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What sets BSCR apart in the area of medical professional liability is twofold: We are well-versed in medical issues and terminology; and, from the moment we become involved in a case, we proceed as if our client will be going to trial. If the client decides otherwise, our investigation and expert witness retention efforts will put them in the best possible position to negotiate on their terms. But our overarching philosophy is to vigorously defend those we represent from beginning to end.

That philosophy comes from decades of experience trying cases on behalf of physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers. Our attorneys have dedicated themselves to understanding complex scientific issues that drive each case as well as arranging for top-flight experts to assist in the effective defense of each claim.

Our attorneys are dedicated to studying and understanding, among other scientific issues, evidence-based medicine and physiology, extending to issues related to drugs and medical devices. This dedication gives our attorneys nuanced insight to tackle any number of cases involving a wide variety of medical conditions and facts. Only with such focused attention to detail can the legal, standard-of-care questions be brought into focus.

We have medical professionals on staff invaluable in guiding us in our fact investigation and medical research, ensuring that no stone is left unturned and no viable defense is overlooked. We are thorough so whether the defense emphasizes compliance with the professional standard of care or a lack of medical causation, or both, we are in a position to provide the best defense available under the circumstances of the case. 

The result is an excellent record of successfully defending medical malpractice cases in the Kansas City and St. Louis Metropolitan Areas, and throughout Illinois, Kansas and Missouri.

In addition to individual doctors, hospitals, and nurses, BSCR has represented: 

  • Physician groups
  • Pharmacists and pharmacies
  • Nursing homes
  • Allied health professionals
  • Healthcare systems

Our attorneys also represent healthcare providers before state regulatory boards and in their relationships with local hospitals and other healthcare institutions. 

For more information about our Medical Malpractice practice contact Hal Meltzer or Suzanne Billam in Kansas City at 816.471.2121. In St. Louis, contact Paul Venker or John Mahon at 314.345.5000.

News & Events

Baker Sterchi Welcomes Ashtyn Kean and Kyra Short in St. Louis

10.29.19 | Ashtyn Kean and Kyra Short join Baker Sterchi's St. Louis office as associates. Kean's practice is devoted to the defense of physicians, nurses, hospitals, extended care facilities and other healthcare professionals in...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes Kathryn Huelsebusch in St. Louis

06.03.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Kathryn Huelsebusch to the firm's St. Louis office. Huelsebusch, who joins the firm as Of Counsel, represents hospitals, physicians, nurses, long term care facilities, home health care providers, and other healthcare entities throughout Missouri and Illinois. She also...

Terrence O'Toole Approved for Membership in the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel

05.22.19 | 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).

Andreea Sharkey Joins St. Louis Office of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

04.08.19 | 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.

Katie Davies Joins Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice in St. Louis

12.07.18 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Katie Davies as an attorney in the firm's St. Louis office. Davies' primary practice with the firm will be medical malpractice, complex commercial litigation, and general liability defense.

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...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes Brandy Simpson

08.31.18 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Brandy Simpson, who joins the firm's St. Louis office as Of Counsel. While she primarily focuses her practice on medical malpractice defense, Simpson is also experienced in defending premises liability, personal injury, and products liability matters.


Trial court's dismissal of hospital client upheld on appeal

In this medical negligence case involving allegations that a patient was dropped or mishandled on one or more occasion, causing significant injuries to her right femur and patella, the trial court dismissed the plaintiff's re-filed survival claim against our hospital client on statute of limitations grounds. On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District...

BSCR Obtains Jury Verdict for Hospital Client in Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Case

A twelve-person jury deliberated for four hours after an eight-day trial in St. Louis County, siding with our hospital client and our co-defendant in a wrongful death medical malpractice case brought by the parent of a 32-year old woman who died from a pulmonary embolism. At trial...

Trial of Medical Malpractice Case Results in Defense Verdict for Hospital Client

In a trial win reported by Missouri Lawyers Weekly (Volume 33, Number 7, February 18, 2019) as a 2018 Missouri Top Defense Verdict, an eight-person jury deliberated for four hours after a five-day federal court trial in the Eastern District of Missouri, unanimously siding with our hospital client and an emergency room physician sued for medical malpractice by a teenager who suffered a severe bacterial infection after a piece of a broken stick remained lodged in his leg.

