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[Article: Salyersville Independent –]

SALYERSVILLE – A Magoffin County jury made the largest bad faith judgment in Magoffin County’s history on Friday, awarding a family over $15 million in an 11-year-old civil case.

Just as a brief synopsis, and at the risk of missing something pertinent in the long and detailed case, around 2003 or 2004 J.D. Carty Resources reportedly drilled a natural gas well where they had not been given the rights. Those rights belonged to the heirs of Ben and Lillian Salyer, who had signed the deed to mineral rights 100 years ago. The well was beyond successful, producing $1.3 million worth of natural gas, even at one point having to evacuate the area around it on Stinson Creek (on Patton Fork). However, the family still hasn’t seen the first dime of the money.


In his decision back in April, U.S. District Judge David L. Bunning declined to dismiss former members of St. Elizabeth Medical Center Employees’ Pension Plan Administrative Committee from an Employee Retirement Income Security Act breach-of-fiduciary-duty claim that the plan had not been properly funded.

On Friday, October 5, 2018, Judge Bunning once again rejected the former administrative committee members’ attempts to be dismissed from the case and denied their motion for reconsideration.

Arguing that the Judge’s April order was in conflict with Duncan v. Muzyn, a Sixth Circuit Court decision where it was found that the plaintiff in the case hadn’t alleged any “more than a hypothetical loss of expected benefits,” and based thereon, dismissed the plan management team from the claim.


On October 4, 2018, a Kentucky jury found against defendant, Greenwich Insurance Co. in favor of dozens of heirs of Ben and Lillian Salyer, plaintiffs. The case arose from JD Carty and other companies insured by Greenwich for trespassing on land owned by the Salyer’s, building roads and drilling wells to access natural gas under the land for several years.

The jury determined that Greenwich acted in bad faith by refusing to settle claims in the matter. The jury awarded plaintiffs $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Having found that Greenwich committed multiple violations of Kentucky’s Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, the jury awarded a total of $834,000 in anxiety and mental anguish damages to plaintiffs, plus $14.3 million in punitive damages.


Austin Mehr will be in Bowling Green on Thursday, January 12, 2017, to speak to the Warren County Bar Association regarding insurance bad faith. Austin’s insurance bad faith seminar will be held at 440 Main Restaurant located at 440 E. Main Street, Bowling Green, Kentucky, beginning at 11:00 a.m. CST.

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