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Our experienced and aggressive litigators understand the insurance business; we have been defending the insurance industry and its insureds since our firm was founded in 1982. Working with clients to arrive at the best resolution, we are skilled trial lawyers but are also successful strategists when negotiated settlements or mediation are necessary.

In addition to providing litigation services for insurance companies and their insureds, we have extensive experience analyzing coverage issues, providing coverage opinions, and evaluating reservation of rights issues.

BSCR handles matters involving the following types of claims and insurance coverage issues:

  • Reinsurance and Excess
  • Comprehensive General Liability
  • Commercial and Business Disputes
  • Liability and Property
  • Life, Health and Disability
  • Professional Liability and E&O/D&O Liability
  • General Liability and Property
  • Bad Faith and Extra-Contractual Claims
  • Toxic Tort, Mass Tort and Environmental
  • Fidelity and Surety
  • Subrogation
  • EPLI
  • ERISA Litigation

Many of our attorneys are active members in prestigious professional organizations, including ALFA International’s Insurance Law Practice Group; the American Bar Association section on Tort and Insurance Law; the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM); the Defense Research Institute (DRI); the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC); and the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC).

For more information about the services we provide to the Insurance industry contact Tom Rice or Angela Higgins in Kansas City at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, contact Mike Hunter or Richard Woolf at 314.345.5000.

News & Events

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes John Kellogg to Kansas City Office

02.04.19 | 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 Welcomes Kehl Friesen to Kansas City Office

12.27.18 | 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 ...

Douglas Hill Joins Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice in Kansas City

10.04.18 | 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 ...

Shatrasha Stone Joins Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice in St. Louis

10.04.18 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Shatrasha Stone as an attorney with the firm's St. Louis office. Stone's practice is focused in litigation with an emphasis in medical malpractice, insurance litigation, personal injury defense and general liability claims. She began her legal career as...

Angela Higgins Testifies Before Missouri House Committee on Insurance Policy

01.24.18 | On January 23, 2018, Angela Higgins testified before the Missouri House Committee on Insurance Policy in support of House Bill 1406, to repeal Missouri's equitable garnishment statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. 379.200.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Promotes John Patterson to Member

01.11.18 | 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...

Angela Higgins Testifies Before Missouri House Committee on Insurance Policy

03.07.17 | On February 28, 2017, Angela Higgins testified before the Missouri House Committee on Insurance Policy in support of House Bill 784, to repeal Missouri's equitable garnishment statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. 379.200.

Thomas Rice Serves as Co-Chair of EPL/PL Program Hosted by ALFA International

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice is serving as co-chair of the upcoming program ”Enlightening The EPL/PL World” jointly hosted by ALFA International’s Insurance Law, Labor & Employment, and Professional Liability Practice Groups. A Steering Committee Member of the Insurance Law, Professional Liability and Labor & Employment Practice Groups, Mr. Rice is serving as co-chair on behalf of the Insurance Practice Group...

Thomas Rice Serves as Moderator For Cyber Liability and Data Breach Panel

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice will moderate a panel on cyber liability and data breaches in the workforce and related legal and ethical considerations for in-house counsel, corporate risk management and law firms. Panel members feature representatives from three different insurance companies with cyber liability expertise plus an attorney from ALFA International’s Los Angeles, California member firm...

Thomas Rice Serving as Course Book Editor for Upcoming ALFA International Program

03.18.16 | Thomas Rice is serving as course book editor for the insurance track of the upcoming program "Enlightening the EPL/PL World" jointly hosted by ALFA International's Insurance Law, Labor & Employment, and Professional Liability Practice Groups.

Kreamer to Serve as Dean of Litigation Management Conference

06.07.13 | Scott Kreamer will serve as the Dean of the Litigation Management College which takes place at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, June 9-13. . .

Rice to Co-Chair ALFA Joint Practice Group Seminar

07.20.11 | Thomas Rice is the program co-chair for the June 2012 ALFA seminar to be jointly sponsored by the Insurance, Professional Liability and Labor & Employment practice groups.

Rice Contributes Chapters to DRI and PLAC Publications

05.24.10 | Tom Rice is a contributing editor for the Missouri, Illinois and Kansas chapters of the 2010 DRI Insurance Bad Faith Compendium. Also, Tom is a contributing editor for the Missouri chapter of the 2010 PLAC Jury Instruction Handbook.


