Austin lives downtown Lexington with his wife, Jill Hall, who is also an attorney. They enjoy outdoor activities including skiing, boating, and cycling, and visiting their three children who live in Nashville, Colorado Springs, and Chicago.
Austin is a volunteer board member of the Fayette County Bar Association Foundation, a nonprofit that manages and donates money to various community legal nonprofit organizations to help people in the central Kentucky community.
He authored the published book “Bad Faith Insurance Law in Kentucky,” a book focusing on insurance law and the way insurance companies treated people, sometimes unfairly and in violation of our laws.
Austin has developed a law practice of 36 years, concentrating on representing individuals who have received unfair treatment on insurance claims.
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals
United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky
Bachelor of Science (Cum Laude), Murray State University (1979)
J.D., University of Kentucky College of Law (1983)
$190,000 judgment against Hartford Life and Accident Company in federal court. Hartford wrongfully denied life insurance benefits to a widow after her husband died of cancer (2021).
$15,134,000 judgment in Magoffin County against Greenwich Insurance Company (2018)
$2,634,175 judgment in Bell County against Kentucky National Insurance Company (2011)
$4,394,681 judgment in Kenton County against The Medical Protective Company (2009)
$50,000 judgment in Whitley County against Tennessee Farmers Insurance (2007)
$950,833 judgment in Taylor County against Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company (2006)
$290,842 judgment in Knox County against Hamilton Mutual Insurance Company (2004)
$20,000 judgment in Hardin County against Kentucky National Insurance Company (2004)
$1,030,000 judgment in Lincoln County against Kentucky Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company (2000)
$455,000 judgment in Fayette County against Standard Life Insurance Company & Investors Life Insurance Company of North America (1999)
$1,784,836 judgment in Pike County against Home Insurance Company of Indiana (1998)
*Disclaimer: All judgment amounts listed above were entered by the listed Circuit Courts in the State of Kentucky. However, the amounts do not necessarily reflect a final amount that was received by the Plaintiff(s) in each respective case. The judgment amounts may have (1) increased after attorney’s fees and interest were calculated, (2) decreased following a post-judgment settlement, or (3) altered or vacated following an appeal. The above-mentioned judgment amounts do not constitute a promise for potential case judgements. The judgment amounts are meant only as a sampling of judgments that have been entered in cases involving Mehr, Fairbanks & Peterson Trial Lawyers, PLLC. Judgment results vary from case to case.
Mr. Mehr is frequently asked to lecture on the topic of insurance bad faith in Kentucky. In addition to in-state lectures, he also lectures in other states around the country and out-of-country locations such as Ontario, Canada. Some of Mr.
Mehr’s speaking engagements include:
Northern Kentucky Bar Association, Zooming Thru Continuing Education, Guest Speaker (July 17, 2020)
Perry County Bar Association Guest Speaker (March 4, 2020)
Kentucky Law Update, Lexington, Kentucky (December 6, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Ashland, Kentucky (November 22, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, London, Kentucky (November 1, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Louisville, Kentucky (October 18, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Paducah, Kentucky (October 3, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Bowling Green, Kentucky (September 27, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Covington, Kentucky (September 13, 2019)
Kentucky Law Update, Owensboro, Kentucky (August 30, 2019)
Laurel County Bar Association, Guest Speaker (August 15, 2019)
