Brian Butler

Brian Butler

Stites & Harbison, PLLC

Recognized since 2023

Louisville, Kentucky

Practice Areas

Commercial Litigation

Product Liability Litigation - Defendants

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A trial attorney, Brian Butler has tried over 100 jury trials. Most recently, Brian had his own firm where he handled high-profile criminal defense cases, including white collar cases, in United States District Courts in Kentucky and Indiana as well as in state trial courts throughout Kentucky and Indiana. He is intimately familiar with complex federal investigations including those involving corporations and their employees. Before entering private practice, Brian served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky where he prosecuted a variety of federal crimes. Prior to joining the United States Attorney’s Office, Brian was a supervisor at the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office in Louisville where he primarily prosecuted high-profile homicide cases. Brian started his legal career as a United States Navy Judge Advocate where he served as both a prosecutor and defense attorney.

Brian’s success as a trial attorney has been widely-reported including being the subject of a front page profile piece by the Louisville Courier-Journal. He routinely serves as a legal analyst for Louisville television stations and the Louisville Courier-Journal. He served for many years as an adjunct professor for trial advocacy at the University of Louisville and a guest trial advocacy instructor at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina. He has conducted numerous trial focus groups on behalf of civil litigants. In 2021, he was appointed by the federal bench in the Western District of Kentucky to be the Criminal Justice Act panel representative in connection with indigent defendants obtaining quality legal representation in United States District Court.

Reported Decisions

  • Commonwealth v. James Mallory. Mr. Butler was hired by a major American corporation to represent Mr. Mallory in a death penalty case. He was selected as counsel in the first case in the United States in which this corporation assisted a criminal defendant. Mr. Mallory’s case had been pending for nine years without a trial. The case involved complicated forensic science and nearly every hot button criminal justice issue. After a year of litigation, we were able to resolve this death penalty case for reduced charges whereby our client will be released in approximately two to five years.
  • Commonwealth v. English. We represented Mr. English, a security officer, at the request of his employer, Baptist Healthcare. Mr. English was originally charged with assault in the second degree, criminal mischief in the first degree and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree concerning an incident at Baptist Hospital involving an unruly visitor. Mr. English was acquitted of all charges in a jury trial.
  • United States v. Gustin. Mr. Gustin is a former compliance officer for a major pharmaceutical distributor. In a nationally significant case, Mr. Gustin was indicted in the Eastern District of Kentucky for conspiring to illegally distribute controlled substances based upon allegations that Mr. Gustin failed to properly limit the number of controlled substances being distributed to independent pharmacies in Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. The conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking was dismissed by the Government in exchange for a misdemeanor plea to failing to file a suspicious order report. Mr. Gustin was sentenced to two years of misdemeanor probation.
  • Commonwealth v. Runner. Mr. Runner was charged with manslaughter in connection with an alleged road rage homicide. The case was resolved for diversion.
  • Commonwealth v. Dominick Mack. In a high profile case, Mr. Mack was charged with violating an EPO in connection with possessing a firearm during a shooting at a Louisville Waffle House. He received misdemeanor probation.
  • Commonwealth v. Brian Bailey. In an investigation that received significant local and some national media attention, our client, a former LMPD detective, was investigated for allegedly coercing confidential informants to engage in sexual acts. No charges were brought against our client.
  • Commonwealth v. Bobby Taylor. Mr. Taylor was charged with numerous sex offenses allegedly involving a fourteen year old girl. The case was favorably resolved for probation and without any requirement of sex offender registration.
  • Commonwealth v. Robbie Valentine. Mr. Valentine, a member of the University of Louisville’s 1986 National Championship team and a well-known community leader, was charged with the felony offense of strangulation. The charge was amended to a misdemeanor with an agreement to expunge the case in two years.
  • United States v. Troy Guinn. Mr. Guinn was initially investigated for bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion and wire fraud. After lengthy negotiations, we were able to resolve Mr. Guinn’s case by Information for probation despite sentencing guidelines advocating for 30-37 months of incarceration.
  • Commonwealth v. Paul Carroll. A security guard employed by a hospital system was charged with assaulting a patient who lunged at a nurse. The hospital retained Stites & Harbison to represent their security guard who was defending hospital employees. Stites & Harbison filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case under Kentucky’s self-defense immunity statute. The Court granted the Immunity Motion and dismissed the case.
  • Commonwealth v. Brooks Houck. Mr. Houck was acquitted of all charges in connection with a series of alleged thefts. Mr. Houck’s case received extensive publicity because the Nelson County Sheriff named him as a suspect in the disappearance of a woman in Bardstown, Kentucky, which led to national media attention.
  • United States v. Dino Gaudio. In a nationally publicized case, former University of Louisville basketball coach and former ESPN analyst Dino Gaudio was charged with extortion in connection with a surreptitiously taped conversation Coach Gaudio had with University of Louisville Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mack. Upon reviewing our case submissions, particularly relating to Coach Gaudio’s outstanding character, the presiding United States District Judge not only gave Coach Gaudio the minimum sentence permitted by law but went so far as to question the United States’ decision to prosecute the case despite the United States Sentencing Guidelines recommending two (2) years of incarceration.
  • Quintairos, Prieto, Wood and Boyer, P.A. v. PCPMG Consulting, LLC. In United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, successfully represented the largest minority owned law firm in the United States in a fraud and breach of contract civil lawsuit brought against PCPMG Consulting.
  • Davenport Extreme Pools and Spas v. Judd: Davenport sued our client for alleged defamation relating to Davenport’s business practices. In a case of first impression, we successfully obtained a dismissal utilizing Kentucky’s recently enacted Anti-SLAPP legislation. The Court not only dismissed the case but awarded our clients their costs and fees.
  • Commonwealth v. Charles Bessen. Our client was involved in a significant injury accident alleged to have been caused by intoxication. Our client’s felony assault was amended and his DUI was dismissed. He was placed in a one year diversion program and, thereafter, his amended charge will be dismissed and expunged.
  • Commonwealth v. DeVito Tisdale. Mr. Tisdale is a University of Kentucky football player who was charged with burglary in the first degree and wanton endangerment in a high profile case stemming from a fight at a fraternity house. We represented Mr. Tisdale in connection with a Fayette County Grand Jury investigation. The Fayette County Grand Jury declined to charge Mr. Tisdale.
  • Commonwealth v. Jason Stinson. In a case of national significance, we successfully achieved a trial acquittal of all charges against Mr. Stinson, the Pleasure Park High School football coach charged in the death of his player.
  • State of Indiana v. James Morrow. Mr. Morrow is the elected Gibson County Clerk. He was charged with two felony counts of criminal recklessness and one felony count of pointing a firearm at another person in connection with an argument in a convenience store parking lot. The case was moved to Evansville, Indiana based upon local publicity. Mr. Morrow was found not guilty at trial of both counts of criminal recklessness and the pointing a firearm charge was dismissed by the Court.
  • Commonwealth v. Katie McCoy. Ms. McCoy, a Bellarmine student, was charged with murdering her child in a Bellarmine dormitory. She was acquitted of all homicide related charges at trial.
  • United States v. Dan Conway. Mr. Conway, the former President of RBI Corporation, was charged in federal court with a million dollar fraud in connection with alleged improper repair of the railroad bearings. After years of litigation and an indictment, Mr. Conway's criminal case was successfully resolved without any criminal convictions or Mr. Conway admitting fault in any manner.

