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 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 "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 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.
| 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 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 & 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 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 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 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 ...
| 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.
| 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 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 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.
| 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.
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 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 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 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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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 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 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 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. . .
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 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. . .
| 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: 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.
| Even with asbestos litigation on the slow decline, Madison County and St. Clair County, Illinois remain the top venues for asbestos litigation.
| 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 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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 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.
| 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.
| 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).
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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...
| 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.
| 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...
| 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
| 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...
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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 plaintiffs must comply with the Health Care Affidavit statute (Mo.Rev.Stat. 538.225), or face dismissal.
| 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.
| 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.