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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

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

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

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

COVID-19 created unprecedented situations in every type of job, industry, and profession, including the legal field.  Change, evolution, and adaptation became commonplace as everyone learned how to navigate the process of operating from both work and home. Essentially, the COVID-19 pandemic turned our working lives upside down for the better part of two years.
As more people become fully vaccinated, many are eagerly anticipating a return to “normalcy.”  For most, that includes returning to the office (whether full-time, part-time, or by remote or virtual means). But more than 100 million Americans have worked remotely (at least part-time) since the beginning
Continue Reading Returning to Work Post-COVID – Handle with Care, Employers

Baker Sterchi attorney Joe Swift obtained a favorable verdict for a trucking client, one of the nation’s leading flatbed trucking companies, and its driver, in a personal injury action tried in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Originally filed in Cook County, Illinois, plaintiff’s petition alleged his vehicle was stopped on I-70 Highway due to a traffic backup, when our client’s semi-tractor trailer violently struck his vehicle from behind.  Our clients’ dash camera (capturing both inward and outward views) showed 9 seconds of driver inattention and a violent crash.  Plaintiff further alleged the crash caused
Continue Reading Jury Returns Favorable Verdict for Trucking Client in Personal Injury Action

The Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in Pelopidas, LLC et al. v. Keller due to that court’s erroneous contract interpretation, and instead ordered that summary judgment be entered for the opposing party. In its ruling, the Court of Appeals underscored the basic tenets of contract interpretation and highlighted the role of the American Bar Association’s A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting as “a highly regarded authority on contract drafting.”
The case originated from a 2016 dispute concerning the management of a commercial enterprise jointly owned by ex-spouses. The
Continue Reading Back to Basics: Missouri Court of Appeals Highlights Importance of "Plain-Meaning" Rule in Contract Interpretation

After a week-long trial in Missouri State Court, Baker Sterchi successfully obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death claim. Defendants were a trucking company and its driver.   Plaintiff alleged the driver could have avoided the interstate accident, which resulted in the death of her husband.   The case involved significant pretrial motion practice.  At trial, multiple experts testified for the parties.  Plaintiff asked the jury for $3M.  Ultimately, after a hard-fought battle, the jury agreed with the defense position.  
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Obtains Defense Verdict in State Court for Trucking Client

The Eighth Circuit recently upheld a ruling by the Southern District of Iowa granting a Motion to Dismiss a policyholder’s lawsuit for failure to state a claim, finding that the policyholder failed to allege facts that showed a direct physical loss that would trigger coverage under the policy.
In Oral Surgeons v. Cincinnati Insurance, the policyholder owned and operated oral surgery clinics in and around Des Moines, Iowa. The Oral Surgeons brought suit against the insurer for breach of contract and bad faith in its denial of coverage for losses suffered as a result of the suspension of non-emergency
Continue Reading Oral Surgeons Get Drilled in Eighth Circuit Ruling on COVID Coverage

The Supreme Court of Missouri, in a case filed against a healthcare provider defendant, has upheld the constitutionality of Missouri’s statutory noneconomic damage cap.  The Velazquez v. University Physician Associates case had been closely monitored by various stakeholders, because the case has significant implications for patients and healthcare providers, as well as other litigants. The Court also analyzed another important cap related issue in determining which cap year is appropriate to apply the statutory cost of living escalator to account for inflation.
Procedurally, the case involved cross-appeals from plaintiff as to the trial court’s reduction of damages, and the healthcare
Continue Reading Supreme Court of Missouri Upholds Constitutionality of Noneconomic Damage Cap in Case Against Healthcare Provider

The 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© has recognized John Cowden as the Kansas City “Lawyer of the Year” in the practice area of aviation law. 
Recognition by Best Lawyers is based entirely on peer review, with a methodology designed to capture the consensus opinion of leading lawyers about the professional abilities of their colleagues within the same geographical area and practice area. Additional “Lawyer of the Year” recognitions are awarded to individual lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region.  Only one lawyer is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year”
Continue Reading John Cowden Earns "Lawyer of the Year" Recognition in The Best Lawyers in America© (2022 Edition)

The 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch recognizes five Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice lawyers:
Belleville, IL
Meghan C. Kane
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
Kansas City, MO
Douglas P. Hill
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
Megan Sterchi Lammert
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
St. Louis, MO
Rebecca A. Guntli
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
Zachary T. Faires
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Transportation Law
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Attorneys Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America: Ones to Watch (2022 Edition)

Twenty-one Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice lawyers are recognized in 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© across numerous practice areas:
Kansas City, MO
  John W. Cowden
Aviation Law (2022 “Lawyer of the Year” Recipient)
Bet-the-Company Litigation
Commercial Litigation
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
James R. Jarrow
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
James Scott Kreamer
Litigation – Construction
Michael C. McMullen
Commercial Litigation
Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation – Defendants
Thomas E. Rice
Litigation – Insurance
Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants
Product Liability Litigation –
Continue Reading Twenty-One Baker Sterchi Lawyers Recognized by The Best Lawyers in America© (2022 Edition)