UK grad argues case at Supreme Court

By Anne Halliwell

ahalliwell@kykernel.com

Not many attorneys get to argue in front of the Supreme Court. It’s considered a top honor, one that a Lexington attorney and UK law school graduate had in December.

Steven Loy, 45, is one of only a handful of attorneys from Lexington who have argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

“It is not an opportunity that is likely to come along again,” said Loy, an Adair County native.

Kentucky lawyer Steven Loy. Photo courtesy of Steven Loy.

Kentucky lawyer Steven Loy. Photo courtesy of Steven Loy.

Loy earned a degree in education in 1991 and graduated from UK law school in 1994. He is currently a member with Stoll, Keenon and Ogden, a full-service law firm that represents clients in cases involving everything from immigration to equine litigation.

A ruling may come in late spring or early summer, which is the normal turnaround for a Supreme Court Case, he said.

Loy argued on the behalf of Lexmark International, Inc. in December. The case, Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., dealt with claims that Lexmark made misrepresentations in connection with its printer cartridge return program, he said.

The case deals mostly with the Lanham Act, he added, a statute of law that involves trademarks and, in this case, false advertising.

Loy said if the case leads to the Lanham Act being interpreted in a way which would make false advertising suits easier to file, companies may be less likely to release information out of fear of being sued.

“Our position was that we want to encourage the free flow of information,” Loy said. “You don’t want businesses to be afraid of putting even true information out there.”

There was a three-way split between the lower circuit courts’ rulings, which Loy said may have contributed to the case’s selection.

Despite the long wait for the ruling, the honor is one that will always be a part of Loy’s career.

The Supreme Court only hears about 80 cases per year, so being a part of one of those cases is a rarity in itself, Loy said.

There are lawyers in Washington, D.C., who train specifically to argue cases for the Supreme Court, Loy said, and often a client will transfer a case to someone in that area if the court agrees to hear it.

Professor Paul Salamanca of the UK College of Law was one of many experts who helped Loy prepare.

Salamanca would ask Loy questions that he was likely to hear in court so “when he got to Washington, if he was lucky, he wouldn’t get any questions he hadn’t had,” he said.

Salamanca worked as a Supreme Court clerk for Justice David Souter from 1990-91, who was replaced by current Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Salamanca said he watched many arguments in the Supreme Court.

Loy’s family went with him to D.C. to hear the case.

“We very much enjoyed it,” said his father, Marshall Loy. Marshall Loy graduated from UK with a law degree in 1966.

“It’s a very high honor for any attorney to appear in front of the Supreme Court,” Marshall Loy said. “We’re very proud of him.”

Loy believes that his career has been marked by this event, as well.

“It was a wonderful experience,” Loy said. “On a personal level, it was challenging, yet the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever done as a lawyer.”