Attorney Laura Jane Phelps

Laura Jane has litigated a variety of serious personal injury matters since graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Prior to joining Peterson Law Office, Laura Jane practiced across Eastern Kentucky for Wilhoit Law Office in Grayson, KY which was established by her great-great-great grandfather in 1865. Laura Jane has significant litigation experience in all personal injury matters including wrongful death, nursing home neglect and abuse, trucking collisions, premises liability, car accident, medical malpractice, boundary line and logging disputes, blasting, real estate contract, and constitutional retaliation cases in state and federal courts. Laura Jane argued before the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals as lead counsel on an appeal arising out of federal court where Laura Jane represented a towing company for constitutional retaliation by county government officials under Section 1983. Laura Jane has also represented insurance companies on the defense side and has successful tried cases to jury verdict with one jury rendering a verdict in less than 12 minutes in her client’s favor. As lead counsel, Laura Jane also handled estates, divorces, child custody, domestic violence, wills & trusts, and other matters.

Laura Jane is a passionate advocate for her clients and her experience handling both Plaintiff and Defense matters allows her to strategize her client’s case for a successful outcome.

Admissions

  • Western District of Kentucky, 2023
  • Kentucky, 2019
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 2020
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, 2022

Education

  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky J.D. – May, 2019
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky B.A. – May, 2016

Experience & Honors

  • Planning & Zoning Board, City of Grayson, serving current term
  • Carter County Bar Association, 2019-present
  • Certified Guardian Ad Litem, State of Kentucky
  • Kentucky Justice Association, member, 2019 to present
  • Carter County Teen Court Program, advisor, 2019-present
  • High School Mock Trial Coach, 2019
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Executive Board member, 2018-2019
  • Honors: Pierce Hamblin award for highest grade in Litigation Skills, 2018
  • Honors: Mock Trial Team Executive Board member, UK, 2013 to 2016

Published Decisions

U.S. Court of Appeals- Sixth Circuit 

Lemaster v. Lawrence County, Kentucky, 65 F.4th 302 (6th Cir. 2023). As lead counsel, Laura Jane successfully obtained a reversal for her clients at the 6th Circuit after appealing the dismissal of their §1983 civil rights claim in federal court. The resulting precedent of the Court’s decision lessened the legal burden required of public employees and contractors to prove causation when alleging unconstitutional retaliation by the government under the First Amendment, making it easier for plaintiffs to prove their §1983 retaliation claims.

The Sixth Circuit’s reversal resulted in a confidential six-figure settlement for Laura Jane’s clients prior to trial.

Trial Experience

In her first solo trial, Laura Jane successfully won judgement for her clients against defendant landowners and a timber company for wrongfully logging significant acreage of her client’s property. The bench trial in Lawrence Circuit Court concerned complex issues of real estate title, competing land surveys, and damages resulting from the destruction of plaintiff’s land and the value of the timber defendants removed for profit. The trial court found the plaintiffs were entitled to a declaratory judgement as the true title owners of the land, and that the defendants committed trespass resulting in wrongful logging of the plaintiffs’ property. (2023)

Trial Court Judgements

In a real estate contract dispute alleging fraud and breach of contract, Laura Jane successfully obtained judgement for her clients against the defendant landowner after a title search revealed multiple delinquent tax liens on the property. On summary judgement, the Boyd Circuit Court found the defendant in breach of the real estate agreement after the seller repeatedly failed to close the transaction, remove delinquent tax liens, and provide the plaintiffs with the marketable title to the property. Laura Jane’s clients were awarded liquidated damages, compensatory, damages, costs, and attorney fees under the contract. (2022)

Legal & Firm News

What Are the Elements of Negligence in a Personal Injury Claim?

A lot of personal injury claims can become quite complex early on in the process and one of the main reasons for this is the need to prove negligence. Proving negligence caused an accident can be the deciding factor in the success of some cases, such as in a wrongful death claim, or if the […]

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How Are Noneconomic Damages for Mental Anguish Calculated?

Two assessments occur with any severe accident: Who is at fault, and what will the remedy be for the victim? That reward is where the concept of pain and suffering comes into play. Compensation for an injury encompasses physical and emotional trauma. It is easy to assess the medical expenses, but how are noneconomic damages […]

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The Importance of Safely Restraining Your Pet While Driving

When it comes time to travel on the road, you might want to bring along your pet. While having your dog, cat, or other animals roaming around the vehicle may seem fun, it can pose a great safety risk. Sometimes, animals behave unexpectedly when exposed to other vehicles, the noise of the car, or other […]

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