Elizabeth M. Bass

Member
Member

Phone: 615-919-9090
Fax: 859-219-9292
Email: E-mail Me

Ms. Bass joined Richardson Law Group, PLLC, in 2013. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, Ms. Bass studied philosophy at Transylvania University before graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 2008.  Her areas of practice include insurance defense, coverage, construction, trucking and motor vehicle liability, agriculture, product liability, and premises liability.  As a former staff attorney for the Kentucky Court of Appeals, Ms. Bass brings a unique perspective on effective appellate advocacy to her practice. She has successfully defended clients in a wide variety of legal matters, and is particularly skilled in her motion practice, which enables her to narrow the issues and evidence presented at trial and frequently results in dismissal of all claims against her clients.  


Professional Experience
Member, Richardson Law Group, PLLC, Lexington, Kentucky, December 2018 - Present
Associate, Walters Richardson, PLLC, Lexington, Kentucky  2013 - November 2018
Staff Attorney, Chief Judge Glenn E. Acree, Kentucky Court of Appeals, Lexington, Kentucky
Law Clerk, Judge Thomas D. Wingate, Franklin Circuit Court, Frankfort, Kentucky

Education
University of Kentucky, College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky, Juris Doctor, May 2008
Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, summa cum laude, May 2004 

Bar Admissions
State of Tennessee
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
Commonwealth of Kentucky
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

Notable Service and Achievements
Transportation Lawyers Association, Member
Tennessee Trucking Association, Allied Member
Tennessee Fuel & Convenience Store Association, Affiliate Member
Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, Member
Communications and Publications Committee of the Kentucky Bar Association, Member
Central Kentucky Inn of Court, Barrister, 2013-2017
Leadership Kentucky, Graduate
Journal of Natural Resources and Environmental Law, University of Kentucky College of Law, Staff Member

Representative Matters

February, 2024, Kentucky Court of Appeals: Arnold, et al. v. Mediport, LLC, et al., Case No. 2022-CA-0078-MR. Mr. Arnold experienced cardiac arrest at an extreme foot race event held at the Kentucky Horse Park. His wife filed a wrongful death action against Mediport, LLC, the entity retained by event organizers to provide first aid and EMT services to participants. Mrs. Arnold further sought a declaration that the auto liability policy issued by Westfield Insurance Company to Mediport provided coverage for the wrongful death claim. She argued that the Mediport vans were not equipped with necessary medical equipment and that the medical technician was unable to open the rear door of the van to access a backboard, resulting in a delay in Mr. Arnold’s treatment. She claimed these issues concerned “use, operation, or maintenance” of the vehicle, which brought it within the policy’s insuring provision.  On Behalf of Westfield, Elizabeth Bass and Zach Epperson argued that the Westfield policy did not provide coverage because the claims did not arise out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of a covered automobile. The Scott Circuit Court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of Westfield. The ruling survived a motion to alter, amend or vacate, and was affirmed by the Kentucky Court of Appeals. 

December 2023, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky: Westfield Insurance Co. v. Kentuckiana Commercial Concrete, LLC and Doster Commercial Construction, Inc., No. 3:20-cv-639.  On behalf of Westfield Insurance Company, Elizabeth filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, seeking a declaration that the insurer had no duty under a Commercial General Liability policy of insurance to defend or indemnify its named insured, a concrete subcontractor, or a purported additional insured, the general contractor, related to alleged defects in the construction of student housing developments in Louisville, Kentucky.  Elizabeth filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings.  In its opinion granting the motion, the Court relied on Kentucky precedent which states faulty workmanship is not an “occurrence.”   The Court rejected the defendants’ argument that allegations of design defects removed the construction from the control of the subcontractor and the contractor, rendering it accidental and therefore an “occurrence” for purposes of CGL coverage.

October 2023, Circuit Court for Madison County (Tennessee): Roberts v. Kentucky National Insurance Company, et al.  Plaintiffs brought suit against their insurer for alleged breach of duties under a homeowners policy of insurance following a burst pipe and ensuing water damage to their home.  The Complaint included claims of breach of contract and insurance fraud; sought punitive damages, treble damages, and attorney fees; and asked the Court to appoint an umpire to conclude the policy’s appraisal procedures.  Elizabeth filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, as the Complaint did not aver that the Plaintiffs had completed the appraisal process, a prerequisite to filing suit against the insurer; the insurance fraud statutes do not apply to representations made by or on behalf of an insurer; and the only damages available for an insurer’s bad faith failure to pay an insurance claim are limited to those found in T.C.A. § 56-8-113 and T.C.A. § 56-7-105(a).  The Court agreed, and the suit was dismissed.