Defense Verdict Secured at Trial of Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Case

In a wrongful death medical malpractice case, a St. Louis County jury returned a verdict for our clients, an emergency medicine physician and hospital nursing staff, after a five-day trial. At trial, Plaintiff claimed that the emergency medicine physician and hospital facility nursing staff wrongfully administered...

Supreme Court Appellate Decision is a Win for Healthcare Providers

In 2015, two of the firm's attorneys were involved in briefing and arguing before the Missouri Supreme Court in favor of the constitutionality of the statutory cap on non-economic damages in a medical negligence wrongful death action.

Dismissal of hospital client upheld on appeal

In a medical negligence case arising from a month-long hospitalization and significant brain injury, the trial court dismissed the case against our hospital client due to plaintiff's counsel's failure to timely re-file it after a voluntary dismissal. On appeal, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District...

Defense Verdict Secured for Hospital Client in Medical Malpractice Trial

In a medical negligence case arising from postoperative care and treatment following ankle surgery, plaintiff alleged negligent failure to timely diagnose and treat an ankle joint infection that left her with permanent and painful injuries after multiple surgical procedures and lengthy hospitalizations to treat the infection.

Judgment attained for attending obstetrician in birth injury case.

BSCR obtained a jury verdict in favor of our client, The Doctors Company, after a week-long trial. The case had been filed and dismissed on two prior occasions when BSCR attorneys were able to negate or nullify the expert testimony of plaintiffs. On the third attempt. . .

Blog Posts

First Judicial District Appellate Court of Illinois Upholds Motion for Directed Verdict in Medical Malpractice Claim

12.26.19 | Illinois Appellate Court rejected plaintiff's claim that expert testimony is required only to establish applicable standard of care upholding directed verdict in plaintiff's medical malpractice informed consent claim.

Illinois Court of Appeals Draws Careful Distinctions for Access to Mental Health Records

11.26.19 | The Illinois Court of Appeals recently weighed in on the distinction between neurological injury and psychological damage as applied to the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Confidentiality Act in Sparger v. Yamini.

The "Insurance Question" in Missouri - the Right to Ask is Not Absolute

10.30.19 | In Eoff v. McDonald, the Supreme Court of Missouri upheld a St. Louis County circuit judge's refusal to allow plaintiffs' counsel additional time during jury selection to ask the "insurance question", after counsel forgot to do so earlier when it was his turn to question potential jurors. The decision hinged on...

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: Illinois Supreme Court Upholds Decision That Res Judicata Does Not Apply to Involuntary Dismissal of Multiple Prior Complaints Spanning Ten Years

07.23.19 | Plaintiff Gerald Ward originally sued Decatur Memorial Hospital in 2009 alleging medical malpractice in the treatment of his brother who developed a post-surgery bed sore that became infected. Plaintiff alleged that...

Second Update: Hopping On The Missouri Bandwagon? Not So Fast Out Of State Litigants.

07.16.19 | 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.

Kansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Statutory Caps on Noneconomic Damages

06.17.19 | 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.

Supreme Court of Missouri Issues First-Of-Its-Kind Ruling Overturning a $2.3 Million Negligent Credentialing Verdict

06.12.19 | In Thomas E. Tharp, et al. v. St. Luke's Surgicenter – Lee's Summit, LLC, the Supreme Court of Missouri overturned a $2.3 million jury verdict in favor of a patient and his wife against a hospital, because there was no proof the hospital negligently credentialed a surgeon.

Update: Hopping on the Missouri Bandwagon? Not so Fast Out-of-State Litigants.

05.20.19 | 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.

Illinois Appellate Court Affirms Double Whammy Dismissal of Medical Negligence Case Based on Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose

05.06.19 | The Illinois First District Appellate Court recently affirmed a Cook County Circuit Court's dismissal of a medical negligence action as time-barred by both the statute of limitations and the statute of repose. In reaching its decision, the appellate court relied upon long-standing Illinois case law as to when a medical negligence action accrues in a wrongful death action.

In a case of first impression, the Appellate Court of Illinois allows counsel to withdraw previously disclosed testifying expert

04.12.19 | The Illinois Appellate Court, First District, held that a party may timely withdraw a previously disclosed testifying expert and redesignate said expert as a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant entitled to the consultant's privilege against disclosure absent exceptional circumstances.

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.

Missouri Court of Appeals Rules Venue Proper Only in County Where Decedent First Ingested Opioid Pain Medication and Not Where Drug Prescribed

02.21.19 | In State ex rel. Mylan Bertek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Vincent, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, held that, in a case alleging wrongful death, medical malpractice, and pharmaceutical liability, venue was proper only in the county where the decedent first ingested opioid pain medication, rather than the county where a defendant prescribed it.

Despite 2017 Amendment to Statute, Court of Appeals Holds Section 490.715 Fails to Preclude Evidence of "Charged" Amounts of Medical Expenses at Trial

01.29.19 | Court effectively negates statutory amendment intended to limit trial evidence to the actual cost of medical care.

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.

Missouri Supreme Court Explains Some Ground Rules for Using Multiple Experts

10.30.18 | The Missouri Supreme Court has firmly upheld the right of a party to present multiple expert witnesses during the trial of a medical malpractice case. Shallow v. Follwell, 554 S.W.3d 878 (Mo. banc 2018). The Supreme Court disagreed with the Court of Appeals' decision in the case, and instead...

Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District Judges Disagree Regarding Substantial Compliance and Affidavit of Merit Statute in Med Mal Case

08.06.18 | In Ferder v. Scott, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District (opinion authored by Judge Robert G. Dowd, Jr.). reversed a trial court's dismissal of a medical malpractice lawsuit for failure to comply with the affidavit of merit requirement in s. 538.225, RSMo.

Medical Malpractice: Missouri's Health Care Affidavit Statute is Constitutional - Comply or Face Dismissal

06.22.18 | When will plaintiffs learn? In Hink v. Helfrich, the Missouri Supreme Court has recently added yet another to a long line of Missouri decisions upholding constitutional validity of the health care affidavit requirement for medical negligence actions, and strictly construing the mandatory statutory language.

How Many is Too Many? Limiting Cumulative Expert Witness Testimony

11.03.17 | A Missouri trial court abused its discretion by permitting four expert witnesses to echo the defense's theory of alternative causation without requiring that each expert witness' opinions be limited to his area of expertise. Courts must adhere to the principles regarding legally relevant evidence, and preclude cumulative evidence in doing so.

Deficient Affidavit in Medical Malpractice Action May Be Cured at Probable Cause Hearing

08.24.17 | R.S.Mo. § 538.225 requires a medical malpractice plaintiff to file an affidavit stating that he or she has obtained the opinion of a legally qualified health care provider that defendant’s negligence caused the alleged damages. A plaintiff who has furnished a deficient affidavit may cure the deficiency and avoid dismissal through the testimony of a legally qualified health care provider at the court’s probable cause hearing.

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.

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.

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.

UPDATE: Capped & Constitutional

06.08.16 | In a revised opinion issued on May 24, 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court continues to uphold the constitutionality of the $350k non-economic damages cap, pursuant to Mo.Rev.Stat. §538.210, in wrongful death cases, and to focus on the distinction between statutory and common law claims; but expands its analysis of the equal protection challenge raised by plaintiff

Capped & Constitutional

05.06.16 | The Missouri Supreme Court, in a split decision, upholds the constitutionality of the $350k non-economic damages cap, pursuant to Mo.Rev.Stat. §538.210 in wrongful death case, recognizing the distinction between statutory and common law claims.

Supreme Court of Missouri Holds Patient's Family Could Not Sue Physician for Wrongful Death, but Patient's Personal Representative Could Have Brought Action for Medical Negligence

04.19.16 | The Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc, vacated a trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of a physician and remanded the case, because the allegations in the petition stated a cause of action for medical negligence that would have been actionable under sec. 537.020, RSMo (Missouri's "survivorship" statute) if brought by the patient's personal representative.

Kansas Court of Appeals Upholds Noneconomic Damages Cap Again

03.28.16 | 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.

"Excusable neglect" is a real standard requiring real evidence (Updated 01.04.2016)

01.04.16 | 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.

A Declined Invitation, But Does An Open Door Still Remain?

11.18.15 | In Lang v. Goldsworthy, a case decided by the Missouri Supreme Court on October 13, 2015, Plaintiffs, consisting of family members who filed a wrongful death action alleging negligent chiropractic services of a health care provider that allegedly caused the death of their relative, unsuccessfully attempted to challenge the constitutionality of Mo. Rev. Stat. § 538.225, generally known as the "health affidavit" statute.