Accurate Case Assessment at Mediation and Positive Trial Outcome

BSCR successfully defended a bad faith insurance claim in Missouri state court. Mediated shortly before trial, we evaluated the settlement value of the claim at $225,000 and offered that amount at the mediation. Prior to mediation...

BSCR scores U.S. Supreme Court win in preemption case

BSCR’s health insurer client was sued in Missouri state court in 2011, by a plaintiff who suffered injuries in a car accident. Plaintiff was a federal government employee, whose insurance program fell under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA), a statute with

Appellate Victory on Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Stacking Claim

BSCR obtained a favorable appellate ruling affirming summary judgment for our insurer client in an uninsured motorist coverage case. In that case, an employee’s claim against his co-employee was excluded from the liability policy’s coverage.

Judgment Obtained for Client in Contractual Dispute

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. . .

Summary Judgment Entered In Favor of BSCR Insurance Client

BSCR obtained summary judgment in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri in a $1 million declaratory judgment and equitable contribution action brought against an insurance client (the professional liability E&O insurer for an elevator inspector whose negligent inspection of a grain mill manlift resulted in the death of a firefighter) by another insurer (the CGL insurer for the elevator inspector). The summary judgment in favor of our client was affirmed on appeal.

Defense of Fidelity & Surety Client Results in Summary Judgment

BSCR's defense of a notary in a Clay County, Missouri action resulted in summary judgment in favor of our client, the fidelity and surety insurer of the notary. In this case, plaintiff sought to recover under a notarial bond issued by our client to insure faithful performance of its principal, a notary. . .

Eighth Circuit Affirms District Court's Grant of Summary Judgment for BSCR Insurance Client

The Eighth Circuit affirmed entry of summary judgment in favor of an insurance client in a Kansas City federal court case. The Eighth Circuit found that the federal court did not err in concluding that the agreement in question had a "follow-the-settlements" provision; did not err in finding another state's six-year limitations period barred plaintiff's challenges to claims submitted by defendant; nor did it err in finding the statute had not been tolled. . .

BSCR Obtains Favorable Trial Result for Insurance Client

BSCR defended the insured of an insurance client in a week-long trial in Jackson County (Independence), Missouri. The case involved allegations of vehicular negligence and road rage. . .

Blog Posts

Hopping On the Missouri Bandwagon? Not So Fast Out of State Litigants.

03.18.19 | 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.

City of St. Louis - Still A Judicial Hellhole

12.26.18 | 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.

Amended Missouri Interpleader Statute Tackles the Multiple Claimants, Insufficient Limits Problem

08.13.18 | The Missouri legislature has enacted amendments to our state's interpleader statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. s. 507.060, which address one of the most vexatious problems in claims handling - multiple claimants with insufficient policy limits to fully resolve each claim against the insured. House Bill 1531 was signed by the governor on June 1, and will become effective August 28, 2018.

Amendments to 537.065 Providing for Notice to the Insurer and Intervention as of Right to be Applied Prospectively Only

07.25.18 | Missouri's Western District has held 2017 amendments to 537.065 mandating insurers have notice and an opportunity to intervene as of right when an insured enters into a 537.065 agreement apply prospectively only to agreements executed after the effective date of the amendment, August 28, 2017.

Missouri Upholds Pollution Exclusion to Relieve Insurance Company from Duty to Defend Toxic Tort Claims Arising from Industrial Pollution

11.27.17 | In a recent decision, the Missouri Supreme Court for the first time considered the meaning and application of a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability policy, landing unanimously on the side of the insurance company in favor of denying coverage to the insured.

Eighth Circuit Upholds Denial of Benefits Under ERISA-governed Insurance Policy

10.10.17 | The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Donaldson v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburg, recently upheld the denial of benefits under an ERISA-governed insurance policy because the plan administrator's interpretation of the disputed policy language was found to be reasonable.

Timing of Changes to 537.065 Agreements and the Bad Faith Setup in Missouri

07.13.17 | On July 5, 2017, Missouri Governor Greitens signed legislation that substantially reforms insurance bad faith litigation by amending Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.065, and enacting a new statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. 537.068. This article addresses the specific changes and their effective dates.

You've Got Mail - Service of Process by Mail is Satisfactory under the Hague Service Convention

05.30.17 | 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.

Insurance Bad Faith Litigation Reform is Sweeping into Missouri

05.05.17 | The Missouri legislature has recently voted to overhaul Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.065, in legislation that Governor Greitens is expected to sign. Sweeping changes that should significantly reform bad faith litigation are in store.