September 2023, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of KentuckyRebecca Thorpe v. Board of Education of Powell County, Kentucky, et al. Melissa Richardson, Elizabeth Bass, and Zack Turpin obtained summary judgment for their clients, a Board of Education, a Superintendent, and a High School Principal, after a former employee filed a Complaint alleging wrongful termination in violation of the First Amendment, her right to Due Process, and the Kentucky Constitution. While the Plaintiff alleged she was terminated for attending a political rally, Defendants maintained she was terminated due to repeated unexcused absences and multiple instances of insubordination. In granting summary judgment for the Defendants, the Court reasoned that because Plaintiff failed to provide any evidence of a causal link between her attendance at the political rally and her termination, she could not maintain her First Amendment claim. The Court also reasoned that because Plaintiff was a non-tenured employee employed pursuant to a one-year contract, she had no continued property interest in her employment, and could not maintain a Due Process claim. Finally, the Court held that because Kentucky does not recognize the right to recover money damages for a violation of the state’s Constitution, and because Plaintiff did not seek injunctive relief or plead reinstatement as a form of relief, her claims alleging violations of the Kentucky Constitution also failed as a matter of law.

March 2022, Kentucky Court of Appeals: Christopher Wallace v. Grange Insurance Company, No. 2021-CA-0715.  Mr. Wallace sought Uninsured Motorist (“UM”) benefits under a policy of insurance issued to his employer.  He argued that because Grange was unable to locate a signed rejection of UM coverage, Grange owed UM coverage up to the liability limits, which were $1 million.  Furthermore, because there were two vehicles listed on the policy, Mr. Wallace argued the UM coverage should stack, resulting in a total of $2 million in available UM limits.  On behalf of Grange, Elizabeth argued that pursuant to statutory authority and case law, the UM limits owed were the minimum liability limits established by the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act, $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident, and that the UM limits did not stack both because Mr. Wallace was a second-class insured and because separate premiums had not been paid for UM coverage for the two vehicles listed on the policy (in fact, no premiums for UM coverage had been paid).  Both the Warren Circuit Court and the Kentucky Court of Appeals agreed with Elizabeth, and it was ultimately held that Mr. Wallace was entitled to only $25,000 in UM coverage.

May 2021, U.S. District Court for the Western District of KentuckyWestfield National Insurance Company v. Quest Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Case No. 5:91-cv-00083, affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in January 2023.  Quest Pharmaceuticals sought insurance coverage under a Commercial General Liability policy issued by Westfield for claims asserted in over forty lawsuits by various municipal entities for its alleged role in the opioid epidemic.  The municipal plaintiffs sought to recover economic costs incurred due to Quest’s allegedly improper distribution of opioids.  On behalf of Westfield before the U.S. District Court, Elizabeth argued that Westfield owed no duty of defense or indemnity to Quest because the underlying plaintiffs were not seeking damages because of bodily injury.  The Court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of Westfield.  The ruling survived a motion to alter, amend, or vacate, and was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit on appeal.

February 2020, Shelby County (Tennessee) Court of General Sessions:  State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, as subrogee of Rebecca Baggett v. Alleana K. Marshall, No. 2001489.  James Sager and Alleana Marshall were involved in a motor vehicle accident in Memphis, Tennessee.  State Farm, which insured the vehicle Mr. Sager was driving, concluded Ms. Marshall was at fault for the accident, paid the property damage claim, and filed suit against Ms. Marshall to recover the cost of vehicle repairs.  In a bench trial (while eight months pregnant), Elizabeth persuaded the Judge that Ms. Marshall had established her position in the intersection while she had a green light and took all reasonable precautions to avoid an accident after traffic unexpectedly stopped the light turned red while she remained in the intersection.  The court was further persuaded that Mr. Sager proceeded into the intersection despite having a partially obstructed line of sight for his intended path of travel and that he was at fault for the accident.  Judgment was entered in favor of Ms. Marshall. 

September 2019, Warren District Court (Kentucky): Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, a/s/o Samir Silahic, v. Zachary Gibbs, No. 19-C-00480.  While backing out of his driveway, Zachary Gibbs was struck by a vehicle driven by Kadira Silahic, who was driving on the wrong side of the road.  Ms. Silahic’s insurer, Kentucky Farm Bureau, determined the accident was Mr. Gibbs’ fault, paid the property damage claim, and filed suit against Mr. Gibbs, seeking to recover the cost of repairs to the vehicle.  Elizabeth persuaded a jury that Mr. Gibbs in no way caused or contributed to the accident, and a defense verdict was returned.

August 2019, Supreme Court of Kentucky: Lewis v. Shackelford, et al. Melissa Richardson and Elizabeth Bass wrote an amicus curiae brief on behalf of Kentucky Defense Counsel in support of Defendants, King’s Daughters Medical Center and Dr. Paul Lewis, which assisted in securing a reversal in favor of Defendants. In 2010, Shackelford had a cerebral angiogram performed by Dr. Lewis at KDMC. Immediately after the angiogram, Shackelford exhibited no signs or symptoms that would suggest there were any complications with the angiogram. Later in the recovery room, Mr. Shackelford complained of a headache, which eventually resolved.  He was released home. Shackelford returned to the emergency room the next day after reportedly becoming disoriented at his home. An MRI indicated Shackelford had recently suffered a stroke.  Shackelford filed suit in Boyd Circuit Court alleging medical malpractice due to Dr. Lewis’s alleged failure to examine and diagnose the stroke after the angiogram.  Shackelford did not produce any expert opinions stating there was anything Dr. Lewis could have done to prevent the stroke or that Dr. Lewis should have anticipated that Shackelford would suffer a stroke based on his symptoms immediately following the angiogram. KDMC and Dr. Lewis filed motions for summary judgment, which were granted by the Circuit Court. The Kentucky Court of Appeals reversed, and relying on res ipsa loquator, concluded that causation did not require expert medical testimony. The Supreme Court, on discretionary review, reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision.  Instead, the Supreme Court determined expert proof was needed to pursue the claim.  Accordingly, Dr. Lewis and KDMC were entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law.

