Robert L. Abell represents individuals, families and, occasionally, small businesses mainly but not only in cases involving employment law including discrimination and overtime pay, Kentucky workers compensation law, personal injury, and insurance claims including claims for disability insurance benefits. Calling upon his past experience as a public defender in New York City, Robert also maintains a substantial criminal defense practice.
You can get a sense of some of these cases from the following sample of cases that Robert has handled over the course of the last nearly 30 years. You can click on the links in each entry to gain a better understanding of the case.
- Wrongful Death/Interstate Trucking - Estate of Clark Legg v. Dandy Service Corporation, Rowan Circuit Court (co-counsel with lawyer Chris Frederick of West Liberty, Kentucky). Mr. Legg was killed in an interstate trucking accident when a tractor trailer struck his truck on I-64 near Morehead, Kentucky; read the Complaint (the case was removed to federal court in Ashland, Kentucky).
- Personal Injury - Asbestos Exposure - Steve Perkins, et al v. Serv-Air, Inc., et al, Fayette Circuit Court. These clients were either employees or spouses of employees of the defendant corporation who exposed them to asbestos without proper protective clothing or equipment over the course of several years. Read the amended complaint.
- Kentucky Workers Compensation - Retaliation for Seeking Workers Compensation Benefits -- Kenneth Casey v. Milner Electric Company, Fayette Circuit Court. This case illustrates the intersection of two areas of law: Kentucky workers compensation and employment law. Mr. Casey claimed in the lawsuit that he was fired after he was injured on the job and asserted his rights to medical coverage and other benefits under Kentucky workers compensation law. The jury agreed and he was awarded back pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages and attorney's fees totaling $140,789.52; Read the Trial Verdict & Final Judgment.
- Personal Injury and Kentucky Workers Compensation. James Land v. Frito-Lay, Kentucky Dept. of Workers Claims; James Land v. Ellen Ramey, Jefferson Circuit Court. Mr. Land, while on the job for Frito-Lay and driving his work vehicle, was struck by a vehicle driven by another driver sustained serious injuries. He underwent two back surgeries and received a Kentucky workers compensation opinion, order and award of benefits from a Kentucky workers compensation administrative law judge. It was also necessary to file suit on Mr. Land's behalf in Jefferson Circuit Court against the negligent driver. That suit was settled for $100,000 the policy limits, although the workers compensation insurance company was able to recover from Mr. Land some of the monies he had recovered from the other driver under what is known as indemnity. This case illustrates the intersection of accident and personal injury, Kentucky workers compensation and insurance law.
- Sex Discrimination, Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation. Melinda Massarone v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Fayette Circuit Court. Melinda Massarone was the first woman to rise to the rank of Captain in the Lexington police department. She claimed that she was subjected to sex discrimination in her employment and her lawsuit claimed sex discrimination, retaliation and aiding and abetting discrimination. Read the amended complaint. The case generated substantial news coverage, "Suit Claims Sex Discrimination By Lexington Chief," "Walsh Is Target of Sex Bias Suit," "Sexual Assault Claims Included, Judge Rules In Suit of Ex-Police Chief Race Bias Claim Allowed," "Sex Claim OK'd for Walsh Trial" and was settled for $150,000, "Lawsuit Naming Walsh Settled."
- Disability Insurance Benefits. Lyman Powell v. Hartford Life Insurance Company, U.S. District Court, Bowling Green. Mr. Powell brought suit seeking reinstatement of his disability insurance benefits by the Hartford. Although this type of case, which was brought under a federal law popularly known as "ERISA," is typically decided based solely on a review of the claims file without any discovery or presentation of further information, it was notable for the success in obtaining an order allowing investigation of the relationship between the Hartford and a third-party medical consulting group, the University Disability Consortium; read the Court's Opinion and Order.
- Age Discrimination. James Wells v. Columbia Gas of Kentucky, Fayette Circuit Court. Mr. Wells worked for Columbia Gas of Kentucky for nearly 40 years and was nearing retirement when he was fired for some trumped-up reason that, in the jury's view, had no credibility. He filed suit claiming age discrimination, the jury found in his favor and awarded him on the verdict form awarded him $165,377 in damages including $50,000 in punitive damages. Read the Jury Verdict form.
- Disability Discrimination – ADA – Failure to Accommodate – Snipes v. Kroger Company, U.S. District Court, Ashland, Ky. Christine Snipes was badly injured in a car accident but continued to work despite her multiple disabilities. Her employer ultimately refused to accommodate her disability resulting in further injury to her as described in this complaint.
