Mary Ann Stewart

Government General Counsel

Ms. Stewart has over 25 years of experience representing all levels of governmental clients. Her experience includes providing legal guidance, support, and litigation services for state and local governmental bodies, as well as, individual governmental employees, from high level administrators to staff.

Ms. Stewart began her career as an Assistant City Solicitor for the City of Covington. She was responsible for all litigation involving the police and fire departments, and worked closely with the City Manager, the Mayor, and City Commission; the Civil Service Commission; and the Board of Adjustments. From that point, Ms. Stewart’s representation of local governments expanded to include other cities, as well as various county and regional bodies, and school boards. Some of her representative clients include:

  • City of Southgate
  • City of Crestview Hills
  • Lakeside Park-Crestview Hills Police Authority
  • Northern Kentucky Independent District Board of Health
    • Kenton County Board of Health
    • Boone County Board of Health
    • Grant County Board of Health
    • Campbell County Board of Health
  • Kenton County Public Library
  • Campbell County Cable Board and Campbell County Media Center
  • Campbell County Consolidated Dispatch Board
  • Covington Independent Public School District
  • Boone County Public Schools

Ms. Stewart works closely with her clients, providing input, guidance, and support in policy development, legislation, public procurements, human resources, zoning and economic development, records retention and production, and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. She has developed a wide network of contacts in all levels and types of governments and consequently is able to efficiently and effectively navigate through logistical complexities that are part of the territory in representing local governments.

School Law

There are few attorneys who practice in the area of school law, and far fewer who specialize in representing school districts and school district employees. Ms. Stewart has developed an expertise providing legal guidance and support to Boards of Education, Superintendents, Principals, Teachers, and other staff spanning both county school districts and independent school districts.

Ms. Stewart has successfully defended school districts and school district employees in complicated litigation in all levels of the State and Federal Courts on claims involving the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act), Coverdell immunity, KERA (Kentucky Educational Reform Act), Civil Rights, and Title IX compliance. Furthermore, Ms. Stewart has prosecuted and defended teacher tribunals, expulsion hearings, disciplinary review hearings, and special education due process hearings. Some of Ms. Stewart’s recent court-room successes include:

  • Litigating and obtaining judgment on behalf of a school administrator on a student’s claims that she was subjected to peer-on-peer bullying and sexual harassment
  • Litigating and obtaining judgments on behalf of teachers, principals, and boards of education in claims filed in state and federal courts for negligent supervision, whistle-blower actions, and negligent hiring

In addition to litigation work, Ms. Stewart provides day-to-day advice and practical guidance in areas such as: policy development, public procurements, laws relating to certified and classified employees, bullying laws, mandatory reporting laws, special education, tenure, open meetings and open records laws. She regularly advises and provides active support in student special education matters, including development of IEPs (individual education plans) and 504 plans.

Employment

Ms. Stewart represents both public and private employers in all facets of employment law. She provides day-to-day general counsel advice and guidance, as well as litigation support. Her employment practice is diverse and includes experience with compliance with federal and state regulations and in-house training.

Ms. Stewart served for several years as a Governor’s appointee to the Kentucky Commission for Human Rights, where she presided over, and ruled on claims brought by employees against both public and private employers.

As a practitioner, Ms. Stewart is familiar with and can easily navigate any claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Department of Justice, Department of Labor, Kentucky Human Rights Commission, Kentucky Department of Labor, and the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. She has successfully represented employers and employees in all levels of state and federal courts. Some of her key accomplishments include:

  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal of law suit brought by a former principal against a Superintendent and School Board for improper demotion
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissal, which was upheld at the Kentucky Court of Appeals, on a police officer’s law suit brought against a City for wrongful termination
  • Obtained dismissals at the EEOC and Kentucky Human Rights Commission for actions brought by employees against their employers for wrongful termination
  • Has successfully mediated disputes brought before the EEOC and in state and federal courts
  • Has successfully negotiated severance packages for both employers and employees
  • Has guided employers with reduction in force (RIF) plans
  • Has written and updated policy manuals, employee handbooks, and operating protocols for public and private employers

Ms. Stewart has at the request of clients provided to their employees comprehensive, in-house training seminars on sexual harassment, respect in the workplace, diversity in the workplace, FMLA compliance, and wage and hour laws.