Court Muzzles Counsel: Says Defendants Cannot Ask Plaintiffs if Their Attorneys Referred Them to Treating Physicians

04.27.17 | 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.

The Daubert Standard - Coming Soon to a Missouri Court Near You

03.31.17 | 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).

Federal Judges Blow Their Stacks Over Boilerplate Objections

03.27.17 | Within a two-week period, two federal judges issued strongly worded orders denouncing the common practice of asserting boilerplate objections to written discovery.

Employees: Yes, You Can Owe Duties To Your Co-Employees

03.22.17 | 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.

Missouri Supreme Court Addresses Insurer Intervention, Garnishment Proceedings and Bad Faith Findings

12.20.16 | In a recent opinion, the Missouri Supreme Court addressed the timing for an insurer's intervention in a case involving a Section 537.065 between the plaintiff and an insured, as well as the more-than-bare-bones showing required for a finding of insurer bad faith.

Mere Designation of an Expert Witness Does Not Waive the Work Product Doctrine Protections

11.02.16 | 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.

Constructive Discharge Claims: When Does the 45-Day Period for Initiating Contact with the EEOC Begin to Run?

06.08.16 | 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.

A CGL Policy May Provide A Duty To Defend Data Breach Claims - 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision

04.14.16 | The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a commercial general liability policy (CGL) may cover a data breach, at least for the purposes of a duty to defend. In a case involving the publication of private medical records on the internet, the federal appellate court agreed with the lower federal district court in Virginia that coverage included in a CGL for personal and advertising injury applied.

Insuring Companies from Cyber Risk and Liability

04.01.16 | Recently, privacy, data breaches, and cyber security issues have taken center stage in the media. In the event of a data breach, a company faces a multitude of expenses both internally and externally including but not limited to investigation, business loss, and remediation. Companies are responding to the risk of data breach events, in part, by seeking insurance coverage.

8th Circuit Denies UIM Coverage Again Based Upon Mo. Supreme Court Decision in Rodriguez v. General Accident Insurance Company

01.05.16 | For a third time in four years, the 8th Circuit has denied UIM coverage to an insured based upon the Missouri Supreme Court's decision in Rodriguez v. General Accident Insurance Company of America. In Amco Insurance Company v. Judith Williams, et al., the 8th Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment pursuant to Rodriguez despite the insured's efforts to discredit the decision based upon contrary recent Missouri Court of Appeals decisions.

Missouri Supreme Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Business General Liability Insurer

05.26.15 | 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.

Class Actions Based on Wrongful Application Of Labor Depreciation In Property Insurance Claims Are Active In Missouri

04.10.15 | Three separate class actions have been filed in Missouri challenging how depreciation is used in calculating the actual cash value of property damage under homeowners and commercial property insurance policies.

The Missouri Court of Appeals clarifies who will be considered a "sophisticated commercial entity", for purposes of enforcing contract language limiting liability

04.09.15 | It has long been thegeneral rule in Missouri that for a party to contractually release itself from or limit liability for its own future negligence, the language in the contract must be clear, unequivocal, conspicuous and must explicitly include the word "negligence" or "fault." However, when the contract is negotiated at arm's length between "sophisticated commercial entities", a party can release itself from or limit liability with less precise language.

The Eighth Circuit Provides Clarity on Outside Sales Exemption and Waiver Requirements under FLSA

04.01.15 | 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.

The Supreme Court's Jurisdictional Stretch in Resolving the Evidence Needed to Support a CAFA Removal

01.06.15 | 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.

Developments in Missouri Bad Faith Law: Scottsdale Insurance

12.16.14 | The bad faith environment in Missouri is generally hostile to carriers, with marked movement toward plaintiffs in the last ten years. The Missouri Supreme Court has now issued a ruling in Scottsdale Ins. v. Addison Ins. Co., Case No. SC93792 (on transfer from the Western District Court of Appeals) which will have a significant, and generally negative, impact on the landscape of bad faith liability in Missouri.

The Missouri Supreme Court Rules That Parties May Have a Duty as a "Joint Employer" With Its Contractors Pursuant to the Missouri Minimum Wage Law

09.19.14 | 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.

Frying the Frye Test and Increasing the Caps: New Amendments to Kansas Civil Actions and Civil Procedure

07.11.14 | 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.

Workers' Compensation + Retaliation + Missouri Supreme Court adopts the "contributing factor" standard

04.22.14 | 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.

