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Baker Sterchi Managing Member James Scott Kreamer will serve on the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) Board of Directors, a coalition of defense bar organizations, law firms and corporations committed to reform in the civil justice system. Supported by the Defense Research Institute, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and International Association of Defense Counsel, LCJ initiatives are focused on clarifying expert evidence standards, multi-district litigation reforms, reasonable allocation of discovery costs, Rule 30(B)(6) witness selection and reduction of burdensome discovery. LCJ also supports an amicus program at both the trial and appellate levels. “We all recognize that corporations are…
On August 12, 2020, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, in Studio 417, Inc., et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, denied defendant Cincinnati Insurance Company’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint. Plaintiffs alleged losses due to COVID-19 and resulting from COVID-19 county Closure Orders in the Springfield and Kansas City metropolitan areas. Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant after Defendant denied coverage for Plaintiffs’ COVID-19 related losses. Plaintiff Studio 417, Inc. operates hair salons in the Springfield, Missouri metropolitan area. The remaining plaintiffs own and operate full-service restaurants in the Kansas City…
Hundreds of businesses seeking centralization of litigation for insurance coverage for losses from the COVID-19 pandemic have to file their cases elsewhere. On August 12, 2020, in a much-anticipated ruling, The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejected two petitions to centralize hundreds of cases filed by the policyholders of businesses suffering losses from the Pandemic; however, the panel did indicate that centralization may certainly be appropriate for cases against single insurer policies. Attempts to centralize the COVID-19 cases date back to April, when two groups of policyholders asserted that the insurance coverage cases pending in numerous Federal Courts across…
As previously discussed here, here, and here, 2020 has proven to be a consequential year for biometric privacy litigation in Illinois. In perhaps the most active month of the year thus far, seven Illinois District Court Judges issued rulings related to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) in August. The rulings address a variety of issues implicated by BIPA, including subject matter jurisdiction, waiver, the statute of limitations for filing a BIPA claim, personal jurisdiction, and the constitutionality of BIPA. In Frisby v. Sky Chefs, Inc., Judge Matthew Kennelly of the District Court for the Northern…
On June 26, 2011, Farzad Qureshi was rear-ended by a hit and run driver while traveling westbound on Interstate 270 in Ferguson, Missouri. Mr. Qureshi filed a claim with his insurance company, American Family, the following day reporting back, neck and head injuries. He provided American Family the license plate number of the other driver, but they could not locate the driver or the owner. Thereafter, without advising him about his Uninsured Motorists (“UM”) benefits, American Family told Mr. Qureshi it would be closing his file. Nevertheless, Mr. Qureshi repeatedly updated American Family regarding his treatment, instead of accepting the…
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has selected Baker Sterchi Associate Betsy Miller to join its Centurions Leadership Program. After an extensive application and interview process, Miller is one of only 46 Kansas Citians accepted into the 2022 Fall Class of Centurions. Established in 1976, Centurions is an intensive two-year leadership development program for emerging leaders in Greater Kansas City. As a Centurion, Miller will implement an impactful community service program, meet with high-level executives to build community knowledge and coalitions, and have a voice in planning task forces focused on topics like entrepreneurship, business and economic resiliency, housing…
In Horton v. Midwest Geriatric Mgmt., LLC, Mark Horton filed a Title VII sex discrimination case against Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC (“MGM”) following withdrawal of an employment offer, after Midwest Geriatric Management became aware that Horton was gay and had a partner. Horton was the Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Celtic Healthcare. He was recruited by a job search firm for the position of Vice President of Sales and Marketing for a company named Midwest Geriatric Management. After applying for the job, he received an offer of employment pending a background check and further confirmation of his educational history. Horton signed…
Baker Sterchi Member Paul Venker, in his role as Chairman for the Freedom Suits Memorial Steering Committee, appears in a recently launched video to help raise money for this Memorial sculpture, which will honor the courageous slave-plaintiffs in what have become known as the freedom suits. Judge David C. Mason, has been the champion for this Memorial, the idea of which he conceived of more than five years ago. The Memorial will sit on the east plaza of the St. Louis Civil Courts Building, which is home to the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit Court.  In the early to mid-1800s, hundreds of…