National Business Institute, Advanced Insurance Bad Faith Speaker, Louisville, Kentucky (May 23, 2019)
National Business Institute, Advanced Insurance Bad Faith Speaker, Lexington, Kentucky (May 21, 2019)
McCracken County Bar Association, Guest Speaker (May 20, 2019)
Daviess County Bar Association, Guest Speaker (April 18, 2019)
Perry County Bar Association, Guest Speaker (April 17, 2019)
Jessamine County Bar Association, Guest Speaker (March 12, 2019)
University of Kentucky Trial Advocacy Board Awards Banquet (April 16, 2013)
Bad Faith Seminar in South Dakota (April 14-15, 2013)
2012 Bad Faith Lectures to Bar Associations in Bell County, Boyd County, Laurel County, and Jefferson County (2012)
ERISA Long Term Disability Claims: Administrative Appeals through Litigation, Kentucky Justice Association (June 2008)
Insurance Issues in Consumer Law , University of Kentucky CLE (September 2004)
National Business Institute (February 2003)
State Farm v. Campbell, “It’s not as bad as it sounds” (June 2003)
Punitive damages after State Farm v. Campbell ( October 2003)
Punitive damages after State Farm v. Campbell (December 2003)
Punitive damages after State Farm v. Campbell, KATA New Orleans seminar (2003)
Insurance Bad Faith Claims in Kentucky , Lorman Education Services (January 2002)
Evidence of Other Bad Acts To Support Punitive Damages After BMW v. Gore. How To Handle The Cries Of “Prejudice” Before The Trial And The Cries Of “Unsupported By The Evidence” After The Verdict, Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys (June 2002)
Proving Damages, Fayette County CLE , Lexington, Kentucky, (June 2002)
Bad Faith Law – Avoiding the Pitfalls and Preparing for Litigation, Louisville Bar Association (May 2001)
Chaired KATA’s Professional Negligence seminar (June 5, 1998)
Tips on the Trial of Bad Faith Cases, ATLA annual convention, Washington, DC (July 1998)
Chaired Insurance Law/Bad Faith Seminar (June 13, 1997)
Patient Abuse in Psychiatric Hospitals, ATLA’s Litigation at Sunrise (July 21, 1997)
Chaired Insurance Law Dinner Meeting and Seminar (August 9, 1996)
Chaired Personal Injury Seminar (July 1995)
Litigating the Legal Malpractice Case, Fayette County Bar Association (December 1993)
Bad Faith Insurance Law in Kentucky (2001)
"Was Removal Proper Under ERISA? Why a Motion to Remand May Be Appropriate," The Kentucky Justice Association, The Advocate (March/April 2008)
"Bad Faith Verdicts and Appeals – What Are Your Chances?," The Advocate (2009)
"Defeating Summary Judgment Motions in Bad Faith Cases – the Power of Inference," The Kentucky Justice Association, The Advocate (November/December 2007)
"Admissibility of Litigation Conduct in a Bad Faith Trial," The Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, The Advocate (March/April 2007)
"ERISA Preemption? Maybe, Maybe Not! Analysis of the Safe Harbor Provisions," The Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, The Advocate (March/April 2006)
"Grange Mutual Ins. Co. v. Trude, A Change in the Landscape of Discovery for Bad Faith Cases," The Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, The Advocate (March/April 2005)
“The Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act Gives Workers’ Compensation a Warm Hug – Welcome to the Real World” (1999)
"How to Practice a Third Party Bad Faith Case," Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys (May 1999)
"Bad Faith Litigation in Kentucky (Co-Author)," National Business Institute (1997)
Recent Cases - Bad Faith
Bituminous Cas. Corp. v. Estate of Bramble, 2014 Ky. App. LEXIS 28 (Ky. Ct. App. 2014)
Gale v. Liberty Bell Agency, 539 Fed. Appx. 688 (6th Cir. 2013) (summary judgment for the defendant was affirmed)
Riley v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 855 F. Supp. 2d 662 (W.D.Ky. 2012)
Ryan v. Discover Prop. & Cas., Ins. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115701 (W.D.Ky. 2012) (defendant’s motion for summary judgment granted in part and denied in part)
Powell v. Cherokee Ins. Co., 476 Fed. Appx. 77 (6th Cir. 2012)
PAL Oil, LLC v. United Am. Energy, LLC, 2012 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 794 (Ky. Ct. App. 2012)
