Since our firm was founded more than 35 years ago, many in the automotive industry have depended on us for their litigation needs. Our trial attorneys have exceptional skills in handling a broad range of matters for some of the largest automotive companies in the nation. Whether a claim arises locally, regionally, nationally or internationally, our attorneys have the resources to carefully investigate the facts and efficiently arrive at a resolution that best meets our clients’ goals.
BSCR represents original equipment manufacturers in product liability claims related to virtually every aspect of the automotive and truck product, including crashworthiness, occupant restraint, interior design, stability and performance issues. We are nationally recognized as a “go to” firm for defense of product liability matters. The remarkable success we’ve had in defense of our client’s interests in the automotive industry is one of the reasons why.
We have a number of first-chair trial attorneys who are skilled, confident and successful in the courtroom. In preparation for trial, our trial teams conduct meticulous investigation of the facts and circumstances giving rise to a claim. We work closely with automotive and trucking industry experts with whom we have established excellent relationships. This ensures our firm’s access to the top industry experts in important fields. We have experienced medical professionals on staff to identify and analyze significant medical issues. Good working relationships with these experts helps our firm provide effective and efficient litigation services to our clients.
In addition to courtroom experience, our attorneys are skilled at negotiating appropriate settlements in a number of forums, including mediation and arbitration. Because we investigate thoroughly from the moment an accident occurs or from the time our firm is made aware of a claim, we put our clients in the best position to negotiate on their terms.
BSCR has extensive experience in the defense of automotive products involved in complex, high-stakes class action matters, as well as individual cases. We have been involved in the successful resolution of significant class actions, as well as industry-wide repetitive litigation. The efficiency we employ in individual cases and the experience we have amassed over more than 35 years in defense of automotive clients is an invaluable aid to understanding and resolving litigation consistent with our client’s expectations.
We are also a leader in defense of its automotive industry clients in toxic tort matters, including asbestos. The firm operates as local, regional and national counsel supervising asbestos litigation involving friction products around the country. Our association with many fine firms also involved in the defense of industry interests in this area ensures our client’s access to the most experienced counsel in any area of the practice.
BSCR attorneys are active in prominent professional organizations dealing with related industries and regularly deliver continuing legal education around the country. Important groups include the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC); the Defense Research Institute (DRI); the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC); and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC).
For more information about the services we provide to the Automotive industry contact Tom Seigfreid in Kansas City at 816.471.2121 or Mike Hunter in St. Louis at 314.345.5000.
News & Events
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC, has added Laura K. Beasley to the firm's Belleville, Illinois office. Beasley, who joined the firm as a Member, practices in the areas of civil litigation defense, general liability, class action/mass torts, insurance coverage, personal injury, and product liability
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Julie Simaytis to the firm's St. Louis office. Simaytis joins the firm as Of Counsel. Having practiced exclusively in litigation for over fifteen years, her practice is focused on...
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Andreea Sharkey to the firm's St. Louis office, where she will focus her practice in defending insurance, personal injury, general liability and product liability litigation.
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Kehl Friesen as an attorney in the firm's Kansas City office. Friesen's practice with the firm will focus on civil litigation with an emphasis on ...
| 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.
BSCR secured a dismissal in St. Louis County Circuit Court for an Arkansas auto finance company client facing a potential class action lawsuit comprised of a nationwide class of people who purchased automobiles financed by the company.
BSCR, working with our client's national counsel, Sullivan & Cromwell, obtained dismissal of a case filed by the State of Missouri, which sought more than $1 billion in damages. The Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis held that the state environmental claims were preempted by the "clear language" of the federal Clean Air Act.
In a Missouri Merchandising Practices Act case in which the plaintiff class alleged that our automotive client had engaged in misrepresentation when it described certain vehicles as luxury or premium vehicles (among other similar statements), when...
In a class action brought by plaintiffs in Missouri state court, alleging certain vehicles had defective dashboards, and that our automotive client misrepresented the vehicles to consumers, the Circuit Court of Jackson County originally certified a Missouri class, for claims under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act and breach of express warranty and implied warranty.
Suit was brought against a BSCR client in Madison County, Illinois, related to a vehicle/truck accident which occurred in Montgomery County, Illinois. The plaintiff was likewise from Montgomery County. For obvious reasons, she chose to file suit in plaintiff friendly Madison County...
