Civil Litigation

The ongoing New York opioid trial is approaching the 4-month mark since opening arguments began on June 28, 2021. The sprawling trial once included companies all along the supply chain from manufacturers to marketers to distributors, many of which have since settled. It is the first opioid case in the United States to be tried before a jury.

Leading up to the trial’s opening arguments, several original defendants, including Johnson & Johnson and the pharmacies CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart, were severed from the trial.

Though the trial is not yet over, it has already garnered favorable results for
Continue Reading NY State Opioid Trial Continues With Defense Witnesses to Set to Testify

The Missouri Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court’s holding that a mere “Acknowledgement of Receipt,” attached to an Alternative Dispute Resolution Policy given to the employee upon hire, does not constitute an “offer” that can bind the employee to arbitrate future employment claims.
In Trunnel v. Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, the Court of Appeals reasoned that MOHELA’s ADR Policy did not create an agreement to arbitrate because MOHELA never extended an offer to be bound by the arbitration process that could be accepted by the employee. When MOHELA hired Trunnel, Trunnel was given two documents, one
Continue Reading I Didn't Agree to That! Court Holds No Arbitration without Offer and Acceptance.

Brandy Simpson and Jessica Cozart’s article “Employer Return-to-Work and Vaccine Mandates: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should” is featured in the October 2021 edition of Defense Research Institute’s Women in the Law Committee newsletter.
The article addresses two of the most popular employer questions of 2021: (1) whether employers can require employees to return to the workplace, and (2) whether employers can mandate their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Simpson and Cozart are located in the firm’s St. Louis office. Simpson’s practice focuses on medical malpractice defense along with premises liability, personal injury, and product liability
Continue Reading DRI Publishes Brandy Simpson and Jessica Cozart Article on Employer Return-to-Work and Vaccine Mandates

Baker Sterchi Member David Eisenberg is quoted in a recent St. Louis Record article “Supreme Court ruling paves way for GOP clerk to resume duties at Lincoln County courthouse” regarding the Missouri Supreme Court’s reversal of a circuit court’s judgment which denied an elected circuit court clerk’s request for injunctive relief.
Eisenberg notes “what’s surprising about the case is that something resembling open warfare had broken out between the circuit clerk and the presiding judge in that judicial district” and adds that although court professionals view themselves as parties who should be above the political fray, “quite the opposite was
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Attorney David Eisenberg Featured in St. Louis Record Article

by Christin E. Doyle
When defending a client, it is critical to gather information about the plaintiff’s
experts in order to identify weaknesses in the case and determine a winning strategy. This is especially true in medical malpractice lawsuits, where many outcomes are driven by expert opinion and testimony. With this in mind, defense counsel should become familiar with a 2020 Illinois Supreme Court decision dealing with an issue of first impression that allowed a plaintiff to redesignate a Rule 213(f)(3) controlled expert to a Rule 201(b)(3) consultant. In this particular case, the redesignation caused a physician’s report and opinions
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court Allows Plaintiff to Redesignate a 213(f)(3) Controlled Expert to 201(b)(3) Consultant During Discovery

More than eight years after the Country Club Plaza district in Kansas City, Missouri was rocked by a gas line explosion that destroyed JJ’s Restaurant, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled that utility-locating company USIC has no duty to indemnify natural gas company Spire.
The explosion led to a series of lawsuits against Spire, many of which Spire settled for a collective $75 million. USIC was subsequently asked USIC to indemnify it on the basis that the contract between the two companies placed sole financial responsibility upon USIC—regardless of who was actually at fault.
Continue Reading Natural Gas Company Cannot Evade Anti-Indemnification Statute's Application in Dispute with Utility Locator after JJ's Restaurant Explosion

In Gant v. L.U. Transport, Inc., 331 Ill. App. 3d 924, 930 (1st Dist. 2002), the Appellate Court held that a plaintiff injured in a motor vehicle accident cannot maintain an action for negligent hiring, negligent retention, or negligent entrustment against the defendant’s employer if the employer accepts responsibility for the employee’s conduct. In other words, once an employer admits responsibility for any negligence of its employee, liability under alternate theories of negligent entrustment, hiring, or retention should be dismissed as irrelevant. Id. at 927-28, 930. Relying upon Gant, employers have successfully sought dismissal of alternate theories of negligent hiring,
Continue Reading Illinois Supreme Court to Decide Viability and Scope of Gant: Negligent Training Claims Against Employers for Employee’s Motor Vehicle Accident

Baker Sterchi attorney Kehl Friesen (Kansas City) has been recognized by Missouri Lawyers Media as a 2021 Up & Coming honoree, joining 50 attorneys from around the state of Missouri to receive the award.
Friesen defends personal injury, premises, product liability, toxic tort, and consumer matters throughout the Midwest, and has successfully represented clients through motion practice and at trial.
He is an active member of Baker Sterchi’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, serving as a liaison to the firm’s Recruiting and Retention Committee, and is a member of ALFA International’s Future Leaders Forum, Hospitality & Retail Practice Group Steering Committee,
Continue Reading Missouri Lawyers Media Honors Kehl Friesen with Up & Coming Award

