Stephen G. Amato

Stephen G. Amato

Lexington, Kentucky

Mr. Amato has practiced law throughout Kentucky since his graduation from the University of Kentucky College of Law in 1990. He has been nominated and identified in Kentucky Super Lawyers® for six consecutive years, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

His practice is diverse, focusing on civil litigation and administrative law. His litigation practice is focused primarily on employment law, representing employers in all state and federal trial courts, state and local administrative agencies, and throughout the respective courts of appeal. Employment-related issues with which Mr. Amato has particular experience include, the enforcement of no-compete agreements, the investigation and defense of discrimination claims, and the negotiation and enforcement of severance agreements.

In addition, Mr. Amato has significant litigation experience in governmental entity defense, including specific experience in defending local governments, governmental agencies and government officials in connection with claims brought against them under both state and federal law, including § 1983, negligence claims, and state constitutional claims, for alleged deliberate indifference to medical needs, excessive force claims, negligence claims and employment claims.

Mr. Amato's administrative practice focuses extensively in the area of alcoholic beverage regulation, primarily representing the interests of alcoholic beverage retailers and distributors in connection with licensing and enforcement issues at both the state and local levels.

Representative Cases

  • DRI members Stephen G. Amato and Benjamin L. Riddle successfully secured a summary judgment in favor of the Grant County Detention Center and its elected jailer in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on March 18, 2010. Three plaintiffs brought an action under Title 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the treatment at the detention center violated the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution by denying inmates access to lawfully prescribed psychotropic drugs and narcotic pain medication during incarceration.
  • Stephen G. Amato, Jaron P. Blandford and W. Chapman Hopkins, recently concluded a five-day trial in a complex Will contest action that resulted in a verdict in favor of our client in Estill Circuit Court. The case involved nearly three years of litigation regarding the validity of two competing wills for an estate valued at over $800,000.00. Our client, as Plaintiff in the action, sought to enforce a prior Will in her favor as against a later Will recorded shortly before her death. The Defendants claimed that the prior Will, in favor of our client was procured by undue influences and sought to uphold their later-recorded Will, leaving nothing to our client. After six hours of deliberation, at approximately midnight on the fifth day of trial the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, unanimously upholding the validity of our client's Will against the Defendants' claims of undue influence, and finding that the later-recorded Will was invalid due to lack of mental capacity of the testatrix at the time of execution. As a result of the jury's findings, our client was awarded the entire estate, with Defendants taking nothing.


Areas of Practice

  • Litigation
  • Employment Law
  • Arbitration and Mediation
  • Administrative Law- Alcoholic Beverage Regulation
  • Estate Administration

Bar Admissions

  • Kentucky, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Kentucky, 1990
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Kentucky, 1990
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 6th Circuit, 1993


  • University of Kentucky College of Law, Lexington, Kentucky
    • J.D. - 1990
    • Law Journal: Kentucky Law Journal, Associate Editor, 1989 - 1990
  • Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky
    • B.A. - 1987
    • Honors: Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society
    • Major: History

Published Works

  • Bourbon's return to Lexington overcame a bureaucratic tangle, Business Lexington, October 12, 2012

Representative Cases

Representative Clients

  • The Office of the Fayette County Sheriff
  • Kentucky Eagle Beer
  • Kentucky Malt Beverage Counsel
  • Community Action Council
  • BBB of Central Kentucky
  • Alltech Beverage Division, LLC


  • Advanced Trial Tactics, MBI, 2010
  • Employment Policies and Procedures: A Critical Legal Update for Employers, McBrayer, McGinnis, Leslie & Kirkland Client Seminar, 2009, 2012
  • Depositions A-Z, NBI, 2007, 2011
  • Annual Ethics CLE, Fayette County Bar Association, 2007

Honors and Awards

  • Kentucky Super Lawyers®, 2007 - 2012
  • AV Rating by Martindale Hubbell
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2013

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Fayette County Bar Admission, Civil Litigation Section
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Civil Litigation and Mediation Sections
  • Mediation Center of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, Former Board Chair
  • Defense Research Institute, Governmental Liability Section, Member
  • Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
  • Lexington History Museum, Lexington, Kentucky, Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation, Lexington, Kentucky, Former Board President

Pro Bono Activities

  • Volunteer Fayette County Pro Bono Association Program


  • Phi Delta Phi