List of Presentations

Presentation Topics:

      • Student Expulsions & Suspensions: Legal Issues Surrounding School Discipline
        Date: 10/5/2006
        Location/Organization: National Business Institute, Lexington, KY.
      • Procuring Headaches – Model Procurement Code Analysis for Schools
        Date: 7/8/2011
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Council for School Attorneys, Lexington, KY.
      • Panel Member: Do’s and Don’ts in Administrative Due Process Hearings
        Date: 5/18/2012
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Administrative Hearing Officers’ Association, Frankfort, KY.
      • Fundamental Ppls. Of State and Federal Immunity for Public Employees
        Date: 10/27/2011
        Location/Organization: Ohio Casualty/Liberty Mutual – In house training sessions conducted for all adjusters handling claims against public entities
      • Student Constitutional Rights
        Date: 6/3/2013
        Location/Organization: Cov. Indep. Public School Administrators
      • Search & Seizure of Students: Hot Topics and Recent Trends
        Date: 6/7/2013
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Association of Superintendents and Administrators, Lexington, KY.
      • Disciplining Students with Special Needs
        Date: Aug. 16, 2010
        Location/Organization: Northern Kentucky School Administrators, Covington, KY.
      • The Hows and Whys of Kentucky’s Open Records Act
        Date: 8/16/2010
        Location/Organization: Northern Kentucky School Administrators, Covington, KY.
      • Sexual Harrassment in the School Setting
        Date: August – 2010, 2011, 2013
        Location/Organization: Covington Independent Public School District Employees’ Annual Training, Covington, KY.
      • Respect in the Workplace: A series of 10-12 training sessions given to management and non-management employees
        Date: May – June, 2011 – 2013
        Location/Organization: Sanitation District No. 1
      • Respect in the Workplace: A series of 10-12 training sessions given to management and non-management employees
        Date: May, 2013
        Location/Organization: Ronan Engineering
      • The Community Access Preservation Act
        Date: Oct. – Nov., 2009
        Location/Organization: Presented for Campbell County Cable Board and televised on Public Access throughout Campbell County to explain the significance of the CAP Act for funding for governmental, educational, and public access
      • Diversity in the Workplace
        Date: 7/26/2006
        Location/Organization:Presented to the City of Fort Thomas management and non-management employees as part of annual training
      • Municipal Liability and Defenses Under Kentucky Law
        Date: 1/20/2004
        Location/Organization: Northern Kentucky Bar Association, Covington, Ky.
      • Analyzing The Ability of A City to Regulate Adult Entertainment Businesses Through Licensing Regulations
        Date: 8/19/2003
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Bar Association, Annual Convention, 2003, Covington, KY.
      • Reading, Writing, and Right to An Attorney: When Administrators Must Give Students Miranda Warnings
        Date: January, 2014
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Council for School Attorneys Winter Conference
      • Panelists on “Ask a City or County Attorney”
        Date: 3/13/2015
        Location/Organization: Northern Kentucky Area Development District’s Training for Newly Elected Officials
      • Surviving and Thriving in the Special Ed Jungle
        Date: 3/19/2015
        Location/Organization: Kentucky Association of School Administrators
      • Consents For Medical Services Seminar 
        Date: 9/12/2017
        Location/Organization: Presented as an internal training for the Northern Kentucky Independent District Health Department
      • How to Avoid Being Sued
        Date: 10/4/2017
        Location/Organization: Presented to the Kentucky League of Cities Annual Conference
      • When The Customer Is Not Always Right
        Date: 11/3/2017
        Location/Organization: Presented to the Kentucky Public Administrators’ Conference

Contact Information

Education

  • Thomas More College (1985)
  • University of Cincinnati College of Law (1988)

Admitted to Practice

  • Commonwealth of Kentucky
  • State of Ohio
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Professional Memberships and Affiliations

  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Northern Kentucky Bar Association
  • Cincinnati Bar Association
  • Ohio State Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Member House of Delegates
  • Kentucky Bar Association, Trial Commissioner