James Kelly Ratliff

Partner

Kelly concentrates his practice on representing blasters, blasting companies, and explosives manufacturers throughout the United States in the mining, construction, demolition, and aggregate industries. He defends lawsuits through trial, challenges administrative actions, and works with his clients to improve their risk management and liability prevention. Kelly is an involved member of industry organizations, including the International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE), and is ISEE-certified. Working with some of the best in the blasting industry, Kelly has developed a technical proficiency that enables him to better represent clients. He is familiar with blasting procedures and regulations, understands the scientific principles involved, and is able to read and understand shot reports and seismograph readings. As a result, he is able to accurately assess potential exposure, to communicate more effectively with clients, regulators, and consultants, and to establish credibility with jurors.

Kelly has substantial experience defending blasting clients in lawsuits concerning various claims, including property damage claims; multi-property claims concerning quarry, surface mining, and construction operations; water well claims; landslide and subsidence claims; and personal injury and wrongful death cases. He has tried several cases to verdict and mediated hundreds of claims. He also counsels clients and regularly presents to industry groups around the country on risk management and liability prevention practices, from implementing standard operating procedures and proper recordkeeping, to responding to citizen complaints and investigating claims.

Kelly’s practice and litigation experience also include defending motor carriers and drivers against wrongful death and personal injury claims.

Professional Details

Case Decisions

Presentations & Articles

Affiliations

  • International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE), member and ISEE certified in Practical Blasting Fundamentals
  • Kentucky Crushed Stone Association (KCSA)
  • Ohio Aggregates & Industrial Minerals Association (OAIMA)
  • Indiana Mineral Aggregates Association (IMAA)
  • Kentucky, Ohio State, Northern Kentucky, and Cincinnati Bar Associations

Education

  • J.D., Salmon P. Chase College of Law
  • B.B.A., Morehead State University

Specialized Training and Experience

  • Practical Blasting Fundamentals ISEE Certification
  • National Institute for Trial Advocacy Trial Advocacy Institute
  • Trucking Industry Defense Association Cargo & Skills Course Seminars

Admissions

  • Kentucky
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio
  • Shepherd v. Dyno Nobel, Inc., Floyd County, Ky. Circuit Court No. 12-CI-488: Defense verdict at jury trial of plaintiff’s claims alleging damage to her home and water well from mining and blasting operations. (2016)
  •  Ortiz v. Oxford Mining Co., Muhlenberg County, Ky. Circuit Court No. 13-CI-00012: Directed verdict in favor of defendants at jury trial of plaintiffs’ claims alleging property damage from nearby mining and blasting operations. (2015)
  •  Anderson v. Armstrong Coal Co., Muhlenberg County, Ky. Circuit Court No. 13-CI-199: Jury trial of plaintiff’s claims alleging property damage from nearby mining and blasting operations that resulted in a hung jury. The case subsequently settled for a nuisance amount significantly less than the pre-trial demand. (2015)
  •  Successfully defended a blasting client and construction client from claims arising from a road construction project in eastern Kentucky that involved more than 60 residential properties and a local school. (2015)
  •  Won dismissal of administrative citations and notices of noncompliance by Kentucky Department of Mine Reclamation and Enforcement and the Kentucky Explosives and Blasting Branch against two blasting clients for alleged violations of Kentucky blasting laws and regulations. (2015)
  •  Hurley v. Pompey Coal Corp. & Virginia Drilling Co., LLC, Pike County, Ky. Circuit Court No. 09-CI-00212: Defense verdict at jury trial of a plaintiff’s claims alleging property damage and loss of enjoyment and use of his property from blasting. (2011)
  • Risk Management in Blasting Operations: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, ISEE 44th Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Techniques (San Antonio, Tx. Jan. 2018)
  • Risk Management in Blasting Operations: Lessons Learned the Hard Way, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Mining Blasting Safety and Application Seminar (Beckley, W.Va. Jan. 2018)
  • Responding to the Inevitable Blast Complaint, 2017 Kentucky Blasting Conference (Lexington, Ky. Dec. 2017)
  • Insurance Claims and How You Can Impact Your Exposure, 18th Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference (State College, PA. Nov. 2017)
  • Protection from Liability: Before, During & After Detonation, 2017 KCSA Safety & Education Spring Seminar (Louisville, Ky. March 2, 2017)
  • Protection from Liability: Before, During & After Detonation, 2017 IAAP Convention (Springfield, IL. February 23, 2017)
  • Blasting Complaints: What to Do (and NOT Do) in Response to Complaints, 2016 Kentucky Blasting Conference (Lexington, Ky. Dec. 9, 2016)
  • Protection from Liability: Before, During & After Detonation, 2016 IMAA Spring Conference (Indianapolis, Ind. Spring 2016)
  • Protection from Liability: Before, During & After Detonation, ISSE 42nd Annual Conference on Explosives and Blasting Technique (Las Vegas, Nev. Feb. 2016)
  •  Protecting Yourself from Liability: Before, During & After the Shot, 17th Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference (State College, Pa. Nov. 2015)
  •  Protecting Yourself from Liability: Before, During & After the Shot, 2015 Illinois Mining Institute Annual Event and Meeting (Marion, Ind. August 2015)
  •  Protecting Yourself from Liability: Before, During & After the Shot, West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Blaster Refresher Training (Charleston, W.Va. 2015)
  •  Investigating & Defending Property Damage Claims, West Virginia Construction & Design Exposition (Charleston, W.Va. Mar. 2015)
  •  Protecting Yourself from Liability: Before, During & After the Shot, Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Mining Blasting Safety and Application Seminar (Beckley, W.Va. 2015)
  • Protecting Yourself from Liability: Before, During & After the Shot, 2014 Kentucky Blasting Conference (Lexington, Ky. Dec. 2014)
  •  Defending Blasting Claims—Blast Records, 16th Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference (State College, Pa. Nov. 2013)
  •  Defending Blasting Claims—Blast Records, 2012 Kentucky Blasting Conference (Lexington, Ky. Dec. 2012)
  •  Defending Blasting Claims, 2011 Ohio Drilling & Blasting Conference (Columbus, Ohio Mar. 2011)

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MRJ Attorneys to Speak at MSHA Mine Blasting Safety and Application Seminar

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MRJ Attorneys to Present at Kentucky Blasting Conference

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Pennsylvania Drilling and Blasting Conference to Feature MRJ Attorneys

On November 17, 2017, MRJ Senior Partner Ralph Burnham and Associate Kelly Ratliff will participate in a panel at the Pennsylvania Drilling …

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