Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC

Latest from Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice LLC - Page 2

Missouri manufacturers, distributors, sellers, and resellers of equipment have scored an important victory in the Missouri Court of Appeals. In Ormsby v. Central Mine Equipment Co, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, affirmed admission of evidence regarding the design, manufacture, and first sale of a commercial drilling rig as relevant to the defense of a strict liability claim arising from a subsequent sale when punitive damages are claimed.  Generally, a plaintiff can recover under a strict product liability claim if he can prove the product was inherently defective when sold and that the defect in the product caused the…
The question of whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable is an oft-disputed issue prone to be volleyed between the courts and an arbitrator; such was the case in Caldwell v. UniFirst Corporation, No. ED108409, 2020 Mo. App. LEXIS 1328 (Ct. App. Oct. 27, 2020). This case involves a contract within a contract within a contract: a delegation provision contained in an arbitration agreement, which was contained in an employment contract. This not-uncommon scenario requires a court to look at the three contracts and analyze each independent of the others.  In Caldwell, a former at-will employee sued his former employer (UniFirst)…
A recent ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has provided more guidance in predicting how COVID-19 related losses and litigation will be handled. In Turek Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Alcona Chiropractic v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., et al,the Court ruled that State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. did not have to cover a chiropractic office’s losses alleged from government-ordered closures due to COVID-19. The Court held that the insured failed to allege physical loss and that the virus exclusion bars coverage. This class action lawsuit seeking business interruption coverage was denied because the…
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice elected two new Members, effective January 1: Brandy Simpson (St. Louis), whose practice focuses primarily on medical malpractice defense. She also defends premises liability, personal injury, and products liability matters. Simpson earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Dayton, and is licensed to practice in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and West Virginia. She serves as a Women’s Affinity Group liaison to Baker Sterchi’s Diversity Committee and is the 2020-2021 secretary of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis Women in the Legal Profession Section. Meghan Kane (Belleville), whose practice focuses on toxic torts, personal injury, product liability,…
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation initially ruled centralization was not appropriate for businesses seeking business interruption insurance coverage because of varying policy language. See our post here.  At that time, more than 450 cases were pending in Federal Courts—now there are over 700. While the JPML rejected total centralization, in the same ruling the Panel suggested that the creation of smaller “single-insurer” MDLs could be efficient to centralize those actions.  Cases argued against one insurer or insurance group were “more likely to involve insurance policies utilizing the same language, endorsements, and exclusions” that would make sharing common discovery…
The United States Supreme Court recently granted certiorari to TransUnion on a multimillion-dollar jury verdict arising out of a class action in the Ninth Circuit. In Ramirez v. TransUnion, a case filed in the Northern District of California,the jury assessed $60 million in damages against TransUnion for three FCRA violations: (1) willful failure to follow reasonable procedures to assure accuracy of terrorist alerts in violation of 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b); (2) willful failure to disclose to class members their entire credit reports by excluding the alerts from the reports in violation of § 1681g(a)(1); and (3) willful failure to provide…
Introduction On November 12, Governor Parson issued a written proclamation encouraging lawmakers to author new tort liability legislation insulating defendants from lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 state of emergency that has existed since March. This effort is designed to allow these individuals and entities to continue to serve the public without threat of unnecessary and frivolous litigation. We have since learned that the Missouri legislature is not likely to address this issue until early 2021. Governor Parson seems to have reconsidered the timing for the agenda and directed the legislature to address this, not during the ongoing special session, but during…
Introduction On November 12, Governor Parson issued a written proclamation encouraging lawmakers to author new tort liability legislation insulating defendants from lawsuits arising out of the COVID-19 state of emergency that has existed since March. This effort is designed to allow these individuals and entities to continue to serve the public without threat of unnecessary and frivolous litigation. We have since learned that the Missouri legislature is not likely to address this issue until early 2021. Governor Parson seems to have reconsidered the timing for the agenda and directed the legislature to address this, not during the ongoing special session, but during the…