On August 16, 2021, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court decision striking class action plaintiffs’ experts and granting summary judgment to 3M Company in the In re Bair Hugger Forced Air Warming Devices Products Liability Litigation. This case is part of Multi-district Litigation (MDL) proceedings, consisting of nearly 6,000 lawsuits, pending in the District of Minnesota. The MDL court, following similar rulings by the trial court in the first bellwether case, excluded Plaintiffs’ general-causation medical experts as well as one of their engineering experts, and granted 3M summary judgment as to all of plaintiffs’ claims.
Plaintiffs in
Continue Reading Eighth Circuit breathes new life into In Re Bair Hugger Products Liability MDL

TAX PRORATIONS IN A REAL ESTATE CLOSING: AN EXPLANATION BEHIND THE EQUATION. If you are buying or selling a house, one of the more complicated issues you may encounter is the real estate tax proration.  Properties in Illinois are subject Read More….
The post TAX PRORATIONS IN A REAL ESTATE CLOSING: AN EXPLANATION BEHIND THE EQUATION. appeared first on Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C..
Continue Reading TAX PRORATIONS IN A REAL ESTATE CLOSING: AN EXPLANATION BEHIND THE EQUATION.

Arbitration clauses have become ubiquitous in modern commerce.  The legal services industry is not immune from this trend.  Today, many law firms include arbitration provisions in their client engagement letters.   This trend raises the important question: are such arbitration provisions enforceable in the face of a legal malpractice claim? If so, under what circumstances are such arbitration provisions enforceable?
Judicial and Advisory Ethics Opinions
Recent court decisions on the subject have made clear that arbitration provisions may indeed be enforceable in the context of legal malpractice claims brought by clients.  See e.g., Delaney v. Dickey, 244 N.J. 466 (2020).  However,
Continue Reading Are Arbitration Clauses in Attorney Engagement Letters Enforceable?

September is here — and that means National Mesothelioma Awareness Day is right around the corner. On Sept. 26, 2021, the United States will honor the thousands of individuals and families whose lives have been impacted by mesothelioma, a deadly cancer caused by asbestos exposure.
Each year, roughly 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Symptoms of the disease typically start to occur 10 to 50 years after exposure. While there are several treatment options available, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, the disease still has a high mortality rate because it is not usually discovered until late stages when
Continue Reading Getting Involved in This Year’s National Mesothelioma Awareness Day on Sept. 26

A great way to show support for a loved one who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma is by registering for the Alton Miles for Meso 5K, which will be held virtually for the second straight year. Racers and supporters interested in participating are invited to register for the virtual race and run or walk from anywhere!
The race is set to begin on Sept. 25, the day before National Mesothelioma Awareness Day. For the 8th straight year, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) will be the recipient of all registration fees and donation proceeds raised from the race.
For this
Continue Reading Miles for Meso Spotlight: Honoring the Legacy of Mesothelioma Warrior George Dreith

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, recently reversed a trial court decision and subsequent arbitration award in favor of an automobile repossessor. In Car Credit, Inc. v. Pitts, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court incorrectly allowed arbitration of Pitts’ claims against Car Credit. The contract at issue designated the National Arbitration Forum (“NAF”) as arbitrator of disputes arising between Car Credit and Pitts related to the vehicle purchase.  At the time Pitts filed her lawsuit, the NAF was not available to serve as arbiter.  Consequently, Car Credit could not resolve Pitts’ claims through arbitration.  
Following Car
Continue Reading Missouri Court of Appeals Finds Arbitrator Lacked Authority to Resolve Automobile Repossession Dispute

Thursday, Sept. 9, marked a major breakthrough in the New York State opioid trial as defendant Endo International Pharmaceuticals and its subsidiaries settled with New York State and Suffolk and Nassau Counties for $50 million. 
The settlement marks the conclusion of a series of recent events in which state and county representatives, including State Attorney General Letitia James, accused Endo of withholding “damning evidence” regarding its marketing and sales of prescription opioids from the discovery phase of the trial. 
Endo had been held in contempt of court in an opioid trial in Tennessee for withholding similar information from the discovery
Continue Reading In the News: Endo Pharmaceuticals Agrees to $50M Settlement With New York State, Suffolk and Nassau Counties

REO CLOSINGS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY DIFER FROM A TYPICAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION? If you plan to purchase real estate via an REO Closing, you should know what to expect and the differences between an REO Closing Read More….
The post REO CLOSINGS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY DIFER FROM A TYPICAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION? appeared first on Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C..
Continue Reading REO CLOSINGS: WHAT ARE THEY AND HOW DO THEY DIFER FROM A TYPICAL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION?