The trucking industry is complex and ever evolving, subject to a maze of state and federal statutes and regulations, not to mention tort law questions. BSCR is cognizant of the significant issues facing the industry. Our firm’s trial lawyers have long been partners with members of the trucking industry, representing their interests on several fronts. We are committed to working with clients on designing risk reduction measures and implementing strategies to avoid or minimize losses in litigation through effective pretrial analysis, trial tactics mediation techniques and negotiation.
We represent leasing companies and motor carriers (LTL, long haul, and parcel) and their insurers in a wide range of matters. Our clients are interstate and intrastate companies whose presence is national, regional and local in scope. Our attorneys provide counsel on the various statutes, regulations, standards, policies, customs, and practice that are controlling in different jurisdictions.
BSCR attorneys begin preparing for the possibility of litigation from the moment an accident occurs. With a 24/7 emergency “go-to” team, our lawyers coordinate with reconstruction experts and field adjusters to get to the scene of an accident as soon after it is reported as possible. Because of the importance of gathering evidence immediately, our “go team” interviews the driver, ensures that the motor carrier complies with all federal post-accident inspection and testing protocols, arranges criminal defense counsel for the driver if necessary, takes and/or arranges for scene, vehicle and aerial photographs, vehicle inspections and data downloads, and generally assures preservation and documentation of everything that could be relevant in a future lawsuit. Such early investigation, preservation of evidence, and assessment is a critical component of a motor carrier defense today, particularly in the case of catastrophic injuries or death. Our firm is exceptionally skilled at coordinating this early investigative and evaluative process.
Adding to our extensive knowledge base, BSCR attorneys have experience in the design and manufacturing of commercial motor vehicles; diesel engine electronic control modules (ECMs) and vehicle sensing diagnostic modules (SDMs), and the retrieval, interpretation and application of data from these and other on-board recording devices that assist in the analysis of commercial motor vehicle accidents. In addition, we have experience with driver technique and response; visibility and conspicuity; vehicle maintenance; driver qualification, hiring, training, supervision, retention and discipline; hours of service and compliance reporting; drug and alcohol testing; loading and unloading; and various other aspects of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act, CSA 2010 and CARMAC.
Our attorneys also are available to represent trucking clients on business matters where transactional disputes arise between lessors, lessees, shippers, carriers, brokers and others within the transcontinental cargo distribution system; insurance matters; premises and product liability claims; and employment and labor issues involving discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination.
We act as panel counsel for a number of industry clients or their insurers. In addition, our attorneys hold prominent positions in professional organizations that have committees devoted to the trucking or transportation industry. Some of our attorneys practicing in this area are members of the steering committee of ALFA International’s Transportation Practice Group, the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA) and the Defense Research Institute (DRI) Trucking Law Committee. Our attorneys are often asked to speak about current legal issues affecting the business at industry-sponsored events and seminars.
For more information about the services we provide to the Trucking industry contact Jim Jarrow or Shawn Rogers at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, contact Richard Woolf or Josh Davis at 314.345.5000.
News & Events
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice welcomes Haley Stevenson to the firm's Kansas City office. Stevenson concentrates her practice in civil defense litigation with an emphasis in the areas of premises liability, products liability, and personal injury for the retail and trucking industries.
| Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Member Terrence O'Toole has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors for membership in the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC).
| 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 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 ...
| 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...
| 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.
| 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.
| Independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration.
| 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).
| 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.
| 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.
| A recent order of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas may be beneficial to defense practitioners fighting the so-called "reptile theory" of plaintiff's litigation, frequently aimed at trucking companies, which attempts to put the company on trial rather than litigating the circumstances of a particular accident. A targeted motion to dismiss and strike, focused upon the broad, boilerplate complaints that allege hiring, training, qualification, and supervision practices by the company and alleged violations of the FMCSA and FMSCR, may help to limit the scope of discovery and evidence sought in furtherance of the "reptile theory."
| K.S.A. § 60-19a02, establishing caps on recovery for noneconomic damages in personal injury actions, is constitutional as applied to personal injuries resulting from collisions between motor carriers and motor vehicles.
| 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.
| The Kansas Supreme Court, in Craig v. FedEx Ground Package System, clarifies the standard for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.