As we approach the holidays, financial institutions, retailers, and consumers alike are all well-advised to be on the lookout for financial scams. Just days ago, the Kansas City Police Department stopped gift card scammers that had defrauded an elderly woman, inducing her to purchase and send them gift cards, and threatening to harm her and her family if she did not comply. But much damage was already done, as authorities believe the scammers had already made purchases in excess of $75,000. The police became involved after Target employees notified them of the suspicious transactions. Given the unique financial hardships presented…
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 there was no common law duty of an architect to the Plaintiff for purely economic damages. In the underlying case, our client had reviewed and stamped architectural drawings submitted for code approval and used by the co-defendant to build the project.  Our client was not…
On November 16, Baker Sterchi Member Greg Odom will present a virtual program on Restaurants, Executive Order Number 56, and potential legal consequences. Hosted by the Marion Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee, the presentation will focus on the legal arguments being made for and against the order, the potential impact of recent court rulings related to the order, and the current status of legal challenges to the order. The presentation also will address issues restaurants should consider when determining whether to allow in-person dining, including possible OSHA standards that might apply to COVID-19, types of lawsuits that could be…
Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice has received one national and 13 metropolitan rankings in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” as follows: National Railroad Law, Tier 1 Metropolitan Kansas City Commercial Litigation, Tier 1 Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Tier 1 Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Tier 1 Aviation Law, Tier 2 Litigation-Insurance, Tier 2 Bet-the Company Litigation, Tier 3 Litigation-Construction, Tier 3 Metropolitan St. Louis Commercial Litigation, Tier 1 Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, Tier 1 Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, Tier 1 Railroad Law, Tier 1 Medical Malpractice Law-…
Missouri defendants will welcome several recently enacted changes to the manner in which punitive damages can be sought and awarded in most civil actions. SB 591 raises the bar for both pleading and proving punitive damages and provides additional protections to employers who might otherwise have been exposed to punitive damages for the unlawful conduct of low-level employees. Most damages in civil lawsuits are intended to compensate plaintiffs for their losses, whether economic or noneconomic. But punitive damages, also called “exemplary damages” in Missouri, are different in that they are intended to punish civil wrongdoing and to serve as a deterrent…
Tom Sterchi, a co-founder of the firm, has earned recognition as a 2021 Benchmark Litigation “Local Litigation Star” in Missouri.   Benchmark Litigation is a guide to the world’s leading litigation firms and lawyers. The Benchmark Litigation research team conducts extensive interviews with litigators and their clients over a six-month period to identify the leading litigators and firms throughout the United States. During these interviews, researchers examine recent casework handled by law firms and ask individual litigators to offer their professional opinions on peers. Local litigation stars are attorneys consistently recommended as reputable and effective litigators by clients and peers.   Sterchi has been recognized by Benchmark Litigation as…
Baker Sterchi Member Laura Beasley will serve as a panelist for a webinar entitled “Diverse Thoughts on Diversity” from 12-1:30 PM CST on Thursday, October 29. The 90-minute program, sponsored by the Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC), will explore perspectives on diversity in the legal profession from a panel of attorneys with different cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Beasley, located in Baker Sterchi’s Belleville, Illinois office, focuses her practice in the areas of civil litigation defense, general liability, class action/mass torts, insurance coverage, personal injury, and product liability. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Geography from Austin Peay University…
Like many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas dentist Louis Orsatti’s practice suffered significant lost business income as a result of the local government’s shelter-in-place order in the spring and early summer of 2020. And also like many other businesses, Orsatti made a claim on his practice’s insurance policy issued by Allstate. Allstate assigned a claims adjuster, Blesssing Sefofo Wonyaku, who allegedly summarily denied Orsatti’s claim without performing any kind of investigation whatsoever. Orsatti filed a bad faith suit in Texas state court against Allstate after his claim was denied, joining Wonyaku as a defendant. Allstate removed the case to…