Academy Member Inducted 2024

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John S. West, Arbitrator, Bowling Green, Kentucky.

John S. West

English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley, LLP
1101 College Street
P.O. Box 770
Bowling Green, KY 42102
Tel: 270-781-6500
Cell: 502-387-4287
Fax: 270-782-7782
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Recognized to Kentucky Chapter for Arbitration

Regularly travels out of state to: Tennessee

Other ADR Services: Early Neutral Evaluation, Fact Finding, Insurance Umpire, Med-Arb, Mini-Trial Judge
Video Conferencing
  • Practice Commenced1990
  • # of MEDS (as of 12/6/24) 
  • # of ARBS (as of 12/6/24)275
Current Practice
Online / In-Person


John is a nationally recognized labor arbitrator for over thirty years presiding over and resolving labor disputes in both the public and private sector. He has been listed with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service since 1993.

Prior to joining English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, John worked for the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet representing the Division of Water Quality, Division for Air Quality, Division of Waste Management, and the Division of Natural Resources.

John has deep knowledge and experience with water environmental issues under the Clean Water Act, and the Safe Drinking Water Act and the state laws implementing them. His knowledge and experience includes implementing Title V of the Clean Air Act, permit and dispute resolution for facilities subject to Prevention of Significant Deterioration and New Source Performance Standards, and National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants programs. Additionally, John has handled cases involving the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (Superfund), and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

John is a seasoned litigator in the administrative, state, and federal courts throughout Kentucky. This includes matters concerning water discharges from agricultural sources such as animal feeding and dairy operations, stormwater runoff, public and private wastewater treatment plants, municipal sewers, contaminated drinking water, oil wells, natural gas wells, coal, floodplain construction, dam safety, stream construction, and wetlands. He has handled air issues concerning asbestos abatement, aluminum foundries, battery manufacturing plants, coal fired power plants, coal gasification plants, charcoal production, chemical manufacturing, limestone operations, and treated lumber. John has litigated and negotiated matters involving waste management and hazardous waste disposal issues, underground storage tanks, lighting products, and municipal waste sites.  He has also worked in surface mining reclamation.

When not litigating for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, John continued to develop his extensive labor arbitration practice. He is published and cited as authority in the legal treatise ELKOURI & ELKOURI, HOW ARBITRATION WORKS (7th ed. 2012, 8th ed. 2016). John is a published author of labor arbitration decisions in Labor Arbitration Reports, by the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., and Labor Relations Reporter, published by CCH, Inc.

He has written decisions in the areas of absenteeism, arbitrability, bargaining unit work, conduct (off-duty/personal), disability, discipline (discharge and non-discharge), discrimination, drug/alcohol offenses, health/hospitalization, hiring practices, holiday pay, holidays, incentive pay, job classification and rates, job performance, job posting/bidding, layoffs/bumping/recall, leave, management rights, past practices, promotion, retirement, safety/health conditions, seniority, sexual harassment, subcontracting/contracting out, vacation, vacation pay, violence and threats, wages, work hours/schedules/assignments, and working conditions/work orders.

John has presided over arbitration cases in the following industries: agriculture, automotive, bakery, beverage, building products, cement, chemicals, coal, dairy, distillery, electrical equipment/appliances, foundry, health Care, hospital/nursing home, iron, lumber, machinery, meat packing, metal fabrication, mining, police and fire, prison guard, public sector grievance, pulp and paper, steel, transportation, trucking and storage, and utilities.

When he isn’t working, John enjoys renovating historic homes, spending time outdoors, and spending quality time with his family.

Case Experience

  • ADA Disability
  • Agricultural
  • Automotive
  • Aviation
  • Civil Rights
  • Class Actions
  • Contract Disputes
  • Discrimination
  • EEOC
  • Employment
  • Energy Sector (Oil/Gas)
  • Environmental
  • Health Care
  • Industrial
  • Labor/Unions
  • Land Use/Planning
  • Local Govt./Municipalities
  • Military
  • Mining
  • Pensions
  • Police
  • Postal
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Negligence
  • Property Damage
  • Public Policy
  • Railroad & Trucking
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Telecommunications
  • Torts
  • Transportation
  • Unfair Competition
  • Utilities
  • Wage & Hour/FMLA


  • Catholic University of America – Washington, DC J.D. 1989
  • Purdue University – West Lafayette, IN B.A. 1986

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Washington D.C. Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Arizona Bar Association


  • Dept. of the Air Force
  • Robins AFB Georgia
  • American Federation of Government Employees
  • Several Coal Arbitration Panels


  • Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS)
  • Nation Mediation Board (railway and airline)
  • Coal Arbitration Service, UMWA-BCOA

Rates Information

PER DIEM FEE: $ 1,800.00

Grievance Arbitration: $ 1,800.00 per day (includes travel time, study, research & writing), plus expenses.

Postponement or Cancellation Fee:

  • 15 or more days notice: no charge
  • 14-4 days notice: $900.00
  • 3-0 days notice: $1,800.00

Every effort is made to keep your costs down. Virtual hearings are available if both sides agree. If the case does settle, please contact me as soon as possible. The postponement or cancellation fee is established to encourage the parties not to wait until the eleventh hour to resolve their dispute(s). In almost all cases, approximately two weeks before the hearing date, I start making travel arrangements, as far as purchasing an airline ticket, renting a vehicle, or reserving a hotel room if necessary. I generally leave for the hearing the day or evening before the hearing date unless the hearing is local. If I am told the case is settled while en route, you will be charged the cancellation fee and may be charged the time spent on transportation in addition to the transportation costs or mileage, depending on the circumstances.

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