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Practices

Personal Injury DefenseView Practice as PDF

Our personal injury defense practice draws on BSCR’s talented attorneys and professional support staff with knowledge in medicine, healthcare and technology. With razor-sharp analytical skills, our teams are experienced handling a range of cases, from small cases to multi-million dollar matters on behalf of Fortune 100 companies.


We represent individual professionals and businesses in the health care, pharmaceutical, medical device, construction, aviation, maritime, and retail industries in defense of a wide range of claims, including accident, injury and wrongful death. We handle commercial airline accidents, construction site accidents, environmental incidents, Jones Act suits, medical malpractice cases, pharmaceutical and medical device liability, premises liability, product liability and toxic torts.

We have particular experience with high-exposure cases in which plaintiffs are seeking multi-million dollar awards, including punitive or exemplary damages. BSCR attorneys are recognized nationally for their product liability practice. We often handle class action and multidistrict litigation.

With medical professionals on staff, and with decades of experience handling cases related in some way to healthcare, we are especially skilled at parsing complicated medical information and the nuances associated with patient care and the practice of modern medicine.

BSCR counts cost efficiency as one its hallmarks. Working closely with clients to assess their goals, we establish a strategy early in the litigation process, and are skilled at handling settlement negotiations, arbitration and mediation in addition to trial.

We use state-of-the art electronic discovery techniques to cut down on the time and cost of the document review process.

BSCR attorneys have been recognized in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers in the area of personal injury defense. In addition, some of our attorneys have conducted CLE and CE seminars on issues related to the defense of personal injury claims.

For more information about our Personal Injury Defense practice contact James Scott Kreamer in Kansas City at 816.471.2121 or Mike Hunter in St. Louis at 314.345.5000.

News & Events

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes Ryan O'Grady in KC

09.19.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice welcomes Ryan O'Grady to the firm's Kansas City office. O'Grady's practice with the firm will be focused on civil defense litigation with an emphasis in the areas of personal injury defense, premises liability, and product liability.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes Haley Stevenson in KC

08.13.19 | 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.

Jessica Cozart Joins St. Louis Office of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

07.11.19 | 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.

Elizabeth Miller Joins Kansas City Office of Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

06.17.19 | Elizabeth "Betsy" Miller joins the firm's Kansas City office as a civil defense litigation associate, with an emphasis in the areas of personal injury, products liability, and class action and multidistrict litigation.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Welcomes Teresa Hurla in Kansas City

05.22.19 | Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome Teresa Hurla to the firm's Kansas City office. Hurla's practice with the firm is focused on civil defense litigation, with an emphasis in the areas of products liability and personal injury.

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).

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Adds Beasley as Member in Belleville, IL Office

05.06.19 | 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 and Rice Welcomes Julie Simaytis in St. Louis

04.25.19 | 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...

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.

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 ...

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.

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...

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.

Pete Hoffman Co-Authors Chapter on Evaluation and Settlement of Personal Injury Claims

07.10.14 | Peter Hoffman co-authored a chapter entitled “Evaluation and Settlement of Personal Injury Claims,” in the 2014 Missouri Bar Deskbook Missouri Settling Cases, which is part of the MoBarCLE Deskbook series.

Results

Baker Sterchi Obtains Jury Verdict for Retail Client in Personal Injury Matter

BSCR successfully defended a retail client in a personal injury lawsuit at a three-day trial in the Western District of Missouri. Plaintiff, whose van was serviced by our retail client with an oil change and tire rotation, claimed personal injuries from...

BSCR Obtains Defense Verdict in Alleged Opioid Overdose, Wrongful Death Case

BSCR successfully defended a wrongful death lawsuit involving an alleged opiate overdose where the decedent collapsed at our client's residence. Plaintiffs focused on...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Scores Defense Verdict for Convenience Store Client

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice successfully defended a multimillion dollar claim, seeking actual and punitive damages. The Defendant was the owner of a convenience store and plaintiff alleged PTSD from...

BSCR Successfully Defends Multimillion-Dollar Tort Claim at Missouri State Court Trial

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.

BSCR Scores Win for Retailer at Trial

BSCR defended a retailer sued by a shopper who was struck by a falling object. Plaintiff claimed a cervical injury that resulted in a cervical fusion. Plaintiff claimed permanent range of motion limitations in her neck due to the fusion.

