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Our Insurance Law Blog 2022 year-end review encapsulates significant jury verdicts and decisions affecting insurance cases across the nation. View the post for a non-exhaustive list of insurance cases with national and regional implications that deserve attention.

Missouri

  • M.O. v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., 2023 Mo. LEXIS 4 (Mo. banc. 2023).

A couple’s back seat dalliance became the basis of an insurance claim that attracted national attention in 2022. The plaintiff alleged that she contracted HPV after engaging in sexual activity with defendant in his vehicle, which was insured by GEICO.  After making an insurance claim, the plaintiff and
Continue Reading Missouri, Illinois, and Kansas 2022 Notable Insurance Law Decisions

In Crum & Forster Specialty Ins. Co. v. Spike’s Pub & Grub, No. 3:21-CV-1722-NJR, 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1360 (S.D. Ill. Jan. 4, 2023), the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois found that an insurance company owed no duty to defend a pub for a stabbing that took place on its premises, but denied the insurance company’s request for a declaration that it owed no duty to indemnify the pub.

In the underlying action, Devin Elliott filed a lawsuit against Spike’s Public House in the Circuit Court of St. Clair County, Illinois, alleging that Spike’s
Continue Reading Illinois Federal Court Re-Affirms Insurance Coverage Exclusions Matter

In an opinion handed down on January 27, the Supreme Court of Kansas affirmed a previous decision of the Court of Appeals reversing a judgment against a liability insurer. The plaintiff had taken a multi-million dollar judgment against the insured, who had only minimum coverage and assigned his claim against the insurer to the plaintiff. Following a bench trial, the District Court found that the insurer had breached its duty of good faith and reasonableness in allegedly failing to settle, thus causing the excess judgment. While refusing to hold the insurer owed no duty to the insured before the plaintiff
Continue Reading Supreme Court Sides with Liability Insurer in Baker Sterchi's Appeal of Bad Faith Verdict

On February 9, Baker Sterchi Member Jackie Longfellow will present at a live virtual seminar on the topics of ADA accommodations, hiring and firing employees, and discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims. The ”Missouri Employment Law 2023” seminar is presented by the National Business Institute, a continuing legal education provider.
The seminar will focus on current trends and best practices in employment law, from essential guidelines for accommodating employees to recent developments concerning non-compete and confidentiality agreements. Longfellow will discuss reference check considerations, discipline and termination dangers, burdens of proof, and more.
Longfellow focuses her practice on labor and employment matters.
Continue Reading Jackie Longfellow to Present at NBI Missouri Employment Law Seminar

Baker Sterchi recently obtained dismissal of an appeal from a summary judgment ruling in favor of its client, a telecommunications company. In December, the Circuit Court granted summary judgment in favor of Baker Sterchi’s client on the parties’ cross-motions for declaratory judgment on the interpretation of an LLC operating agreement. The Circuit Court found that the plain language of the operating agreement did not permit a minority LLC member to expel the other majority members. The Circuit Court had previously granted Baker Sterchi’s client a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction, prohibiting the opposing party from taking any actions in
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal of an Appeal of a Favorable Summary Judgment Ruling

Baker Sterchi attorney Betsy Miller recently graduated from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions Leadership Program.
Established in 1976, Centurions is an intensive two-year leadership development program for individuals selected as emerging leaders in Greater Kansas City. Extended to 29 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Miller’s class included individuals representing 40 Kansas City companies.
Miller served as co-chair of the May 2022 Task Force and as a mentor to a subsequent class participant. She was also a member of the Centurions Projects Committee, responsible for the program’s service hours, with her class completing over 3,000 hours of
Continue Reading Betsy Miller Graduates from the Greater KC Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program

Baker Sterchi recently obtained dismissal of all claims against its client, a publicly traded waste management and environmental services company, in a negligence and contractual indemnification action. The action arose out of a city street cave-in incident that plaintiff-employee alleged caused him permanent injuries for which he sought damages from the city. The city filed a third-party complaint asserting a contractual indemnification claim against Baker Sterchi’s client.  The client filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and the city filed a motion for summary judgment regarding the city’s third-party claim.  The District Court of Douglas County, Nebraska, held oral
Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal for Waste Management and Environmental Services Company

In an area of law formerly left to the states, on January 5th, the Federal Trade Commission issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that seeks to implement a nationwide retroactive ban on non-compete agreements, with limited exceptions. The proposed rule would supersede state laws that are less protective of employees.