- Disability Discrimination - ADA -- Charles Cowing v. Lockheed Martin Corp., U.S. District Court, Lexington; Fayette Circuit Court; Kentucky Court of Appeals and Kentucky Supreme Court. Mr. Cowing, as a result of service in our Nation's armed forces, suffered from back injuries and related disabilities. After a flare-up and after his doctor prepared a list of physical restrictions, he was prevented from returning to work as an aircraft mechanic. This was a hard, difficult case. You can get an idea of just how hard by reading this amended complaint filed in Fayette Circuit Court, this Brief and Reply Brief filed in the Kentucky Court of Appeals, this Motion for Discretionary Review filed in the Kentucky Supreme Court, this memorandum filed in U.S. District Court and this opinion by the U.S. District Court.
These are only a few and you are encouraged to visit the Robert Abell Law library to read more about these and other cases that Robert Abell has handled or is handling. Please keep in mind that it is true that all cases are different. One of the reasons why you are looking for a lawyer is because you want someone to explain to you whether you have a case and why, how your case is or is not different from other cases the lawyer has handled and what type of result or remedy you can expect. A lawyer should be able to explain these things to you in a way that you can understand. After all, you are hiring a lawyer because he or she may ultimately have to explain your case one day to a group of strangers - a jury - and if the lawyer cannot explain it to you in a way that you can understand you may and frankly should question whether or not they will be able to explain to a group of strangers.
Robert L. Abell opened the Robert Abell Law office in Lexington, Kentucky in 1991. Before this he worked as a public defender for the Legal Aid Society of New York City representing poor people accused of crimes in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. He previously worked for a large Louisville-based law firm, Greenebaum Doll McDonald. While attending Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Robert worked as a law clerk for United States District Judge A. J. McNamara, as a research assistant for the late and very much missed David Gelfand, a Tulane Law school professor, great friend and mentor, and interned at the Orleans Parish District Attorney's Office where he met Harry Connick, Jr., whose father, Harry Connick, Sr., was then the District Attorney for New Orleans.
A Kentucky native raised in Independence, Robert and his wife, Patty, have two daughters, Annalee, who is a graduate of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, where she was a member of its varsity women's volleyball team, and is now a math teacher, volleyball and basketball coach at Lusher Middle School in New Orleans, and Sara, an accomplished pianist, recently graduated from the University of Kentucky and will enroll this summer in the University of Louisville Medical School.
- University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky; Bachelor of Arts (History), 1983
- Tulane University Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana; Juris Doctor, 1987
- In Farmer Case, We Could Push Law So Far As To Criminalize Politics, Lexington Herald-Leader, April 30, 2013
- The Executive, Administrative and Professional Exemptions to the Overtime Requirement, The Advocate, January/February 2010
- Tort Reformers Want Cruel Cure for Fictional Ill, Lexington Herald-Leader, January 4, 2010
- "Exposing Deceptive Defense Doctors" by Dorothy Clay Sims (book review), The Advocate, September/October 2009
- A Guide to Getting "Differential Diagnosis" Evidence Admitted, The Advocate, July/August 2009
- There You Go Again; Admissibility of Other Bad Act Evidence Under KRE 404(b), The Advocate, May/June 2009
- Ask An Attorney Questions, Demand Straight Answers, Lexington Herald-Leader, March 2, 2009
- Law Helps Workers Recover Fair Pay, Lexington Herald-Leader, February 10, 2009
- Injured Workers May Pursue Civil RICO Claim Based on Enterprise to Deny Them Workers Compensation Benefits, The Advocate, January/February 2009
- Congress Must Fix Inequitable Drug Sentences, Lexington Herald-Leader, February 14, 2005
- Punitive Damages Should Be Recoverable for Employment Discrimination Under the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, The Advocate, May/June 2001
- Liability Suits Are Path to Justice, Lexington Herald-Leader, February 28, 2000
- Special Counsel Law Doesn't Need Amending, New York Times, December 11, 1995 (Letter to the Editor)
Professional Honors & Activities:
- American Justice Association
- Kentucky Justice Association
- National Employment Lawyers Association
- National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
- Kentucky Bar Association
Presentations & Speeches:
Panelist on First Amendment/free speech aspects of political campaign finance reform on Kentucky Tonight, May 14, 1998, June 21, 1999, and October 4, 2000.
- Supreme Court of Kentucky and its lower courts
- Supreme Court of Colorado and its lower courts
- State Bar of New York
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
- United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky