BSCR trial lawyers work closely with clients in the construction industry, helping them find practical solutions by carefully analyzing claims, negotiating agreements and representing them at trial, if necessary. We have extensive experience representing owners, developers, general and specialty contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, lenders, insurers, sureties and other entities in connection with all stages of construction.
When a claim arises, our attorneys are particularly skilled at analyzing the issues efficiently by examining contract balances, pending claims, job site conditions, percentage of work completed, and, issues related to contracts.
In adversarial proceedings, we are effective advocates in many forums, including in arbitrations and mediations, negotiated settlements and in courtroom contests. Our attorneys have experience defending a broad range of disputes, including those involving claims of defective workmanship or design, warranty breaches, delay or disruption, and cumulative impact.
Our attorneys also provide skilled services to construction industry clients in the areas of surety, commercial litigation, employment and labor, personal injury defense, product liability and premises liability. We have extensive experience defending matters for construction equipment manufacturers.
Our attorneys are active members of professional organizations related to the construction industry. These include the American Bar Association FSLC Construction Law Committee, National Bond Claim Association, and ALFA Construction Practice Group.
For more information about the services we provide to the Construction industry contact James Scott Kreamer or John Watt in Kansas City at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, contact Richard Woolf or Martha Charepoo at 314.345.5000.
News & Events
| Jennifer Maloney has joined the St. Louis office of the law firm of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC as a Member. Maloney's practice is focused on civil litigation defense, primarily in the areas of premises liability, product liability, personal injury and transportation.
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Jessica Cozart to the firm's St. Louis office. Cozart joins the firm as Of Counsel, practicing in the areas of property and casualty litigation, insurance coverage and insurance defense involving claims of personal injury, premise and products liability, construction defects, food & beverage liability and entertainment & leisure liability.
| 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 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 John Kellogg to the firm's Kansas City office. Kellogg joins the firm as Of Counsel, practicing in the areas of premises liability, construction law, personal injury and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on...
| 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 ...
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Dylan Murray as an attorney in the firm's Kansas City office. Murray has represented U.S. and international corporate clients in both federal and state courts in a variety of practice areas for more than 20 years, including commercial, tort, product liability, pharmaceutical, medical device, and construction litigation.
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Douglas Hill as an attorney with the firm's Kansas City office. Hill is an experienced litigator, managing a diverse civil defense practice that includes professional negligence, product liability, industrial and job site injuries, and general business litigation. He has extensive experience representing ...
| John Watt has been named the 2020 Program Co-Chair of the ALFA International Construction Practice Group's biennial seminar. As Program Co-Chair, Watt's duties and responsibilities will include...
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to announce the promotion of John Patterson to Member effective January 1, 2018. Patterson practices in the areas of product liability, employment, construction/fidelity and surety, financial services litigation, premises liability...
Our client, a Fortune 100 manufacturer of construction equipment, was sued in the Superior Court of Lake County, Indiana with allegations that one of its products was defective in both design and manufacture. The plaintiff contended...
BSCR attorneys successfully defended a client against a multimillion-dollar tort claim in Missouri State Court. The case involved a negligence claim with regard to a construction site accident, where plaintiff suffered a broken back and crushed ankle.
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice obtained a verdict in favor of client Western Surety Company on a breach of contract action against T&L Zarda, LLC, Tim Zarda and Lisa Zarda. The case arose out of the Zardas’ request that Western Surety Company issue a development bond guaranteeing...
After a week-long trial in a St. Louis area court,Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice won a defense verdict for a flooring subcontractor client in an asbestos-related case in which our client was sued by its general contractor for $1.2 million in damages...
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...
Plaintiff, an employee of a second tier sub-contractor, appealed the granting of summary judgment in favor of our clients, the general contractor and first tier sub-contractor on a project at the University of Missouri Kansas City...
We obtained dismissal for our client, a general contractor, in an asbestos action filed in Madison County, Illinois. Plaintiff alleged the general contractor either manufactured products with asbestos or exposed plaintiff to asbestos fibers during his employment.. . .
We obtained summary judgment in favor of a Construction Manager on University of Illinois project. Two electricians brought separate actions alleging damages for personal injuries sustained in an arc flash on the project. . .
The Eastern District of Missouri affirmed judgment in favor of subcontractor in a negligence claim brought by an employee of another subcontractor working on a Washington University project. . .
BSCR obtained summary judgment on behalf of a General Contractor, Subcontractor, and Subcontractor’s Employee, on a multi-million dollar claim made by an ironworker who claimed to have been injured on a universty project. . .
Summary Judgment was granted in favor of Baker Sterchi's client in a case involving a bricklayer contractor injuring himself when he slipped into a plumbing ditch dug by a different contractor on the project. Plaintiff sued the second contractor on the project for failing to barricade and/or flag the ditch. . .
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. . .
A decision from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict obtained by BSCR in favor of its clients MacKenzie House, L.L.C. (developer) and MH Metropolitan, L.L.C., (owner) of a Kansas City apartment complex. Appellant, The Weitz Company (an Iowa-based contractor) was retained as the contractor of the apartment complex and eventually walked off the project after significant delays and cost overruns. . .
| 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.
| 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.
| The Supreme Court has issued another ruling limiting class-action claims, in favor of individual arbitration, this time finding that contractual ambiguity is no substitute for a clear expression of consent to class-wide arbitration.
| 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.
| The Illinois Supreme Court recently held that a subcontractor hired by a general contractor cannot be liable to a purchaser of a newly constructed home for breach of an implied warranty of habitability absent a direct contractual relationship with the homeowner.
| Applying Missouri Law, the Eighth Circuit confirms that when a company guarantees customer satisfaction, only to leave the customer unsatisfied, it risks not only its business reputation, but also its legal right to collect payment.
| The Eighth Circuit affirms summary judgment in an employer's favor in a disability discrimination case, where the employee's excessive absenteeism was attributed to a disability and other family medical issues.
| 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.
| In a blow to the enforceability of arbitration clauses found in many existing consumer contracts, the Missouri Supreme Court declines to appoint a substitute arbitration provider after the agreed-upon arbitration forum's "sudden and unforeseen departure" from the scene.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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 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.
| 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
| 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.
| An agent may recover attorney's fees when enforcing a principal's contract if: the agent is granted the express authority to enforce the contract in the contract itself, the contract contains an attorney's fees provision, and the agent is the prevailing party.
| 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.
| Individuals and businesses relying upon contractors to provide labor services may be exposing themselves to liability if these contractors fail to pay their employees in accordance with the Missouri Minimum Wage Law.
| 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.
| A man who sued his former employer, alleging he was discharged in retaliation for filing a workers' compensation claim, appealed on the basis that the trial court used a jury instruction with the wrong standard. In a 5-2 decision written by Judge George W. Draper III, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected the 'exclusive causation' standard and replaced it with the "contributing factor" standard. On remand and in future cases, the jury must determine whether the plaintiff's filing of a workers' compensation claim was a "contributing factor" to his or her discharge.
| 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.