Pemberton v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24939 (E.D.Ky. 2011)
Oakes v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7417 (W.D.Ky. 2008)
Oakes v. Countryway Ins. Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41274 (W.D.Ky. 2008)
Hamilton Mut. Ins. Co. v. Barnett, 2008 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 71 (Ky. Ct. App. 2008)
Tenn. Farmers Mut. Ins. Co. v. Jones, 2008 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 19 (Ky. Ct. App. 2008)
Geiger v. Westfield Nat’l Ins. Co., 2008-Ohio-6904 (Ohio Ct. App. 2008)
Hamilton Mut. Ins. Co. v. Buttery, 220 S.W.3d 287 (Ky. Ct. App. 2007)
Phelps v. UNUM Provident Corp., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 71020 (W.D.Ky. 2006) (summary judgment granted to plaintiff on the contract claim and the bad faith claims dismissed) (upheld by the 6th Circuit in Phelps v. UNUM Provident Corp., 245 Fed. Appx. 482 (6th Cir. 2007))
Knotts v. Zurich Ins. Co., 197 S.W.3d 512 (Ky. 2006) (amicus brief)
Hamilton Mut. Ins. Co. v. George, 2006 Ky. Unpub. LEXIS 7 (Ky. 2006) (affirmed discovery items upheld in Grange)
Hall v. MLS Nat’l Med. Evaluations, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57965 (E.D.Ky. 2006) (defendant’s summary judgment motion denied in part and granted in part. Summary judgment was denied regarding Plaintiff’s Bad Faith claim) (defendant’s second summary judgment motion on a different issue was also denied in Hall v. MLS Nat’l Med. Evaluations, Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72854)
Hartley v. GEICO Cas. Co., 2006 WL 2786929 (Ky. Ct. App. 2006) (bad faith claim dismissed)
Shepherd v. UNUMProvident Corp., 381 F. Supp. 2d 608 (E.D.Ky. 2005)
Ky. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Rodgers, 179 S.W.3d 815 (Ky. 2005)
Wright v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 32049 (E.D.Ky. 2004)
Grange Mut. Ins. Co. v. Trude, 151 S.W.3d 803 (Ky. 2004)
Cobb King v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 54 Fed. Appx. 833 (6th Cir. 2003)
Guaranty Nat’l Ins. Co. v. George, 953 S.W.2d 946, 947 (Ky. 1997)
Recent Cases - ERISA
O’Bryan v. Consol Energy, Inc., 477 Fed. Appx. 306 (6th Cir. 2012) (Plaintiff’s motions to alter to remand and t reverse judgment in favor of defendants on his claim for additional salary continuance benefits was denied).
Oliver v. Sun Life Fin. Distribs., 2010 Ky. App. Unpub. LEXIS 298 (Ky. Ct. App. 2010) (court found Plaintiff was not entitled to benefits).
Tinsley v. Conn. Gen. Life Ins. Co., 744 F. Supp. 2d 637 (W.D. Ky.2010).
Bailey v. Minn. Life Ins. Co., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24666 (E.D.Ky. 2009).
Roubal v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 33081 (W.D.Ky. 2009)(attorney’s fees, costs, and prejudgment interest awarded in Roubal v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72330 (W.D.Ky. 2009)).
Pemberton v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47394 (E.D.Ky. 2008) (also a bad faith case).
Perrin v. Hartford Life Ins. Co., 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53065 (E.D.Ky. 2008) (also a bad faith case).
Hays v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co., 623 F. Supp. 2d 840 (E.D.Ky. 2008) (Plaintiff’s motion for discovery was granted).
Perrin v. Hartford Life Ins. Co., 616 F. Supp. 2d 652 (E.D.Ky. 2007).
Fleetwood Enters. v. Taylor, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 74802 (W.D.Ky. 2007).
Queen v. Dobson Power Line Const. Co., 414 F. Supp. 2d 676 (E.D.Ky. 2006) (the court found ERISA inapplicable and remanded the case to state court).
Brooking v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 167 Fed. Appx. 544 (6th Cir. 2006).
Oliver v. Sun Life Assur. Co., 417 F. Supp. 2d 865 (W.D.Ky. 2005) (Employer argued ERISA applied but employee’s argument that ERISA was inapplicable was upheld).
Adkins v. Life Ins. Co. of N. Am., 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28229 (E.D.Ky. 2005) (bad faith and UCSPA claims dismissed; ERISA applied).