BSCR Obtains Summary Judgment on Behalf of County Government in Claim Involving Helicopter

In this St. Louis City action, plaintiff’s decedent was killed in a motor vehicle accident when a stolen vehicle collided into decedent’s vehicle. Plaintiff alleged that the driver of the vehicle was being pursued by police at the time of the crash, including a county helicopter operated by a pilot officer. BSCR obtained ...

Personal Injury Trial with $1.95M Pretrial Demand Ends in Defense Verdict

In a personal injury matter in which Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages from our client for injuries he suffered while unloading heavy equipment from a flatbed trailer nearly six years ago, a Boone County, Missouri jury returned a defense verdict for our client after a three-day trial.

Trial Team Receives Defense Verdict for Health Care Client in City of St. Louis

In the trial of a premises liability case arising from alleged serious injuries sustained from a fall in an underground parking garage, a City of St. Louis jury returned a verdict in favor of our health care client.

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Wins Defense Verdict in Apartment Complex Premises Liability Matter

After a trial in Jackson County, Missouri Circuit Court, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice won a premises liability case in which our clients were sued by an individual who broke his leg. The plaintiff slipped and fell at night on ice in a parking lot, requiring surgery and a metal plate being put into his leg (ORIF). The defense centered on...

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice Wins Defense Verdict in Retailer's Premise Liability Matter

After a week-long trial in the US District Court for the District of Kansas, Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice won a defense verdict for a retail client in a premises liability case in which our client was sued by an individual seeking as much as $500,000 in damages.

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.

BSCR prevails on Appeal - Transfer of case out of Madison County, Illinois for Forum Non-Conveniens Affirmed

Suit was brought against a BSCR client in Madison County, Illinois, related to a vehicle/truck accident which occurred in Montgomery County, Illinois. The plaintiff was likewise from Montgomery County. For obvious reasons, she chose to file suit in plaintiff friendly Madison County...

BSCR Obtains Summary Judgment for Construction Client

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 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. . .

Summary Judgment Affirmed on Appeal in Favor of BSCR Client in Battery and Negligence Action

Summary Judgment granted in favor of BSCR client was affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District. Plaintiff claimed that our client's security (provided by Police Officers on approved secondary duty), ejected him from our facility and later hit him in the head with a police baton causing permanent injury. . .

BSCR Obtains Favorable Result for Retail Client at Trial

After a week-long trial in which plaintiff alleged severe physical and mental injuries left her disabled after being hit by a shopping cart in our client's retail store, a Kansas Federal jury returned a favorable verdict for our client. . .

BSCR Obtains Favorable Jury Verdict on Behalf of Trucking Client

BSCR defended client Swift Transportation Company at trial in a case where a Swift tractor-trailer allegedly turned left in front of a motorcycle at an uncontrolled intersection on a four-lane highway. Plaintiff claimed a brain injury in the form of post concussive syndrome, a knee injury, neck pain, back pain, and headaches. . .

Blog Posts

Taxation of Lost Wages Awards Under the FELA: the Illinois Appellate Court Applies Loos v. BNSF

08.21.19 | The U.S. Supreme Court recently resolved a split among state and federal courts on the issue of whether lost wages under the Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) are taxable under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act (RRTA). The Illinois Appellate Court was one of the first in the nation to apply the Supreme Court's holding that awards of lost wages in FELA cases are taxable.

United States Supreme Court Holds Counterclaim Defendants May Not Remove Diverse Lawsuits

07.25.19 | The U.S. Supreme Court holds that a third-party defendant is not entitled to remove because neither the General Removal Statute nor the Class Action Fairness Act permits a third-party counterclaim defendant to do so.

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.

Illinois Counties Remain Top Jurisdictions for Asbestos Litigation in 2018

07.08.19 | Even with asbestos litigation on the slow decline, Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois remain the top venues for asbestos litigation.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Employees: An affirmative and purposeful reminder that the safety of your co-workers may also be your duty

12.07.18 | Recently, in Brock v. Dunne, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District affirmed a trial court judgment assessing liability against a co-employee pursuant to the 2012 Amendment to s. 287.120.1 of the Missouri Workers' Compensation Act. The appellate court held that...

