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On Friday, May 21, Baker Sterchi attorneys Jessica Cozart and Shatrasha Stone will lead a litigation breakout room for The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL) Women in the Legal Profession (WILP) Half Day Virtual Women’s Conference. A graduate of the Mississippi College School of Law, Cozart worked in New Orleans, Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina and handled many first and third-party insurance claims including those with complex coverage issues. After returning to Missouri, she continued her insurance defense practice and has successfully authored several briefs and argued before the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. Her practice currently focuses…
Branden Brooks joins Baker Sterchi’s St. Louis office as an associate. He has experience defending manufacturers in toxic tort and product liability actions. As a former prosecutor, Brooks represented the State of Missouri in prosecuting individuals charged with felony offenses within the City of St. Louis, gained valuable experience in both jury and bench trials, and argued hundreds of primary hearings to assist the Court in making probable cause determinations regarding felonious matters and presented cases to the Grand Jury.  Brooks earned his law degree from Boston College Law School and his undergraduate degree from Harvard Divinity School, M.Div. Ursinus College.…
Nicholas Ruble joins Baker Sterchi’s Kansas City office as an associate. He represents companies of all sizes and industries in employment and labor, personal injury, creditor’s rights, and commercial disputes. Ruble earned his law degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law in 2011 and his undergraduate degree from William Jewell College in 2005, where he current serves as a Career Mentorship Committee Member and Career Mentor. He is admitted to practice in Missouri and Kansas.…
The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District recently reversed a Circuit Court decision that denied a corporate defendant’s motion to compel arbitration, in Keeling v. Preferred Poultry Supply, LLC. Plaintiff Brandon Keeling sued Preferred Poultry Supply, alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation. Preferred Poultry and Keeling entered into a written contract in May of 2016. Preferred Poultry agreed to construct six broiler chicken buildings on Keeling’s poultry farm in Newton, Missouri in exchange for a payment of $2,048,321.00. Following construction of the buildings, Keeling sued Preferred Poultry. Keeling alleged that he discovered defects related…
We’ve all heard it (and in my case, I am publishing it – sorry, HR!): OK, Boomer. This phrase has risen in popularity over the years as a way of suggesting that Baby Boomers (i.e., those born between 1946 and 1964) have mindsets or attitudes that may be at-odds with those of younger generations. The “OK Boomer” phrase has shown up in viral Internet memes and GIFs, as a way of portraying Boomers as out-of-touch. The Supreme Court has even discussed the meme, when Chief Justice Roberts asked an attorney during oral argument if saying to an applicant “OK, boomer” is enough to…
As discussed in a prior blog post, one consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic may be a wave of lawsuits arising from exposure to the virus. Now that we have passed the one-year anniversary of the pandemic outbreak, perhaps not surprisingly, court opinions in COVID-related litigation are increasingly being issued. Below, we discuss several opinions recently issued in this litigation, including in some cases discussed in the firm’s prior blog post on this issue. Direct Exposure Claims Since the pandemic outbreak, multiple lawsuits against nursing homes have been filed in Illinois related to residents contracting COVID-19. As previously discussed, one such case…
Open and obvious: “both the condition and the risk are apparent to and would be recognized by a reasonable man . . . exercising ordinary perception, intelligence, and judgment.” The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District reversed and remanded Michael Lee v. Missouri Department of Transportation, a wrongful death lawsuit, back to the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri. Michael Lee appealed a dismissal by the trial court of his Third Amended Petition, alleging wrongful death claims for the death of his daughter against the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission (MHTC).  The claims arose from a tragic…
On March 23, 2021, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed into effect the Predatory Loan Prevention Act (the “PLPA”), which caps interest on consumer loan transactions at a rate of 36 percent. The PLPA essentially expands the interest rate caps set forth in the Military Lending Act, which is a federal law that protects active service members from usurious interest rates, to apply to all consumer loan transactions taking place in Illinois. Illinois is now one of eighteen jurisdictions to implement such a cap. The PLPA is part of an omnibus economic equity reform bill introduced by the Illinois Legislative Black…
Courts around the country have held a defendant is not subject to specific personal jurisdiction in a forum unless the claims asserted arose out of the defendant’s contacts with the forum. In product liability cases, typically unless the product arrived in the forum through the defendant’s actions, the courts found no specific personal jurisdiction existed.  However, the United States Supreme Court has broadened the scope of contacts sufficient for a court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a defendant.  In doing so, it has weakened a powerful defense.  There are two types of personal jurisdiction—general and specific.  Where general personal jurisdiction…
The saga continues over prejudgment interest in Illinois. Although Governor Pritzker vetoed HB 3360, which would have imposed a 9% prejudgment interest on person injury and wrongful death action, a modified version of the bill is already speeding its way through the system.  See letter from JB Pritzker in support of his Veto. HA2 is in front of the Senate and would soften the blow to defendants.  However, it still penalizes defendants for exercising their right to trial. For instance, in HA2 prejudgment interest would be 6% instead of 9% pre annum and would not apply to punitive damages, sanctions, statutory…
On March 2, 2021, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, in Chemline Inc. v. Mauzy, affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, a St. Louis County Circuit Court’s order finding a sales representative in contempt of the court’s permanent injunction order expressly prohibiting contact with his former employer’s customers. The trial court assessed a compensatory fine, despite plaintiff’s failure to demonstrate that it suffered actual damages as a result of the contemptuous conduct, and attorneys’ fees. The case involved restrictive covenants, including a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement, between Chemline Inc. and its former sales representative Timothy Mauzy. …
Johnson and Johnson (“J&J”) has asked the United States Supreme Court to overturn the $2.1 billion verdict entered against it in Ingham, et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al., a talcum powder class action filed in Missouri that included numerous non-resident plaintiffs. If review is granted, the Supreme Court will rule on just how far the “arise out of or relate to” prong of the test for specific jurisdiction extends with respect to the claims of a nonresident plaintiff.  The inconsistent way differing jurisdictions determine the existence of specific jurisdiction for non-resident plaintiffs is readily apparent.  And the litigation…
Mmmk. Imma spill some tea. Some Millennials are now protected under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), as well as the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), and other state laws. Millennials – who are defined as individuals born between 1981 and 1996 – are just beginning to turn 40 years old this year (I’m looking at you, Paris Hilton). Yes – you heard me right. This means some (but not all) Millennials now have standing to sue employers for age discrimination. It’s offish. So what does this mean? The ADEA, IHRA, and MHRA prohibit discrimination against employees who are…
To say Illinois has been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic would be a dramatic understatement. According to the CDC, as of February 11, 2021, Illinois ranks fourth among all states for the number of COVID-19 cases and seventh for the number of deaths caused by COVID-19. Given the number of cases and deaths in the state, Illinois businesses should consider whether there will be a corresponding wave of lawsuits related to the pandemic and, if so, whether the businesses are prepared to defend against such lawsuits.  As of this writing, an estimated 365 lawsuits related to COVID-19 have…
On January 13, 2021, less than 48 hours after amendments to HB 3360 were introduced, the amended bill passed and is ready to go to Governor Prizker’s desk to be signed into law. If Governor Pritzker signs HB 3360, as amended, it would impose a “litigation penalty” on civil defendants by taxing them with a 9% per annum interest on personal injury and wrongful death cases. Under current Illinois law, plaintiffs are not entitled to pre-judgment interest in personal injury cases. If this bill is signed into law personal injury and wrongful death cases in Illinois would be subject to 9% per…
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…