving more than 300 product liability lawsuits involving the design of a side-by-side utility vehicle. Co-trial counsel for 12 of these lawsuits involving Kentucky plaintiffs.

IN RE: Air Crash at Lexington, Kentucky, August 27, 2006

Counsel for Regional Jet Manufacturer in product liability litigation arising from the August 27, 2006 crash of Delta Flight 5191. All claims against the manufacturer were voluntarily dismissed.

Auto Negligence Case Involving Serious Injury

Defense of Cable Television, Internet and Telephone Service Provider in auto negligence case involving serious, permanent injuries to a young woman. Negotiated favorable settlement for service provider.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving Allegations of Negligence and Punitive Damages

Defense of Cable Television, Internet and Telephone Service Provider in wrongful death case alleging negligence and punitive damages. All claims against the service provider were voluntarily dismissed.

Personal Injury Lawsuit Involving Railroad Employee

Plaintiff injured his back when he fell while carrying a 75-pound knuckle over railroad tracks, a task that fell within his job description. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Railroad Company on the grounds that plaintiff failed to provide expert testimony that the Railroad Company’s standards or practices were outside accepted railroad practices. Affirmed on appeal.

Allegations of Premises Liability

Minor plaintiff was injured after he fell from a railroad trestle adjacent to his home. Summary judgment was granted in favor of Railroad Company on the grounds that plaintiff was a trespasser to whom Railroad Company owned no duty to keep its premises safe for use.

Allegations of Unsafe Workplace

Defense verdict for Railroad Company in FELA case involving allegation of carpal tunnel syndrome caused by unsafe workplace. Defense verdict affirmed on appeal.