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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…
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…
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…
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.  …
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 procedures…
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…
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” for…
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…
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 –…
In November 2020, many Americans breathed a sigh of relief, as news broke that an effective and safe vaccine had been developed against COVID-19. As vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson began to roll out in early 2021, numerous citizens began to roll up their sleeves for protection against the virus.  In May 2021, many COVID-19 related restrictions were abandoned in the continental U.S. (including the dreaded indoor mask requirement) after the CDC advised that vaccinated individuals did not need to wear masks while indoors. Fast forward to August 2021, and the unwelcome spread of the highly contagious…
The Missouri Court of Appeals recently affirmed a trial court decision that denied Verizon’s motion to compel arbitration. In Rose v. Verizon Wireless Services, LLC, the Court of Appeals held that an arbitration provision was not enforceable because the contract at issue was an unenforceable contract of adhesion and did not match the reasonable expectations of the parties. Plaintiff Breanna Rose sued Verizon Wireless and its employee Santiago Sabala, Jr. based on a visit to a Verizon store in St. Louis County to exchange her iPhone 6s for a newer model. Rose alleged that Sabala took her iPhone into the…
On July 9, 2021, President Biden signed Executive Order 14306. The EO has inspired headlines warning that non-compete agreements as we know them are doomed. These prognoses are premature. The EO itself does not affect non-compete agreements in employment, but merely recommends that the Federal Trade Commission begin the rulemaking process with the principles of the EO in mind. Section 5(g) instructs that “To address agreements that may unduly limit workers’ ability to change jobs, the Chair of the FTC is encouraged to consider working with the rest of the Commission to exercise the FTC’s statutory rulemaking authority under…
On May 6, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor withdrew the new Trump-era Fair Labor Standards Act independent contractor rule, scheduled to take effect the next day. The rule, entitled “Independent Contractor Status under the Fair Labor Standards Act” (ICR), was a decided shift to a narrower definition of “employee” and thereby narrowed the scope of workers who may be entitled to FLSA protections. The FLSA was the first federal law to afford employees a right to a minimum wage and overtime pay, among other benefits.  The condensed statutory definition of “employee” is any individual who is permitted to work…
Baker Sterchi summer law clerk Mary Jo Headrick was a recent guest on the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s new podcast, In Re KCMBA.   Hosted by KCMBA President Sam Wendt, the In Re KCMBA podcast covers legal issues, war stories and law talk from the KCMBA community. Headrick’s episode features local law students working as summer associates at Kansas City area law firms.   Headrick was hired into the firm’s summer law clerk program through the KCMBA’s Heartland Diversity Job Fair. She is a rising 3L student at the University of Arkansas School of Law. Headrick earned her undergraduate degree…
Baker Sterchi attorney Jessica Holliday was a recent guest speaker on The Podium and Panel Podcast. Hosted by attorneys Dan Cotter and Donald Patrick Eckler, The Podium and Panel Podcast is a weekly podcast covering oral arguments before courts of review in Illinois and Indiana, as well as the Seventh Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.   Holliday’s episode is focused on a recent Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Opinion finding the ministerial exception protecting religious organizations from employment discrimination suits brought by their ministers, applies to hostile work environment claims.  Holliday, located in Baker Sterchi’s Belleville office, has a practice focused…
Jameson v. Still arose from an auto accident between Still’s vehicle and Jameson’s on New Year’s Eve 2018. Jameson’s counsel sent a settlement demand for $150,000 or all available coverages to Still’s insurer. Jameson’s demand was entitled “Offer to Settle Pursuant to RSMo §408.040 and RSMo §537.058.” By law, offers of settlement made pursuant to § 408.040 and § 537.058 “shall remain open” for a period of 90 days. Section 408.040 provides that a plaintiff must comply with specific statutory requirements to recover prejudgment interest. Section 537.058 provides that a settlement demand is inadmissible in a bad faith failure to…