July 2019, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee: Unique Insurance Company v. Julio Cesar Aguilar Perez and Susan Fuller, No. 1:18:cv-00040.  Elizabeth obtained a declaratory judgment which stated an auto liability insurance policy’s criminal acts exclusion barred coverage for an accident caused by the named insured’s driving while intoxicated and which enforced the policy’s punitive damages exclusion.  The opinion has been described in recent editions of Tennessee Automobile Liability Insurance as “the only opinion dealing with the issue” of whether punitive damages exclusions in auto liability policies are enforceable under Tennessee law.

January 2018, U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky:  Pharmacists Mutual Insurance Company v. Omar Coley, No. 5:17-cv-00046-TBR.  Mr. Coley sought uninsured motorist coverage under a policy issued to his employer, claiming an unidentifiable piece of metal had struck his vehicle while he was making a delivery in the course of his employment.  His claim gave rise to several issues of fact and law, including choice-of-law and substantive issues of contract interpretation.  A declaratory judgment action was filed on behalf of Pharmacists Mutual seeking a declaration of its obligations under the insurance policy.  After conducting discovery, Ms. Bass drafted a motion for summary judgment arguing there was no coverage for Mr. Coley’s claims.  Rather than filing a response to the motion, opposing counsel offered to enter an agreed judgment granting the relief sought by Pharmacists Mutual.

January 2018, Barren Circuit Court: Endicott v. Knight’s Mechanical, et al, No. 16-CI-00252.  Mr. Endicott was at work when an overhead pipe fell, ricocheted off the floor, and struck him in the head.  He and his wife brought suit against the subcontractor responsible for removing the pipe, Knight’s Mechanical, and the contractor, Gray Construction.  On behalf of Gray Construction, Ms. Bass filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the contractor had no liability in tort or contract.  Rather than filing a response to the motion, opposing counsel voluntarily dismissed the claims against Gray Construction

November 2017, Kentucky Court of Appeals:  Kendall v. Ralphie’s Fun Center, A/K/A Ralphie’s Properties, LLC. Ms. Kendall slipped and fell while bowling, fracturing her wrist.  She alleged the bowling alley had negligently applied oil to the lane on which she was bowling and failed to post adequate warnings about the hazard presented by the oil.  She and her attorney speculated that lane grease had bled past the foul line but presented no affirmative proof. The trial judge entered summary judgment after finding the Plaintiff had failed to sustain her burden of proof regarding causation. Plaintiff appealed. Her brief identified circumstantial evidence that she claimed supported her theory of causation.  The brief for the bowling alley responded with meticulous discussion of the trial court's record and relevant precedent.  In an opinion that in large part adopted the rationale presented the appellee's brief, the appellate court ruled the Plaintiff had failed to meet her burden of proof regarding causation.  Summary judgment was affirmed.

April 2015, Fayette Circuit Court: White v. Boyd, M.D., on December 3, 2012, Dr. Boyd turned onto the wrong side of Man O War Blvd, and caused an accident with an oncoming vehicle in which Plaintiff was a passenger.  Dr. Boyd failed all field sobriety tests at the scene and was found to have a .164 BAC an hour and a half after the accident.  Dr. Boyd ultimately pled guilty to DUI, Assault 2nd, and Wanton Endangerment.  As a result of this accident, her medical license was investigated and subsequently suspended. The driver of the other vehicle settled for policy limits of $100,000 almost immediately.  Passenger had no notable injury but was offered policy limits of $100,000 as well, but declined and instead brought suit.  Plaintiff sought over 2 million in compensatory damages and 2 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff’s witnesses were all impeached on a number of issues.  Most notably was the complete recantation of Dr. Crystal with respect to his vocation and impairment to earn opinions.  Ultimately Dr. Crystal—after testifying that he reviewed and relied on the medical records of the Plaintiff—testified that he was not qualified to interpret any of the medical records.  The jury was visibly and audibly astonished at his response. Nearly two and a half years later, Plaintiff proceeded to trial.  After three days of testimony, Plaintiff requested to take policy limits that had been offered pre-suit.  As a result, the case was resolved just prior to the completion of the Defendant’s proof.

October 2014, Jessamine Circuit Court: Brenner v. Price, No. 12-CI-00140, 2012.  Plaintiff initially claimed orthopedic injury; then, one year later, began claiming a traumatic brain injury. Plaintiff made a six-figure settlement demand shortly before trial. Ms. Bass prepared extensive motions in limine and Daubert challenges, which preserved the record and effectively narrowed the Plaintiff’s options at trial. Ultimately, the Plaintiff agreed to a four-figure settlement the day before trial.
 

Location: 
Nashville Area Office