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Construction, Fidelity & SuretyView Practice as PDF

Attorneys practicing in this area are very experience representing clients in every aspect of construction, fidelity, and surety law. We have extensive knowledge of all types of contract surety bonds, financial institution bonds, probate bonds, motor vehicle dealers bonds and virtually all other types of bonds, in addition to commercial liability policies and employee dishonesty policies.

BSCR attorneys in this practice group have represented general contractors, subcontractors, owners and design professionals in connection with all phases of construction. Our attorneys have extensive experience advising clients on the drafting of nearly every form of document used in the fidelity and surety industry, including: financing documents; construction escrow agreements; construction contracts and subcontracts; general and special conditions; and joint venture and partnering agreements. In addition, our firm has considerable experience in the preparation, filing and defending of mechanic’s liens.

When a claim arises, we very efficiently begin an analysis and investigation, drawing on our skills analyzing records related to contract balances, pending claims, job site conditions, percentage of work completed or to be completed, in addition to the handling, rebidding or reletting of terminated contracts. We frequently conduct these investigations with outside consultants selected by our clients. We have helped prepare and defend simple and complex construction claims.

Our firm has extensive experience representing clients when disputes arise, including in the bankruptcy context, in actions to obtain non-dischargability, and in a number of adversary proceedings. In addition to representing clients at trials, and in arbitrations and mediations, our attorneys have negotiated numerous settlements of fidelity, surety and construction claims. Several of our attorneys have served as arbitrators or mediators in connection with fidelity, surety or construction claims.

For more information about our Fidelity & Surety practice contact James Scott Kreamer or John Watt in Kansas City at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, contact Rob Chandler or Josh Davis at 314.345.5000.

News & Events

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 ...

John Watt Named 2020 ALFA International Construction Program Co-Chair

08.21.18 | 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 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...


BSCR Obtains Jury Verdict for Insurance Client in Breach of Contract Action

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...

Judgment Obtained for Clients in Mechanic's Lien Case

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 prevails on appeal of a construction injury claim.

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...

Summary Judgment Entered in Favor of BSCR Client in Construction Accident Claim

Summary Judgment was granted in favor of BSCR'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. . .

Dismissal Obtained for Surety Client in Bond Claim

BSCR obtained dismissal of client Old Republic Surety in a case involving a claim on a public official bond pending in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Northern Division. . .

Directed Verdict Obtained for Surety Client on Construction Defect Claim

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. . .

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. . .

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. . .

Blog Posts

Missouri Court of Appeals Upholds Acceptance Doctrine to Absolve General Contractor of Premises Liability

04.21.17 | 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.

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.

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.

Appeals Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Landowner on Premises Liability Claim, Allows Negligence Claim to go Forward

11.30.15 | 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.

Missouri Merchandising Practices Act Bars Certain New Home Construction Claims

11.30.15 | 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

Daubert Standard Arrives in Kansas Courtrooms

10.24.14 | 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.

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.