Christopher Goode maintains a broad and diverse law practice with the firm, ranging from small auto-accident cases to large catastrophic-injury cases. But no matter what the size of the case, Goode brings the same devotion to serving the best interests of every client.
Goode has been representing plaintiffs in these types of cases since joining the firm in 2004 after working in an insurance-defense firm for four years following law school. Practicing in that firm, he represented large corporations and insurance companies in claims filed by injured individuals and he believes that the experience is hugely beneficial to him as a plaintiff’s lawyer today. Mr. Goode is admitted to practice in the state courts of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia as well as many different Federal Courts including the United States Supreme Court.
“No question about it,” he says. “I use that experience daily in how I approach cases and anticipate how the other side will approach the case. I tell my clients that I’m able to think like the other side, anticipate their moves, and kind of know what motivates them to either resolve a case or put them in a position where they are perhaps paying more for a case than they would with another lawyer.”
Goode has used that advantage to achieve some remarkable successes for clients and even change law in Kentucky.
In 2010, the Kentucky Supreme Court heard one of Goode’s cases, McIntosh v. Kentucky River Medical Center, and ruled that a trial court and the appellate court were correct in concluding that a defendant hospital was negligent in causing injuries to Goode’s paramedic client. In a ruling widely considered a landmark decision, the state’s top court ruled that the burden to fix “open and obvious” hazards must henceforth rest on the premise’s owner.
In that case, Goode’s client was rushing a critically ill man to the hospital in an ambulance. When the vehicle arrived there, she was pushing the man toward the emergency room on a gurney and was forced to navigate over a curb to get there when she slipped and fell, breaking her hip and wrist. The injury essentially ended her paramedic career.
Goode took the case, launched his investigation, and discovered that emergency entrances of the defendant company’s other hospitals as well as others in the region did not contain the same kind of obstructions. The process took six years to play out before the Kentucky Supreme Court finally provided the conclusion.
“Prior to the McIntosh case, if a hazard was deemed open and obvious to the judge, oftentimes the cases would simply be dismissed,” Goode says. “But now the focus has been shifted to what the premise’s owner should foresee in terms of risks to its patrons and the nature of the entrance. In other words, if it’s open and obvious to Irene McIntosh, it’s certainly open and obvious to Kentucky River Medical Center. The court noted that the premise’s owner is in the best position to remedy the hazard and therefore the duty is going to fall on the premise’s owner to remedy the hazard rather than simply dismissing the case.”
In 2008, Goode negotiated a $3-million settlement of a case against the City of Lexington on behalf of a man on a scooter who was badly injured after being rear ended by a police officer rushing to get to work in the morning. In making his case, Goode produced a 30-minute movie on how the injury had impacted the lives of the plaintiff and his family. “As a result of those efforts, we were able to put a large amount of money into a trust,” after the Lexington City Council approved the settlement.
In another noteworthy personal-injury case, Goode obtained a significant settlement on behalf of a truck driver who was badly injured by another truck driver while making deliveries for a small business. The defendants in the case were less than cooperative in turning over records about the defendant driver, and after finally getting a court order compelling them to do so, Goode discovered that the driver had tested positive for methamphetamine. Then, after settling that case, he was able to achieve a second settlement with the insurance company following a “bad faith” charge of trying to hide evidence.
These cases are emblematic of Goode’s determination to fight for his clients in the pursuit of justice.
“I very much enjoy fighting for the common person who doesn’t always have someone to fight for them,” he says. Oftentimes, we’re up against great odds and very wealthy companies with endless resources. One of the things I love about being a partner in this firm is that we have the ability to fight those entities on behalf of people who otherwise would not be able to make that fight.”
He carries that commitment to other areas of his professional life. He is a past president of the Fayette County Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on legal topics. He has been named as a Kentucky Super Lawyer, a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and has been selected as Top 100 Trial Lawyer for 2013 by the National Trial Lawyers organization.
He’s also active in community work, primarily with God’s Pantry, a nonprofit food collection and distribution service serving the needs of needy eastern Kentuckians in 50 counties. His wife, Kristin Ingwell Goode, is a development coordinator for that agency and the Becker Law Office is a proud sponsor.
In his limited personal time, Goode continues to pursue a lifelong passion as a trumpet player. He received a Bachelor of Music degree, with emphases in music education and performance, from Northern Illinois University in 1993 and combined professional playing with middle-school music teaching for several years before going to DePaul University College of Law and getting his J.D. in 2000. He recently played in a Lexington rock band, The City, which has disbanded; but he continues to perform publicly when he has the time.