Deborah Patterson chairs the Firm’s Communications Practice area and is a member of the Litigation & Dispute Resolution Service Team.  She concentrates her Communications practice on such First Amendment issues as defamation and privacy, as well as open meetings and open records.  Ms. Patterson’s Appellate practice spans subject matter, including employment discrimination, constitutional law, contracts, negligence, defamation and open records.

Ms. Patterson chaired the Professional Personnel Recruiting Committee until 2012 and oversaw the Firm’s summer associate program and entry level hiring.  She is currently a member of the Firm’s Diversity Committee.

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  • Department of Revenue v. Wyrick, 323 S.W.3d 710 (Ky. 2010) (clarifying and limiting the “litigation exception” to open records).
  • Beckham v. Board of Education, 873 S.W.2d 575 (Ky. 1993) (Open Records action establishing standing of third parties in open records disputes).
  • Larry Birkhead v. Ashley Judd and Entertainment Tonight, U.S.D.C., W.D. Ky. (2001) (defending allegations of defamation).
  • Board of Education of Bullitt v. Courier-Journal, 22 Media L. Rep. 1661 (Ky. Ct. App. 1994) (upholding newspaper’s right of access to superintendent’s performance evaluations under Open Records Act).
  • Courier-Journal v. Brereton Jones, Kentucky Court of Appeals (1995) (access to Governor’s appointment schedule under Open Records Act).
  • Deasy v. Cosmos Broadcasting, Kentucky Court of Appeals (2000) (affirming summary judgment in favor of WAVE-TV and Nel Taylor on defamation claims).
  • Department of Corrections v. Courier-Journal, 914 S.W.2d 349 (Ky. App. 1996) (upholding judgment granting public access to inmate files under Open Records Act).
  • Explore Information Services v. Transportation Cabinet, Kentucky Court of Appeals (2003) (application of Open Records Act to DVR information in Cabinet’s computer files).
  • Flanagan v. Russell County Newspapers et al., 24 Media L. Rep. 1501 (Ky. App. 1995); cert. denied 519 U.S. 992 (1996) (reversal of $1 million defamation verdict).
  • Isgrigg v. Cosmos Broadcasting, 2002 WL 215995, 30 Media L. Rep. 1331 (S.D. Ind. 2002) (summary judgment in favor of WAVE-TV on defamation claims by Indiana County Surveyor).
  • Jefferson County Police Merit Board v. Timmerman, Kentucky Court of Appeals (1996) (upholding unsuccessful state police applicant’s right of access to investigation records regarding him under Open Records Act).
  • Mineer v. Williams, 82 F. Supp.2d 702 (E.D. Ky. 2000) (judgment for talk show host Montel Williams in false light action).
  • Pippin v. Cosmos Broadcasting, Jefferson Circuit Court (2006) (dismissing claims of defamation against WAVE-TV).
  • Schroering v. Courier-Journal, Kentucky Court of Appeals (1996) cert. denied 520 U.S. 1118 (1997) (upholding summary judgment for newspaper on defamation claims arising out of endorsement editorials and cartoons in judicial election).
  • Stewart v. University of Louisville, Kentucky Court of Appeals (2001) (upholding University’s denial of access to employee’s personal computer e-mail to ex-husband under Kentucky Open Records Act).
  • Ram Engineering v. University of Louisville, 127 S.W.3d 579 (Ky. 2003) (reversing trial court dismissal and awarding contractor $599,425 in breach of contract action against University); 199 S.W.3d 746 (Ky. App. 2005) (affirming trial court award of pre-judgment interest to contractor as element of breach of contract damages under Model Procurement Code).


  • Raycom Media, Inc. and WAVE-TV
  • Gilmore Broadcasting Corporation
  • Media/Professionals Insurance
  • Ram Engineering and Construction, Inc.
  • University of Louisville
  • Jefferson County Board of Education


J.D., with honors, University of Louisville School of Law 1992

  • President, Brandeis Honor Society
  • Senior Editor for Journal of Family Law

Auburn University; Political Science Graduate Program, 1982

B.A., University of Kentucky, 1978




  • Recognized as one of the “Top Lawyers” in the areas of Appellate Law and Media Law by Louisville Magazine, March, 2014
  • Woodward/White’s The Best Lawyers in America® in the area of Media Law 2020-2021


  • Kentucky Bar Association, Litigation Section and Chair of Appellate Advocacy Section
  • American Bar Association, Communications and Litigation Sections
  • Louisville Bar Association
  • Media Law Resource Center: Defense Counsel Member, Employment Law Committee



Ms. Patterson has conducted numerous seminars on Kentucky’s Open Meetings/Open Records laws and training sessions on First Amendment issues in newsgathering.