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Paul Devine has joined Baker Sterchi’s St. Louis office as Of Counsel. With 30 years of experience in various types of litigation, he focuses his practice on appellate, commercial, fidelity and surety, insurance coverage and bad faith, and personal injury defense. Devine has also advised national real estate companies on regulatory issues affecting brokers and agents.
Devine earned his law degree from Saint Louis University School of Law and holds an undergraduate degree from Saint Louis University. He is admitted to practice in Missouri and Illinois.
Continue Reading Paul Devine Joins Baker Sterchi in St. Louis

ABSTRACT: Title VII plaintiffs need not show “significant” harm arising out of adverse employment actions to state a claim, Supreme Court holds.

In a long-awaited and highly anticipated opinion, the Supreme Court held that a Title VII claimant alleging a discriminatory job transfer must only show that the transfer caused “some” harm with respect to the terms and conditions of her employment. In Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, the high court rejected the heightened standard adopted by the Eighth Circuit requiring “materially significant” harm, as being contrary to the law’s plain language.

Background

The facts of this case
Continue Reading Supreme Court: Discrimination Plaintiffs Need Only Show "Some" Harm to State a Claim

ABSTRACT: Vice Chair Jocelyn Samuels of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently spoke at the American Bar Association conference on Equal Employment Opportunity law, reiterating her stance that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision that race-based university admissions policies are unconstitutional does not apply to the “vast majority” of private employers’ diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. But various state attorneys general and legislators do not share that view, and the issue is far from resolved.

During a panel discussion at a recent American Bar Association Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity the Vice Chair took the position that the Supreme Court’s
Continue Reading EEOC Says Supreme Court's College Admissions Diversity Ruling Does Not Impact Private Employer Diversity Initiatives

ABSTRACT: The Supreme Court denied a request to review certification of three classes pursuing a consolidated class action against Visa and Mastercard alleging antitrust violations related to ATM fees, rejecting the card companies’ contention of rampant confusion at the District Court level regarding FRCP 23.

On April 15, 2024, the Supreme Court denied a request to review a class certification made by the D.C. District Court and affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. This long running dispute between credit card companies and ATM operators will return to the trial court where millions
Continue Reading Supreme Court Declines Credit Card Companies’ Request to Review Class Certification

ABSTRACT: The Missouri Court of Appeals reverses Judgment on gender-based harassment claim, holding a singular comment is not enough to warrant the discriminatory conduct as pervasive, viewed objectively by a reasonable person.

Beatrice Young sued her former employer, the Missouri Department of Corrections in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on her race, sex, and national origin. After a five-day trial, a jury awarded Young actual and punitive damages, and attorney’s fees, for gender-based workplace harassment and retaliation. The DOC appealed.

Young began working for the DOC as a Corrections Officer I, providing security
Continue Reading Discriminatory Harassment Requires Pervasive Conduct

ABSTRACT: The U.S. Department of Labor’s final rule expanding protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act is estimated to increase overtime eligibility for four million workers and puts in place mechanisms to automatically increase salary thresholds every three years.

For the first time since 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a final rule that expands overtime protections for millions of salaried workers by increasing thresholds required to exempt employees from federal overtime pay requirements.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), eligible salaried employees are to be compensated at a rate of 1.5 times their regular salary for work
Continue Reading Department of Labor announces final rule expanding federal overtime protections.

ABSTRACT: The Federal Arbitration Act carves out “transportation workers” from its requirement that contractual arbitration agreements be enforced. In Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that whether someone is an exempt transportation worker under the FAA depends on the type of work performed, and not whether the employer is in the transportation industry.

Factual Background
Truck drivers Neal Bissonnette and Tyler Wojnarowski signed an agreement to arbitrate when they purchased the rights to distribute Flowers Foods, Inc. products in certain parts of Connecticut. Flowers is the second largest producer and marketer of packaged bakery foods in
Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies the "Transportation Worker" Exemption in the Federal Arbitration Act

ABSTRACT: In Noah’s Ark Processors, LLC, the NLRB ruled that the company engaged in unfair labor practices by failing to negotiate in good faith, refusing to compromise, withholding relevant bargaining information, and prematurely declaring an impasse during negotiations with the United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union. The NLRB also found that the company had unlawfully threatened and terminated ten workers for participating in an unauthorized work stoppage. As a result, the NLRB called for severe remedies, which were upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The dispute in Noah’s Ark Processors arose following the expiration of the previous collective-bargaining
Continue Reading "Unpacking Noah's Ark: Lessons in Unfair Labor Practices and Good-Faith Negotiations"