Supreme Court of Missouri Upholds Health Care Affidavit Statute for Medical Malpractice Claims

10.13.15 | The Supreme Court of Missouri, en banc, affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a wrongful death action premised on medical malpractice because the plaintiffs failed to file the health care affidavit required by § 538.225, RSMo.

Missouri Court of Appeals - Western District Upholds Missouri Statute Requiring Plaintiff to Submit a Health Care Affidavit of Merit in Support of a Medical Malpractice Action

05.26.15 | The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, affirmed a trial court decision dismissing a plaintiff's medical negligence action, without prejudice, for failure to comply with §538.225, RSMo, the statute requiring a medical malpractice plaintiff to file an affidavit stating plaintiff has obtained a written opinion from a qualified health care provider in support of the claim's merit.

Missouri enacts new medical malpractice damage cap law

05.12.15 | On March 27, 2015, we informed our readers of the possibility that caps in medical malpractice damages might return to Missouri. As of May 7, 2015, caps are back in play. Recently, the House of Representatives passed the Senate damage cap bill by 125 to 27 vote, and sent it to Governor Jay Nixon for signature.

Supreme Court of Missouri Upholds 10-Year Statute of Repose for Foreign-Object Medical Malpractice Claims

04.28.15 | Missouri, en banc, affirmed a trial court's decision to dismiss a plaintiff's foreign-object medical malpractice claim against a health care provider for leaving foreign objects in the patient's abdomen during surgery almost 14 years earlier.

Are Caps Coming Back?

03.27.15 | In 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled in the case of Watts v. Cox Medical Center that the previously enacted tort reform statutory cap on medical malpractice damages was unconstitutional as it violated a plaintiff's right to trial by jury. From time to time, bills have been brought before the State bodies in an attempt to try and reinstate caps; however, no effort has been successful or serious until now.

State's "Right to Try" Legislation Hangs Drug and Device Manufacturers Out to Dry.

01.20.15 | Kansas has joined a short, but growing, list of states introducing legislation purporting to give terminally ill patients the option to try drug treatments not yet approved by the FDA, but which have passed Phase One FDA testing. However, the legislation does not incentivize any manufacturer to provide such drugs and in fact potentially exposes a manufacturer who does provide access to additional risk of lawsuits.

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.

ACOG and Permanent Brachial Plexus Injuries at Birth

07.07.14 | After sitting on the sidelines for years the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has released a comprehensive medical review that deals a fatal blow to claims that permanent injuries are definitive evidence of error by the delivering physician.

In a differential etiology, experts need not rule out all possible causes

06.23.14 | 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.

Medical Malpractice: Strict Compliance with the Missouri Health Care Affidavit Statute is a Must

06.16.14 | Medical malpractice plaintiffs must comply with the Health Care Affidavit statute (Mo.Rev.Stat. 538.225), or face dismissal.

Punitive Damages Part 1: Don't Get Caught Flat-Footed

04.29.14 | A Kansas plaintiff may amend their pleadings to assert punitive damages up until the day of the pretrial conference.

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.

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.

Kansas Supreme Court Upholds Noneconomic Damages Cap

10.29.12 | In October of 2012, the Kansas Supreme Court resolved four constitutional questions and upheld the noneconomic damages cap of $250,000 in personal injury actions contained in K.S.A. 60-19a02. In Miller v. Johnson, 289 P.3d 1098 (Kan. 2012), a patient brought a medical malpractice action against a physician who mistakenly removed patient's left ovary during a surgery intended to take the right ovary. . .

Missouri Supreme Court Decision on Non-Economic Damage Caps

10.04.12 | Supreme Court of Missouri issued an opinion in Deborah Watts as Next Friend for Naython Kayne Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Centers d/b/a/ Family Care Center, Lester E. Cox Medical Centers, Melissa R. Hermann, M.D., Matthew P. Green, D.O., and William S. Kelly, M.D. holding that RSMo 538.210, which caps non-economic damages, is unconstitutional, as it violates the right to trial by jury. . .

Missouri Supreme Court Holds Non-Economic Damage Cap Is Unconstitutional in Medical Negligence Claim

01.05.12 | The Missouri Supreme Court in a 4 to 3 decision held that section 538.210 RSMo 2000 is unconstitutional to the extent that it infringes on the jury's constitutionally protected purpose of determining the amount of damages sustained by an injured party. The Court further held...