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

  • Reevaluating Your Company’s Compliance Program, with Michael Denbow, Stites & Harbison Client Alert, July 20, 2023
  • FULL INTERVIEW: Discussion of USDOJ investigation into LMPD with Brian Butler, interview by Dawne Gee,, March 8, 2023
  • Former UofL basketball player Robbie Valentine won't serve jail time, placed on probation, by Curadhan Powell,, March 6, 2023
  • Three Bingham Fellows class initiatives to focus on Downtown Louisville, by Shea Von Hoy, Louisville Business First, February 24, 2023
  • Buffalo Supermarket Shooter to Appear in Court for Federal Hate Crime Charges, SCRIPPS News, February 2023
  • Kentucky bail laws can make cost of crimes inconsistent, by Tori Gessner,, February 17, 2022
  • Louisville man pleads guilty to 2012 fatal shooting of 15-year-old,, December 21, 2021
  • Ex-Louisville coach Dina Gaudio sentenced to one year probation, $10K fine in extortion case, by Shannon Russell, Louisville Courier Journal, August 27, 2021
  • Feds Oppose Prison For Fired NCAA Coach's Blackmail Threat, By Rachel Scharf,, August 11, 2021, with Michael Denbow
  • Common billing errors that land medical providers on the government's radar, Medical News, July 25, 2021with Jennifer Henry Jackson

More Than Stites & Harbison

Brian started his legal career as a Judge Advocate General with the United States Navy (1995-98). He then joined the Commonwealth of Kentucky Attorney's office (1999-2004) as Assistant Commonwealth Attorney and Chief of a General Trial Unit where he prosecuted and tried numerous murder cases while also supervising multiple prosecutors and staff as Chief of the General Trial Unit (2002-04); prosecuted crimes against children and domestic violence cases (1999-2001); and was selected to serve as adjunct faculty at the National Advocacy Center in Columbia, South Carolina, where he taught trial advocacy to prosecutors from every jurisdiction in the U.S. (2000-04). Brian then joined the United States Attorney's Office (2004-06) as Assistant U.S. Attorney where he prosecuted federal crimes including drug trafficking, Title III (wiretap) cases, firearms cases, violent crimes and numerous other federal crimes; successfully tried multiple jury trials; redrafted and assisted in implementing the U.S. Attorney's Office's policy for selecting and prosecuting gun crimes and served as the Gang Crimes Coordinator for the Western District of Kentucky. After leaving the public defense practice, he was a Member of Dathorne & Butler (2007-20) where he was a successful trial attorney. Brian has served as a legal expert for local television and print media.

Contact & Links
  • 400 West Market Street, Suite 1800
    Louisville, KY 40202-3352
  • University of Notre Dame, J.D., graduated 1995
  • University of Kentucky, B.A., graduated 1991
Bar Admissions
  • Kentucky, State Bar
  • Indiana, State Bar
  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Bingham Fellows - Class of 2022
  • Kentucky Bar Association - Member
  • Louisville Bar Association - Member
Court Admissions
  • 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 Indiana

Stites & Harbison, PLLC
Headquarters: Louisville, Kentucky

98 The Best Lawyers in America® awards

26 Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch® in America awards

Best Law Firms Badge Visit Website View Firm Profile

Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024 for work in:
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Product Liability Litigation - Defendants
  • Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated
  • Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2012-22)
  • Louisville Magazine, Top Lawyers
  • Recipient of two Navy Achievement Medals for litigation success as a United States Navy JAGC
Additional Areas of Practice:
  • Professional Malpractice Law - Defendants
  • Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants
  • Criminal Defense: White-Collar


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