ABSTRACT: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 2022 Fifth Circuit Opinion holding the CFPB’s self-funding structure unconstitutional, providing clarity to courts and enforcement agencies across the nation about the CFPB’s authority for rulemaking and enforcement.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 Opinion yesterday finding the funding structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) constitutional. In so doing, the Supreme Court overturned the Fifth Circuit’s holding finding the opposite. The case was initiated and made its way through the appellate courts on behalf of Community Financial Services of America (“CSFA”), a group representing the interests of payday lenders.
Continue Reading Update: High Court Finds CFPB Funding Structure Constitutional Once and For All

On April 24, 2024, one of the newest members of Baker Sterchi’s team, a first-year Associate, successfully defended a rear-end collision case in the Small Claims Division of the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri.
The incident occurred when the client was driving the wrong way on a one-way street and stopped in front of the plaintiff’s car, causing plaintiff to stop as well. Subsequently, another vehicle rear-ended the plaintiff’s car, but that defendant was dismissed from the case due to lack of service.
The focus of the defense was on the determination damages to plaintiff’s vehicle. Our Baker Sterchi
Continue Reading Defense Succeeds in Reducing Damages in Rear-End Collision Trial

ABSTRACT: The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals in Shiffman v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Club, LLC recently reviewed a claim of religious discrimination that failed at the trial court level. The Court analyzed the applicable standards for an employee-plaintiff offering direct evidence versus indirect evidence of religious discrimination. As there was insufficient direct or indirect evidence to support a discrimination claim, the court affirmed the trial court’s granting of the Royals’ motion for summary judgment.

The Western District Missouri Court of Appeals recently reviewed the essential elements of a submissible claim of religious discrimination under the Missouri Human
Continue Reading Workplace Religious Discrimination Claims under the Missouri Human Rights Act Analyzed in Shiffman v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Club

Baker Sterchi obtained a significant defense verdict for a plastic surgeon and hospital affiliates in a medical malpractice case tried in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, in which plaintiff alleged the surgeon caused a post-surgical infection, a rotator cuff injury and a long thoracic nerve injury during a series of breast surgeries.

According to plaintiff, after a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction in 2018, she developed a pseudomonas bacterial infection, requiring multiple follow-up surgeries, including implant exchanges and a perforator flap surgery. She claimed that the surgeon placed new implants into an infected breast pocket without diagnosing or
Continue Reading Defense Verdict for Plastic Surgeon and Hospital Affiliates in Malpractice Case

ABSTRACT: The banking industry and financial services business groups scored a victory in challenging a recent rule enacted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Judge Pittman granted a preliminary injunction staying the amendment to Regulation Z.

We have an update to our prior blog post regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (“CFPB”) recent Final Rule capping late payment credit card fees.
The CFPB’s Final Rule was set to go into effect on May 14, 2024.  However, on Friday, May 10, 2024 Judge Mark Pittman, of the Northern District of Texas, granted the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction staying
Continue Reading Eleventh Hour Order Delays CFPB's Late Fee Cap

ABSTRACT: A Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District ruling affirmed the dismissal of an action as a discovery sanction based on a “contumacious and deliberate disregard for the authority of the trial court.”

In Noble v. L.D. Enterprises, Inc. the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District affirmed a dismissal with prejudice for Plaintiff’s repeated refusal to engage in discovery.
Plaintiff Brandie Noble fell in a parking lot that was controlled by Defendant L.D. Enterprises on July 14, 2014, purportedly sustaining injuries that required medical treatment. Over four years later, Noble filed a lawsuit seeking damages for her injuries. This
Continue Reading Sanction of Dismissal with Prejudice Approved for Repeated Discovery Violations

ABSTRACT: A new FTC rule bans most non-competes, with the stated objectives of generating over 8,500 new businesses annually, raising wages, lowering healthcare cost, and boosting innovation. The Biden Administration views this as part of a broader effort to address anticompetitive practices.  Legal challenges are underway by various business groups; however, the Rule maintains substantial support in other quarters.

The Federal Trade Commission issued the Non-Compete Clause Rule (the “Rule”) on April 23, 2024, by narrow 3-2 vote, banning a vast majority of non-competes nationwide. Both existing and new non-competes are no longer enforceable.  Limited exceptions exist for non-competes with
Continue Reading FTC's New Rule Effectively Bans Non-Competes – What Now?

ABSTRACT: As manufacturers seek to limit the ability of consumers and third parties to repair their products, state and federal legislators introduce “right to repair” legislation that would loosen those restrictions.

Repairing complicated digital equipment has become increasingly difficult in recent years. In most instances, a consumer in need of a repair of any digital equipment has few, if any, choices for where and how the equipment is repaired. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) will typically only offer the tools, parts, and information necessary to make those repairs through the OEM itself or a licensed dealer. As a result, consumers
Continue Reading Right to Repair Laws: An Overview and Legislative Update