January 20, 2017
The Kentucky Court of Appeals established new precedent today, holding that a public defender is entitled to immunity from a legal malpractice claim because he is an employee of a state agency. Jacobi v. Holbert, 2015-CA-1929. The opinion arose from Holbert's representation of Jacobi on drug charges. The Hardin Circuit Court had appointed Holbert, an attorney and employee of the Department of Public Advocacy, to defend Jacobi against the drug charges. Many years later, Jacobi brought a professional negligence claim against Holbert, alleging that Holbert failed to properly advise regarding probation and parole standards. The trial court granted Holbert's motion to dismiss, finding that Holbert was entitled to qualified official immunity as an employee of state government. In a to-be-published opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed.