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John Watt defends businesses in multi-million-dollar litigation. His practice includes product liability defense, construction litigation, and toxic torts. John has been the primary attorney for the defense of such litigation from filing the responsive pleading through jury trial. He has taken and defended expert, corporate representative, and fact witness deposition in hundreds of cases across the country.

John’s extensive experience includes arguing before appellate courts for Missouri and Kansas on multiple occasions. He also frequently arbitrates and mediates matters to successful conclusion for his clients. Recently, he prevailed in both a jury and bench trial for construction surety clients.

As an active member of the local bar, John provides pro bono legal services for indigent clients through the Volunteer Attorney Project. He is currently on the Steering Committee for the ALFA Construction Law Practice Group.

John graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. He has twice been selected as a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” for Missouri and Kansas in litigation and defense work.


  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri Bankruptcy
  • USDC, Eastern District of Massachusetts
  • USDC, District of Kansas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit


  • Boston University School of Law, J.D. (area of emphasis in Litigation and Dispute Resolution), with honors , 2000
  • Kansas State University, B.S. Political Science, 1997

Memberships & Activities

  • ALFA International
    • 2022 Co-Chair, Construction Practice Group Seminar, Santa Barbara, CA
    • Steering Committee Member, Construction Practice Group
    • Member, Transportation Practice Group
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • IADC Trial Academy
    • Graduate, 2007
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Young Lawyers Section, Public Service and Social Committees
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
  • National Bond Claims Association
  • National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA)
    • Greater Kansas City Chapter Founding Member


  • Contributor: Transportation Law Compendium-Missouri, ALFA International (2016, 2020)


  • Moderator: In-or-Out? Pros and Cons of In-House versus Retained Experts, ALFA International Construction Practice Group Seminar, Ranchos Palos Verdes, California (July 2016).

Awards & Recognition

  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers®-Rising Stars, 2008 and 2009

News & Events

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...
  • Moore Equipment Company v. Callen Construction Co.

    299 S.W. 3d 678 (Mo.App. 2009)
  • State ex rel. Nixson v. Hutcherson

    96 S.W. 3d 81 (Mo. 2003)
  • Thomas G. White, et al., d/b/a TCP Partnership, Respondents v. Phyllis Marshall, et al.

    Appellant (Mo. App. W.D. 2002)


Defense Verdict Obtained in Personal Injury Action Against Aviation Industry Client

A defense verdict was returned in favor of our aviation industry client by a Platte County, Missouri jury following a five-day trial of a case arising from a bus/car collision at an airport satellite parking lot.

Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal from the Bench for Architect Client

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice recently obtained a dismissal for an architect client in a breach of contract action related to a construction project. We presented and argued a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in a Kansas District Court on the basis that the Plaintiff (Project Owner) lacked privity of contract with our client and,,,

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...

Directed Verdict Obtained for Surety Client on Construction Defect Claim

BSCR successfully defended Old Republic Surety, Inc. in a five-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. . .

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

Premises liability update: Missouri Supreme Court affirms ruling on adequacy of negligence jury instruction

03.23.18 | We recently reported on a ruling of the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals that there was sufficient evidence to support the giving of the negligence instruction in a case where an employer was found liable for damages sustained when an employee was injured by a third party criminal act. The Missouri Supreme Court has now upheld that ruling. In Wieland v. Owner-Operator Services, Inc., Wieland was...

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.

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.

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...

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

Kansas Court of Appeals Upholds "Physical Injury" Requirement for Claim of PTSD

08.17.15 | Recently the Kansas Court of Appeals declined to overturn the "physical injury rule" requirement for post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") claim for damages. On June 12, 2015 the Kansas Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants.

Missouri Supreme Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Business General Liability Insurer

05.26.15 | In the case of Katina Piatt, et al. v. Indiana Lumberman's Mutual Insurance Company, et al., SC 94364, the Supreme Court of Missouri affirmed summary judgment in favor of Indiana Lumberman's Mutual Insurance Company, based on a policy exclusion that the plaintiffs unsuccessfully alleged was ambiguous, and should have been interpreted in their favor.

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.

Two Recent Decisions Threaten to Erode Protections for Employers Against Negligent Hiring, Training and Retention Claims

10.30.13 | 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.

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