Latest from BSCR Blogs - Page 2

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…
Florez v. Northshore Univ. Healthsystem, 2020 IL App (1st) 190465; 2020 Ill. App. LEXIS 560 The First District Appellate Court of Illinois recently held that the trial court abused its discretion by barring any reference to a child’s autism diagnosis at trial. As a result of this trial court error, the appellate court overturned a $50 million jury verdict involving the child’s alleged brain injury sustained at birth. Plaintiff alleged the defendant failed to diagnose and treat the child’s oxygen deprivation during birth, allegedly leading to a severe brain injury. The plaintiff’s counsel argued throughout the case and at trial…
The Missouri Court of Appeals recently held that a trial court abused its discretion when it granted summary judgment to the defendants before the plaintiff deposed a witness whose testimony could not be secured by affidavit. The appeals court in Traweek v. Smith disagreed with a trial court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s amended petition only two weeks after leave had been granted to add a claim for reformation, and before the plaintiff could present evidence to oppose the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Having complied with Rule 74.04(f)’s requirement of presenting an affidavit specifying the discovery that was needed and…
Malika Baker joins Baker Sterchi’s Kansas City office as an associate attorney practicing in the areas of product liability defense and commercial litigation.  Baker earned her law degree from the University of Kansas School of Law in 2020. While in law school, she served as a member of the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council and Women in Law, and as Vice President of the Black Law Students Association. She was a member of the Phillip C. Jessup Moot Court team and received the W. Ross Hutton Award for best overall performance as a legal intern at the Douglas County Legal Aid…
While questions remain under Missouri law as to whether and under what circumstances the presumption of “logo liability” for motor carriers applies, and is rebuttable, the Missouri Court of Appeals recently affirmed that the doctrine only applies when there is evidence that the motor carrier operates as a carrier-lessee. The plaintiffs in Hearns v. ABF Freight System, Inc., were involved in a motor vehicle accident with a tractor trailer displaying the ABF signage. The tractor-trailer failed to stop following the accident and left the scene. The driver of the truck was never identified.  At trial, the plaintiffs moved for a directed verdict…
Baker Sterchi Managing Member James Scott Kreamer will serve on the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) Board of Directors, a coalition of defense bar organizations, law firms and corporations committed to reform in the civil justice system. Supported by the Defense Research Institute, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, and International Association of Defense Counsel, LCJ initiatives are focused on clarifying expert evidence standards, multi-district litigation reforms, reasonable allocation of discovery costs, Rule 30(B)(6) witness selection and reduction of burdensome discovery. LCJ also supports an amicus program at both the trial and appellate levels. “We all recognize that corporations are…
On August 12, 2020, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, Southern Division, in Studio 417, Inc., et al. v. The Cincinnati Insurance Company, denied defendant Cincinnati Insurance Company’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint. Plaintiffs alleged losses due to COVID-19 and resulting from COVID-19 county Closure Orders in the Springfield and Kansas City metropolitan areas. Plaintiffs filed suit against Defendant after Defendant denied coverage for Plaintiffs’ COVID-19 related losses. Plaintiff Studio 417, Inc. operates hair salons in the Springfield, Missouri metropolitan area. The remaining plaintiffs own and operate full-service restaurants in the Kansas City…