The Supreme Courts of Missouri and Illinois have recently addressed the constitutional limitations on the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction. In both states, the Courts held that due process prohibits the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over out-of-state defendants in cases where the defendant does not have sufficient minimum contacts with the forum state and in cases where the alleged injury does not arise from those contacts. In State ex rel. LG Chem, Ltd. v. The Hon. Nancy Watkins Laughlin, 2020 Mo. LEXIS 193 (Mo. banc June 2, 2020), Plaintiff Peter Bishop brought suit against Defendant LG Chem, a Korean…
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice professionals Erin Diven, Lori Rickman and Don Yarber have been named 2020 Unsung Legal Heroes by Missouri Lawyers Media. The annual award honors law firm professionals who have consistently gone above and beyond the call of duty in supporting attorney efforts.  Diven, recognized in the Legal Secretary category, has been with Baker Sterchi for over 25 years, initially working with the late Thomas O. Baker, a co-founder of the firm. Located in the firm’s Kansas City office, she currently supports two attorneys, two paralegals and a nurse paralegal, and provides back-up support for four additional attorneys.…
Do you have a valid and enforceable arbitration agreement? Is your arbitration provision unconscionable? Have you waived your right to arbitration? Missouri litigants may have the right to submit these threshold legal questions to an arbitrator. In TD Auto Finance, LLC v. Bedrosian, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, reversed the circuit court’s denial of a motion to compel arbitration, finding that the threshold issues of arbitrability were delegated to an arbitrator under the parties’ agreement and the circuit court erred in finding a lack of consideration for the arbitration agreement. Bedrosian purchased a vehicle from a Missouri dealership. In seeking to…
Travis McDonald joins Baker Sterchi’s St. Louis office as an associate. His practice is focused on litigation with an emphasis in insurance defense in product liability, premises liability, and personal injury claims. His practice is also concentrated on first party litigation, as he regularly handles complex property and casualty cases. McDonald earned his J.D. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 2014 and his undergraduate degree in environmental science from Southwest Missouri State University, graduating cum laude in 2011.  He is licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois.…
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice recently obtained a complete dismissal of a consolidated appeal arising from linear gadolinium based contrast agent (GBCA) litigation, where its client, Bracco Diagnostics Inc. (“BDI”), had been named as a party. This litigation focused on alleged claims of injuries, specifically “Gadolinium Deposition Disease,” allegedly arising from the administration of linear gadolinium based contrast agents during MRIs.  Plaintiffs in these cases brought failure to warn and design defect claims against BDI and other defendants.     Plaintiffs’ appealed an August 2, 2019 decision in the District of Arizona, which ruled that their four expert witnesses on general…
The Western District Court of Appeals affirmed a defense verdict for a Baker Sterchi client gas station owner on claims by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources under the Hazardous Substance Emergency Act and the Underground Storage Tank Release Abatement and Investigation regulations. Following a combined two-week jury and bench trial in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, a complete defense verdict and judgment were returned for Baker Sterchi’s client, denying the DNR’s requests for injunctive relief and civil penalties related to an alleged petroleum spill. DNR’s regulatory action and civil case followed complaints of odors in a neighborhood in…
The long-awaited Opinion from the United States Supreme Court has been rendered: The structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”), and specifically its appointment of a single director, removable only for cause, is unconstitutional. The Court rendered its 5-4 Opinion, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, earlier this week. The Supreme Court held that the CFPB’s current structure violates the Separation of Powers clause of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court reasoned that the CFPB “lacks a foundation in historical practice and clashes with constitutional structure by concentrating power in a unilateral actor insulated from Presidential Control.” The…
“The New Normal.” “Social distancing.” “Stay home.” “Unprecedented.”   You’ve probably heard the above phrases more than once, twice, or fifty times over the past couple of months during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Almost all aspects of life are changing and/or have changed, including the way in which we are seeking medical care.   Indeed, telehealth is rapidly becoming a new normal” for routine healthcare visits, a market predicted to reach more than $130 billion worldwide by 2025 and $10 billion by the end of 2020. What is telehealth? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, it…