Mike Owsley leading effort to study Kentucky courts
by Mandy Hicks
In U.S. District Courts, nearly every document submitted is done so electronically. In Kentucky state courts, paper is still the only means of filing. Lawsuits must be filed on paper, and paper files are still maintained by court staff.
Attorney Michael A. Owsley of English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP, recently agreed to chair a subcommittee of the Kentucky Civil Rules Committee that will study electronic rules for Kentucky state courts. His sub-committee will make a recommendation to the full rules committee which, in turn, will propose to the Kentucky Supreme Court in 2012 whether the Kentucky courts should follow a similar path as federal courts. His committee also will examine the rules for electronic discovery, which concerns how many and what type of electronic records an individual or entity must keep when it is anticipating a lawsuit.
Owsley is a member of the Rules Committee of the Kentucky Supreme Court, and he is chair of the E-Rules Subcommittee, which will examine electronic filing and electronic discovery in Kentucky. The committee reports to the Kentucky Supreme Court, which, in turn, sets rules for the state court system in Kentucky.
He anticipates that the committee will recommend some type of electronic filing system for Kentucky state courts to be adopted when funding is available. “It’s clearly the way to go,” Owsley says. “In the federal system, electronic filing has greatly reduced the amount of paper the clerks are handling. It has streamlined the process and made handling cases much simpler for all involved.”
Electronic discovery is an even more pressing issue, since the federal courts have adopted rules governing electronic discovery but the state court has not yet adopted any similar rules, Owsley says. “What we want to do is to try to give some sense of order, logic and consistency by which documents are obtained and what has to be produced during discovery,” Owsley says.
The Rules Committee met for the first time in June. The E-Rules Subcommittee is in the process of forming, Owsley says, and will have members of the bar from all over the state.
About Michael Owsley
Mr. Owsley handles complex business litigation for businesses in a wide range of industries, including breach of contract, trade secret, non-competition and business tort claims. He also defends products liability litigation for manufacturers in various fields, including design, manufacturing and marketing issues.
He advises numerous school boards and school districts on education law issues, including student issues, employment disputes and First Amendment matters. Mr. Owsley serves as a mediator and as an arbitrator in matters relating to his areas of practice.
Mr. Owsley is deeply committed to creating a better economic environment in Kentucky. He previously served as president of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, and was chair of the board of the Leadership Kentucky Foundation. He joined the board of directors of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in 2005, and currently serves on the board’s executive committee.
Mr. Owsley received a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Western Kentucky University and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Louisville Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1968.
English Lucas Priest & Owsley LLP, the largest law firm in Southcentral Kentucky, offers business clients and individuals the experience and depth of a large firm and the personal commitment and attention of a small one. For more than 30 years, the firm has worked with clients to develop creative solutions to difficult legal and business problems. The firm is located in Bowling Green, Ky.