John Watt graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. He has twice been selected as a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” for both Missouri and Kansas in litigation and defense work. He has extensive experience in defending businesses in multi-million dollar litigation. His practice includes product liability defense, construction litigation, and toxic torts. John has been the primary attorney for the defense of such litigation from filing the responsive pleading through jury trial. He has both taken and defended expert, corporate representative and fact witness deposition in hundreds of cases across the country.
John has argued in front of the appellate courts for Missouri and Kansas on multiple occasions. He also has extensive experience in arbitrating and mediating matters to successful conclusion for his clients. In the past year, he has prevailed in both a jury and bench trial for construction surety clients.
As an active member of the local bar he provides pro bono legal services for indigent clients through the Volunteer Attorney Project. He is currently on the Steering Committee for the ALFA Construction Law Practice Group.
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
- USDC, District of Kansas
- USDC, Western District of Missouri
- USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Missouri
- USDC, Eastern District of Massachusetts
- Boston University School of Law, J.D. (area of emphasis in Litigation and Dispute Resolution), with honors , 2000
- Kansas State University, B.S. (Political Science), 1997
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice recently obtained a dismissal for an architect client in a breach of contract action related to a construction project. We presented and argued a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in a Kansas District Court on the basis that the Plaintiff (Project Owner) lacked privity of contract with our client and,,,
Following a bench trial in St. Louis County, Missouri, BSCR received a judgment in favor of its clients, Allen Edmonds and Plaza Frontenac, a large upscale shopping mall...
BSCR successfully defended Old Republic Surety, Inc. in a 5 day jury trial involving the construction of running track at a local high school. At the close of plaintiff's evidence the District Court granted Old Republic's motion for directed verdict and entered judgment in favor of Old Republic. . .
BSCR received a judgment in favor of our client, Western Surety, following a bench trial in Ray County, Missouri. The claim involved a contractual dispute over an indemnity agreement. The court issued a lengthy opinion and awarded our client the full amount requested. . .
BSCR defended client Swift Transportation Company at trial in a case where a Swift tractor-trailer allegedly turned left in front of a motorcycle at an uncontrolled intersection on a four-lane highway. Plaintiff claimed a brain injury in the form of post concussive syndrome, a knee injury, neck pain, back pain, and headaches. . .
| We recently reported on a ruling of the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals that there was sufficient evidence to support the giving of the negligence instruction in a case where an employer was found liable for damages sustained when an employee was injured by a third party criminal act. The Missouri Supreme Court has now upheld that ruling. In Wieland v. Owner-Operator Services, Inc., Wieland was...
| In the case of Wilson v. Dura-Seal and Stripe, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District held that the “acceptance doctrine” is still valid law in Missouri, and bars liability against a construction contractor for the injury of a third party after the owner of the premises has accepted the work.
| In McNearney v. LTF Club Operations Company, Inc., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District recently affirmed a trial court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant fitness club from claims by the Plaintiff that it was negligent and reckless in allowing her to become injured while participating in a boot camp exercise class.
| In Ritchie v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the trial court had allowed an investigating officer to testify that the Plaintiff’s motorcycle had left the roadway in a straight line and that he had found no evidence of another vehicle forcing the Plaintiff off the road. Over objection, he was permitted to testify that...
| In Woodall v. Christian Hospital N.E., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed that a landowner does not owe a duty to prevent injury to invitees when the landowner relinquishes possession and control of the premises to an independent contractor during a period of construction.
| Where a Plaintiff who built a new home brought claims including breach of contract and unlawful merchandising practices against the builder, based on purported overcharges, the Plaintiff was equitably estopped from his breach of contract claim arising out of construction in certain areas of the home, because he had accepted the deed, which was construed as satisfaction
| Recently the Kansas Court of Appeals declined to overturn the "physical injury rule" requirement for post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") claim for damages. On June 12, 2015 the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants.
| In the case of Katina Piatt, et al. v. Indiana Lumberman's Mutual Insurance Company, et al., SC 94364, the Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed summary judgment in favor of Indiana Lumberman's Mutual Insurance Company, based on a policy exclusion that the plaintiffs unsuccessfully alleged was ambiguous, and should have been interpreted in their favor.
| In a recent construction design case this law firm, along with co-defendants, successfully moved the Court to exclude certain of plaintiff's expert witnesses. As reported in a prior post, the State of Kansas amended the relevant statutes regarding the submissibility of expert witness opinions on July 1, 2014.
| Companies who employ drivers may be exposed to greater liability in Missouri courts. In McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 824 (Mo. banc 1995), the Missouri Supreme Court held that once an employer has admitted to respondeat superior liability for an employee driver's negligence, it is improper to allow a plaintiff to proceed against the employer on any other theory of imputed liability, such as negligence in employee hiring, retention, or training.