Missouri Court of Appeals Declines to Adopt a Parking-Lot Right-of-Way Rule

12.04.18 | Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District declines to find a common-law rule requiring a driver backing out of a parking spot in a private parking lot to yield the right-of-way to another driver in the lane adjacent to the parking spot.

Eighth Circuit Takes a Hardline Position on Non-Retained Expert Witness Disclosures

10.25.18 | The Eighth Circuit deals severely with a plaintiff's failure to disclose information about non-retained experts, as required by Rule 26. The result underscores the importance of strict compliance with both the federal rules on discovery and those regarding sanctions for non-compliance.

Federal Preemption Doesn't Bar Railroad's Suit Against Locomotive Seat Manufacturer

08.24.18 | 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).

Breaking Up [Plaintiffs] Is [Not] Hard To Do

03.28.18 | In dismissing non-Missouri Plaintiffs from a product liability lawsuit, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri adds to split in authority between two of Plaintiffs' favorite forums in Missouri and California, testing the limits of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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.

Federal Judge Clobbers Claims in a Class III Medical Device Case

05.22.17 | A federal judge in North Carolina agreed with Bayer that federal law preempts all of plaintiff's claims against Bayer in a medical device case. The judge then declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the medical malpractice claims against the healthcare providers and dismissed those claims as well.

Indiana Judge Relies on Bausch to Bounce Preemption Motion

05.15.17 | A federal judge in Indiana relied on the Seventh Circuit's decision in Bausch v. Stryker Corp., 630 F.3d 546 (7th Cir. 2010) to reject a medical device maker's argument that federal law preempts plaintiff's claims, including plaintiff's negligence per se claim.

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.

Reports of the Death of Litigation Tourism in Missouri Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

03.01.17 | A recent Missouri Supreme Court decision is good news for out-of-state defendants, rejecting the theory that appointing a registered agent in the state to accept service of process equated to consent to personal jurisdiction, and explicitly adopting Daimler and Goodyear. The decision probably creates more turmoil than it resolves on the “general jurisdiction” front, however, and does not directly stamp out the multi-plaintiff litigation tourism that is presently bedeviling the state.

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.

Supreme Court of Missouri Holds No Waiver of Work Product Privilege When Party Rescinds Designation of Expert Witness Without Disclosing the Expert's Analysis or Conclusions

11.01.16 | The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed a trial court's order permitting the deposition of a plaintiff expert witness on the grounds that, by designating the expert, the plaintiff had waived the work product privilege. The Court held that designating an expert witness pursuant to Rule 56.01 does not, standing alone, irrevocably waive the work product privilege. The case provides guidance to...

Enforceable Exculpatory Clause in Contract Results in Summary Judgment for Defendant

08.15.16 | In McNearney v. LTF Club Operations Company, Inc., the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District recently affirmed a trial court ruling granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendant fitness club from claims by the Plaintiff that it was negligent and reckless in allowing her to become injured while participating in a boot camp exercise class.

Forum Non Conveniens - When Home Isn't Always Convenient

07.05.16 | In civil litigation, the practice of "forum shopping" refers to the deliberate examination of multiple courts or jurisdictions in order to file or transfer the case to one that is most likely to treat that party's claims most favorably. Often, this forum shopping is blatant – where plaintiffs deliberately attempt to...

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

Missouri Court of Appeals Again Rules That Police Officer Testimony as to Fault of Party to Accident is Inadmissible

05.23.16 | In Ritchie v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the trial court had allowed an investigating officer to testify that the Plaintiff’s motorcycle had left the roadway in a straight line and that he had found no evidence of another vehicle forcing the Plaintiff off the road. Over objection, he was permitted to testify that...

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.

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.

Missouri Court of Appeals Weighs in on the Stringent Requirements of the Pre-Judgment Interest Statute, and Whether Partial Payment of a Judgment Waives the Right of Appeal

01.27.15 | Strict compliance with the pre-judgment interest statute is still required; partial payment of a judgment to avoid post-judgment interest is considered involuntary and does not waive the right of appeal

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.

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.

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.

Missouri's New Uninsured Motorist Law Precludes Uninsured Driver's Right to Non-Economic Damages

11.06.13 | It is now incumbent upon defense counsel to conduct discovery regarding plaintiff's insurance coverage, and plead the new statute as a defense where appropriate. The new law, however, may face challenges from plaintiffs' counsel on state constitutional grounds.