John Cowden, Co-Chair of BSCR, is a locally and nationally recognized litigator and trial lawyer who has obtained successful results in hundreds of cases for his clients. Having defended claims in numerous major jury trials in various states, he has been selected as a “Dean of the Trial Bar” in the Kansas City area.
John has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America for his work in Aviation Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions - Defendants, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants.
Although he relishes the challenge and drama of the courtroom, his greatest satisfaction comes from achieving a good outcome for the client at an early stage for a reasonable cost.
Examples of cases handled within the last two years include:
- Jointly defended hospital supply manufacturer in federal court antitrust case resulting in summary judgment in favor of client—affirmed on appeal.
- Obtained appellate reversal of a jury verdict against an automobile manufacturer in a class action involving alleged product defects.
- Obtained dismissal of an aircraft parts supplier with no payment in a product liability wrongful death case in Missouri.
- Obtained dismissal of aircraft engine manufacturer with no payment in a product liability wrongful death case in Missouri.
- Current defense of aerospace industry manufacturer in wrongful death action in New Jersey.
- Current defense of claims against major commercial airlines in federal and state court.
- Current defense of aircraft engine manufacturer in series of wrongful death cases arising from crash in central Kansas.
- Current representation of international automobile manufacturer and seller in series of consumer fraud actions in Missouri and Kansas.
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- USDC, Western District of Missouri
- USDC, District of Kansas
- USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
- Supreme Court of the United States
- University of Missouri - Columbia School of Law, JD
- Missouri State University, BA
Memberships & Activities
- Former Assistant Attorney General of State of Missouri
- Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers
- American Board of Trial Advocates
- Past President, Chapter of Western Missouri/Eastern Kansas
- International Association of Defense Counsel
- Past Chair of Aviation Committee, Member of Product Liability, Toxic Tort, and Membership Committees
- Faculty Member of Defense Counsel Trial Academy
- Litigation Counsel of America
- Trial Attorneys of America
- Master, Ross Roberts Inn of Court
- Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
- Former Chair of Product Liability Committee
- The Missouri Bar
- Former Vice Chair, Federal Courts Committee and Vice Chair,Torts Committee
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Former Chair of Federal Courts Committee
- Contributing author: Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC) Consumer Fraud 50 State Survey, Section on Missouri Law.
- Contributing author: ALFA International Product Liability Law Practice Group Compendium of Product Liability Law Issues, 2004, Section on Missouri Law.
- "Why General Jurisdiction Requires a More Specific Standard" (International Association of Defense Counsel, Aviation & Space Law Committee Newsletter, May 2002).
- “The Air Carrier Access Act: A Case Study” (International Association of Defense Counsel, Aviation & Space Law Committee Newsletter).
- “Protective Orders: Ten Commandments for the Defense.” (International Association of Defense Counsel, Aviation Newsletter).
- IADC Trial Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Ten Commandments on the Use of Protective Orders, West Palm Beach, Florida.
- Ethical Considerations in Class Action Settlements, (PLAC) Orlando, Florida.
- Alternative Dispute Resolution, Defense Perspective, Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
- Federal Preemption (IADC), Greenbrier, West Virginia.
- Affirmative Defenses in Sports Related Cases (IADC), LaQuinta, California.
- Affirmative Use of NTSB Reports (IADC Aviation), Monterey, California.
- Use of Suicide Defense (DRI), San Diego, California.
- Panel Discussion on the Role of Insurer, Insured and Outside Counsel (DRI), New Orleans, Louisiana.
- E-Discovery, National Electrical Manufacturers Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois.
- Trial Counsel Duties in E-Discovery, Palm Desert Springs, California.
- Lessons Learned in the Courtroom, ALFA Product Liability Seminar, Nashville, TN.
- ABOTA Master's In Trial Demonstration, Kansas City, Missouri.
- The Trial of a Products Liability Lawsuit, Kansas City, Missouri.
- The Trial of a Products Liability Lawsuit, St. Louis, Missouri.
- How to Try a Civil Lawsuit, Kansas City, Missouri.
- Proper Use of Jury Instructions (Federal Court Seminar), Kansas City, Missouri.
- Utilization of Local Rules (Federal Court Seminar), Kansas City, Missouri.
- Jury Innovations, District Court en banc, Kansas City, Missouri.
- Jury Innovations, District Court en banc, St. Louis, Missouri.
- The New "But For" Causation Rule in Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri.
- The New Comparative Fault Rule in Missouri (Missouri Bar), Springfield, Missouri.
- Missouri Evidence Restated (Relevancy - 401, 402), Kansas City, Missouri.
- Missouri Evidence Restated (Relevancy - 401, 402), Columbia, Missouri.
- The New Federal Local Rules (UMC Law School), Columbia, Missouri.
- The Economic Impact of Civil Litigation, University of Missouri at Kansas City.
Awards & Recognition
- AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
- Selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers® in America for Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants, 2012-Present; Aviation Law, 2014-Present; Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2017-Present, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, 2018.
- Recognized by Best Lawyers® in America as the 2017 Product Liability Litigation – Defendants “Lawyer of the Year” in Kansas City.
- Selected for inclusion in Chambers USA, 2008-present.
- Selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers®, 2005-present.
- Selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® as a Top 100 Missouri Kansas City attorney 2005-2016.
- Selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers® as a Top 50 Kansas City attorney, 2005-2009, 2011-2012, 2014.
- Recognized as "Dean of the Trial Bar" by The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 2010.
- Kansas City Missouri Bar Congenial Counselor Award, 2008.
- Order of Barristers Honorary Initiate - University of Missouri at Columbia School of Law, 2006.
- Recognized as a "Best of the Bar" by the Kansas City Business Journal, 2006 and 2017.
- Elected to "An International Who's Who of Product Liability Defence Lawyers."
- Member of National Registry of "Who's Who."
- Named to "Who's Who in American Law."
- Approved outside mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri MAP program.
News & Events
01.16.14 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, LLC has named Thomas N. Sterchi and John W. Cowden as Co-Chairmen and James Scott Kreamer as Managing Member of the firm.
11.16.12 | John Cowden was one of several attorneys that spoke at a recent Class Action Conference in Tennessee. Cowden spoke on class action developments and trends in Missouri, including developments in settlements, e-discovery, attorney fee awards, and consumer fraud act decisions with an emphasis on significant automotive lawsuits.
04.27.12 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Executive Director Karen Griggs has served as the President of the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) for the last year. ALA is the largest international association of professionals involved in the management of law firms, corporate legal departments and government legal agencies, with nearly 10,000 members in 30 countries. . .
09.26.11 | Kara Stubbs and John Cowden participated in the recent ALFA Product Liability Seminar held in Nashville, TN. Stubbs was the program chair and Cowden participated on a breakout session panel entitled "Juror Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Corporate Defendants" at the 2011 ALFA Product Liability Seminar. . .
09.19.11 | As the firm's liaison with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Member John Cowden attended the LCLD's Second Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, DC., September 14-16. The LCLD was formed in 2009 and is...
10.13.10 | As the firm's liaison with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), John Cowden attended the LCLD membership meeting on October 6-8 in Washington, DC. . .