Kansas abolishes assumption of the risk defense.

04.21.14 | 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).

A mundane lesson from an important decision, or, the importance of presenting evidence

03.20.14 | The plaintiff has the burden of proving standing, which is a jurisdictional issue that can be raised at any time.

Who is the "Insured" in a UM Wrongful Death Claim: UM Exclusions Limiting Stacking Following Floyd-Tunnell v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co.

03.13.14 | Even under a "potential liability" standard, there is no liability coverage for a settlement where the applicable law does not recognize the claim as a viable cause of action.

No Signed Settlement Necessary, Except When It Is

02.25.14 | In Kansas, the parties bind themselves to an enforceable settlement, even though the parties contemplate subsequent execution of a formal instrument. However, when the parties specifically condition a contract on it being reduced to writing and signed, there is no enforceable contract until such act is accomplished.

Supreme Court to Rule on Challenges to the "Contraceptive Mandate" of the Affordable Care Act

12.19.13 | The high court is expected to resolve a circuit split on whether the owners of privately held secular companies, who oppose offering contraception-related benefits on religious grounds, may challenge these mandatory coverage requirements under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Insurance Reservation of Rights Letters in Kansas

07.17.13 | A reservation of rights letter informs the insured of the carrier's potential defenses to coverage under the policy. The following is a brief overview of some of the requirements for ROR letters in Kansas.

Missouri Allows the Formation of "Rent-A-Captive" Insurers

06.19.13 | New Missouri laws taking effect on August 28, 2013 will allow the creation of "rent-a-captive" insurers and revise existing captive insurance laws to be more favorable to captive formation. This marks an aggressive move by Missouri to muscle in on the captive insurance market.

Insurance Reservation of Rights Letters in Missouri

06.05.13 | A reservation of rights letter informs the insured of the carrier's potential defenses to coverage under the policy. The following is a brief overview of some of the requirements for ROR letters in Missouri. As always, please contact a licensed and qualified attorney for recommendations specific to your circumstances. . .

Missouri Court of Appeals Applies "All Sums" Doctrine and Reinstates $62M verdict Against Lloyd's of London

04.19.13 | On April 16, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District reinstated a jury verdict against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London for $62.5 million under various excess liability policies issued to Doe Run Resources Corporation ("Doe Run"), a lead mining and smelting company operating in St. Francois County, Missouri, related to environmental remediation efforts by the company.

Recent Missouri Western District Appellate Case Restores Prior Law that Authorizes Exclusion of Co-Employee Claims Under Auto Liability Policies

03.13.13 | Auto liability carriers often field claims by one employee of an insured policyholder against another employee. It has long been a rule in Missouri that one employee is not liable to the other except for intentional conduct or. . .

Missouri's Equitable Garnishment Practice: Hope for Reversing Course?

03.04.13 | This is the fourth and final post in our series about Missouri's equitable garnishment statute. As discussed in our prior posts on this topic, § 379.200 is currently applied in circumstances never intended by the legislature or the early case law, contrary to well-established fundamentals of equity jurisprudence, and with tremendous burdens falling primarily upon auto liability insurers who operate in the state. . .

The Burdens Imposed by Missouri Equitable Garnishment Practice

01.07.13 | Aside from the technical and traditional objections to allowing a proceeding in equity where garnishment at law is appropriate, Missouri's equitable garnishment statute imposes a number of burdens upon insurers and insureds alike. As discussed in our prior posts on this topic, the current state of practice with respect to Missouri's equitable garnishment statute is inconsistent with both the legislative intent and the early history of opinions construing the statute, and today we will explore some of the unnecessary harm that results from more recent jurisprudence. . .

What happened to the "equity" component of Missouri's equitable garnishment statute?

12.21.12 | Equity is a jurisprudential concept brought to America by the English colonists, and traces its roots and defining principles back centuries to the time when the King or Queen of England ruled over the courts at law, and the church administered justice in equity. The fundamental premise of equity is that an equitable remedy will not be available if the plaintiff has a cause of action at law. . .

Raiders of the Obsolete Statute: Equitable Garnishment in Missouri

12.10.12 | Imagine the intrepid archaeologist who reaches through a century's worth of cobwebs to grab a long-sought relic, only to be chased from the temple by a rolling stone ball of doom. You will have some appreciation for the absurdity of Missouri's equitable garnishment action, a curious relic of an era that predates modern insurance law, and which is fraught with peril for insurers. . .