Who does the proposed FTC rule apply to?
The rule would cover non-compete clauses with any worker, paid or unpaid, including employees, independent contractors, interns, externs, volunteers, apprentices, or sole proprietors. Under the rule, “employer” is broadly defined as “any natural person, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, including
Continue Reading FTC Proposes Rule to Ban Non-Compete Agreements

Baker Sterchi Member Greg Odom’s article “Was Ford Motor Co. v. Mont. Eighth Jud. Dist. Ct. Actually a Game-Changer for Toxic Tort Defendants?” was recently featured in an edition of the Illinois Defense Counsel Quarterly Magazine.
“When contesting specific jurisdiction, defense counsel should be mindful that the crux of the Ford holding is that the specific-injury causing product does not need to be purchased in the forum state for specific jurisdiction to exist,” Odom notes in the article. “After Ford, a strict causal relationship between the defendant’s forum state contacts and the plaintiff’s action may not be
Continue Reading Greg Odom Toxic Tort Article Featured in IDC Quarterly Magazine

In a DJ action filed by a commercial liability carrier, an Illinois Appellate Court held that an insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify a self-employed driver who was operating his personal vehicle during the course and scope of employment. In the underlying negligence claim, the injured plaintiff alleged personal injury and property damage when a truck driven by the owner of a construction company struck the open door of her parked car as she was getting out. The owner’s truck was purchased by him in his own name and insured through his personal auto insurance. 
The owner’s construction company was a named insured on a CGL policy that defined
Continue Reading No Liability Coverage for Company Owner Operating Personal Vehicle in Course and Scope of Employment (Illinois Court of Appeals)

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice is pleased to welcome eighteen new attorneys in Kansas City and Springfield as part of its merger with Foland, Wickens, Roper, Hofer & Crawford, P.C., effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Joining as members in Kansas City are:

  • Kevin Brooks, an insurance coverage and bad faith litigator. He earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
  • Clay Crawford, a coverage, bad faith, and catastrophic defense litigator. He earned his law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
  • Scott Hofer, a trial attorney with a practice focused on the defense


Continue Reading Baker Sterchi Welcomes Eighteen New Attorneys from Foland Wickens

The Illinois Defense Counsel (IDC) recently published an article written by Baker Sterchi attorney Branden Brooks about his experience as a lawyer with a speech impediment. The article, “Diversity Comes in all Shapes, Sizes, and Silence” appears in the 2022 Fourth Quarter edition of the IDC Quarterly Magazine.
“I have had a speech impediment since childhood,” Brooks notes in the article, adding that “disabilities may not always be apparent at first glance or may be undetectable all together.” He added that the goal of any workplace should be to create an environment where everyone feels welcome to be
Continue Reading IDC Publishes Diversity and Inclusion Article by Branden Brooks

Baker Sterchi recently obtained a favorable, complete defense judgment at trial for a real estate firm client and its independent contractor, a Missouri licensed real estate agent, on claims of misrepresentation filed against them in Missouri state court. In the suit, a home buyer alleged that the clients, a listing agent and broker, as well as a co-defendant seller of the home, knew of but failed to disclose several purported material defects in the home prior to the sale. After a bench trial, the Court found that the there was no evidence that the client had superior knowledge as compared
Continue Reading Defense Judgment Obtained in Real Estate Misrepresentation Matter

The case of Mendelson v. Bankers Standard Insurance Company involved a single car accident wherein the driver, Paul Mendelson, was killed and his wife, Betty Mendelson, was injured. The Mendelsons had an insurance policy with Bankers Standard Insurance Company (“Bankers Standard”) that included both liability and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage in the amounts of $500,000 each. However, both portions of the policy included a “household exclusion” that limited coverage in instances of bodily injury to an insured or a family member. In such cases, the policy limits for both coverages would be limited to the amount of the state-mandated minimum
Continue Reading Appeals Court Affirms Household Exclusion to Limit UIM Claim