LFUCG has until Halloween to respond to The UK Five Lawsuits. Here’s their most likely choice of attorney

UPDATE: Looks like Chief Lawrence Weathers and others were served on October 10, which means LFUCG must respond by Halloween. Spoooky!

Original story: Last month, five UK football players filed a blockbuster federal civil rights lawsuit against two Lexington Police Department detectives, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers, and LFUCG for malicious prosecution, fabrication of false evidence, supervisory liability, failure to intervene, conspiracy to deprive constitutional rights, negligent supervision, defamation, respondeat superior, and negligent hiring under state law. The players allege that LPD framed them on felony charges and the lead detective, an alleged University of Louisville grad, announced them on SEC Media Day with the intent to humiliate them.

The players hired a legal heavyweight to fight for them in court, so we decided to pull the city’s recent financial transactions to see who they’ve paid legal fees to in the past, in the hopes that it might shed some light on who they might use in this case.

The most likely candidate from what we can tell: Kriz, Jenkins, Prewitt & Jones (KJPJL). KJPJL represented the City against civil rights activist James Woodhead’s wrongful arrest lawsuit [Woodhead v. Ridener, Civil Action 5: 21-189-DCR (E.D. Ky. Sep. 8, 2021)], with the city paying them $20,288.65 in legal fees on the case in 2022. The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

KJPJL has a history of representing Central Kentucky governments against civil rights lawsuits. According to their web site:

KJPJ Law has extensive experience representing government entities and individuals in the Central Kentucky Region in section 1983 lawsuits, including representation of police officers, detention center personnel, city officials, and others. We are well-versed in issues these cases present, including issues of governmental and qualified immunity.

City faces deadline to respond

According to a practicing attorney, the City and the other defendants must respond to the lawsuit by next Thursday, October 13. This will definitely be a touchy subject with the local election coming up in a few short weeks, as well–the football team is very popular and successful right now, so if KJPJL is too harsh or inflammatory in their response, it could draw the ire of voters.

One option the City has to get out of responding is to settle the case, but that would likely entail a large compensatory payout to their victims, among other things.

If they choose to fight it instead, then they will have to start paying out large legal fees on the case, which are public record.

Fighting a blockbuster civil rights lawsuit isn’t cheap, but neither is settling one. Only time will tell if the Gorton Administration chooses damage control here, or if they decide to tackle this head-on.