After a four-day trial in state court, Wichita, Kansas, a Sedgwick County jury unanimously returned a defense verdict on all issues in favor of Baker Sterchi's client. Plaintiffs had made claims under the Kansas Lemon Law, Kansas Consumer Protection Act, the Uniform Commercial code and the Magnuson-Moss Act. . .
| Though seemingly obvious, the Eighth Circuit affirmed arbitration agreements are not immune to contract law basics when it denied an employer's motion to compel arbitration for lack of acceptance.
| SECOND UPDATE: Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Senate Bill 7, which amends venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| A seismic shift in Kansas personal injury litigation may be on the horizon, as the Kansas Supreme Court rules that the state's cap on noneconomic damages violates the constitutional right to a jury trial.
| UPDATE: House Passes Senate Bill 7, in which the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| In Senate Bill 7, the Missouri legislature seeks to amend venue and joinder laws, to prevent out of state plaintiffs from litigating their cases in an inappropriate venue.
| Defense attorneys beware. The 2018-2019 American Tort Reform Foundation's (ATRF) Judicial Hellholes Report is out, and the City of St. Louis landed fourth on this list because of its massive verdicts, forum shopping, and legislative failures.
| The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a railroad's products liability and breach of contract claims that were based on federally-imposed standards of care are not preempted. BNSF Railway Co. v. Seats, Inc., (No. 17-1399, 8th Cir. 2018).
| The Missouri Legislature introduced bills during its most recent legislative session to curtail forum shopping of class action plaintiffs in Missouri. This anti-forum shopping legislation, while not ultimately enacted into law, would have limited out-of-state plaintiffs from joining lawsuits involving local claims against out-of-state defendants.
| Despite an uptick in advocacy, support, and inclusion of the LGTBQ community over the past several decades, as of today, discrimination based on sexual orientation remains an invalid claim under the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). However, in a recent decision by the Western District of the Missouri Court of Appeals...
| The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District upholds denial of an employer's motion to compel arbitration ruling that at-will employment is insufficient consideration to support an arbitration agreement and denying employer's request to find that, in accordance with federal policy, at-will employment should be sufficient consideration for an arbitration agreement.
| Courts are often asked by plaintiffs’ counsel to admit evidence of other similar incidents (OSI) in order to show a defendant’s knowledge of an alleged defect, and/or causation. Plaintiffs have used this approach to tap into the power of strength in numbers and will typically seek to introduce evidence of as many “similar” incidents as a trial court will allow. Although the law allows for the introduction of this type of evidence…
| The United States Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that the Hague Convention, on the service of judicial documents abroad, permits service by mail if the receiving country has not objected to service by mail and service by mail is authorized under otherwise-applicable law.
| The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that the attorney-client privilege protects a party from being required to disclose that her attorney referred her to treating doctors.
| Earlier this week, Governor Eric Greitens signed Missouri HB 153 into law. HB 153, which supplants Missouri's existing expert witness standard with that set forth in Federal Rules of Evidence 702, 703, 704 and 705, effectively submits expert testimony in most civil and criminal case to the analysis set forth in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
| Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.
| The Missouri Court of Appeals rules that a worker may owe an independent duty of care to a co-worker, which is separate and distinct from her employer's non-delegable duties.
| A Missouri plaintiff did not irrevocably waive the protections of the work product doctrine simply by designating an expert witness and then withdrawing the designation without disclosing the expert’s analysis or conclusions.
| On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Green v. Brennan in order to resolve a split among the Circuits on whether, in an action for constructive discharge, the 45-day limitation period for the employee to initiate contact with the EEOC begins to run after the employer's last discriminatory act, or at the time of the employee's resignation.
| 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 its current state, the MMPA has allowed consumers to collect substantial verdicts in cases that have strayed from the original intent of lawmakers. SB793 hopes to restore a balance that requires not only that businesses act fairly, but also that consumers act reasonably.
| While a Kansas court may grant relief from a final judgment based on excusable neglect, it is an abuse of discretion to grant that relief when the party seeking that relief has failed either to explain what facts constituted excusable neglect or to provide any evidence to support that claim.
| The Eighth Circuit recently analyzed the application of the “outside sales” and “administrative” exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act in the context of promotional workers. Also, the Court was asked to decide, for the first time, what constitutes a valid waiver of an employee’s rights under the FLSA.
| A defendant removing a case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act need not provide evidence proving the jurisdictional amount in controversy in the notice of removal. A "short and plain statement of the grounds for removal" is sufficient.
| K.S.A. 60-19a02 has been amended, increasing Kansas's long-standing cap on non-economic damages (pain and suffering) recoverable in personal injury. K.S.A. 60-456(b) has also been amended to mirror the requirements for the admissibility of expert testimony set forth in Fed. R. Evid. 702.
| Experts are not required to rule out all possible causes when performing the differential etiology analysis if the experts have properly ruled in the alleged cause.
| A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.
| Based on its adoption of a statutory scheme of comparative negligence, Kansas has abolished common law assumption of the risk as a bar to recovery. Simmons v. Porter, 298 Kan. 299, 312 P3d 345, 355 (Kan. 2013).
| The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.
| It is now incumbent upon defense counsel to conduct discovery regarding plaintiff's insurance coverage, and plead the new statute as a defense where appropriate. The new law, however, may face challenges from plaintiffs' counsel on state constitutional grounds.
| Exactly when, during the course of a state court class action, that case may have become removable to federal court, can be a tricky question. Defendants must act within 30 days from when it can "first be ascertained that the case is one which is or has become removable", or forfeit their right to remove. On the other hand, if the court deems a removal premature, the case may be remanded.