Laurel Stevenson to join federal court in July 2020

Partner Laurel Stevenson who has been in private practice in Springfield for 23 years will become a Director with a federal district court in July of 2020.  The firm values the ability to continue to continue to serve Laurel's clients, and wishes Laurel the best in her new career.

Some Missouri state courts to resume in-person jury trials in July 2020

In accordance with the guidelines and protocols issues by the Missouri Supreme Court on June 5, 2020, some circuit courts, particularly in and near Springfield, Missouri, intend to resume in-person jury trials in July.  Appropriate measures will be taken by the courts and participants for the health and safety of everyone involved.  

Reopening Guidelines in Light of COVID-19 Issued on April 16

Attached are the reopening guidelines issued by President Trump on April 16.  Each state will make its own determination as to when and how to reopen.

Download "COVID--Reopening-Guidelines.pdf"

Missouri Executive Order on Remote Notary Services

Governor Parson issued an Executive Order for remote notary services on April 6, effective until May 15, 2020 (or until further notice).  The Order is available to download.

Download "Order-remote notary-COVID-April 6-MO.pdf"

Missouri's Response to Deadlines and Other Issues as of March 21, 2020 in response to COVID-19

Attached are some of the adjustments which have been made in Missouri given the COVID-19 pandemic, including but not limited to driver's license renewals, tax filings, and state assistance programs, along with additional resource information.

Download "COVID-Mo response-March 21.pdf"

Missouri Notification for Insurance Carriers Given COVID-19

The attached three-page bulletin was issued in light of continued developments with COVID-19.  Please note voluntary and required provisions. 

Download "COVID-Insurance Bulletin-Missouri.pdf"

Insurance coverage for business losses due to COVID-19

The current pandemic has raised numerous insurance and other questions.  The most common insurance question we have received is whether there is coverage for business losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As with any coverage question, the policy terms and conditions must be evaluated.  Generally, business interruption coverage is designed to protect against losses sustained for periods of suspended operation due to property damage.  In most cases, contagious diseases do not constitute property damage.  Moreover, many policies contain Bacterial/Virus or other Contagious Disease Exclusions.  If there is an emergency evacuation order, one of the questions may be whether the loss was due to or "because of" an "order of civil authority."  Any specific opinion of coverage must be based on the policy terms and conditions and facts by someone qualified to provide such opinion.  Given the unprecedented situation, there may be legislative changes and/or litigation which may ultimately decide some of the coverage questions.   

Southern District affirms summary judgment in dog bite case

Missouri's Southern District Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment for the firm's clients in a dog bite case.  The minor plaintiff claimed that the lessors of property were liable for the injury caused by the dog which was staying with the lessor's  tenant.  The dog was owned by a person living with the tenant.  The Southern District disagreed with the plaintiff's claim of liability, finding that the lessors did not "harbor" the dog as they did not make the dog part of their household.  Attorney Phil Quinn defended the lessors and handled the appeal.  AT v. Satterfield, SD 36351, 2020 Mo. App. LEXIS 291 (Mo. App. S.D. March 13, 2020)

SUCCESSFUL MOTION PRACTICE

In the latter part of 2019, Laurel Stevenson associated with Memphis Attorney Camille Reifers of Boyle Brasher in securing a favorable dispositive ruling in a toxic tort case, saving a client a week-long trial and thousands of dollars in legal fees.  In February of 2020, the firm achieved several favorable evidentiary rulings in a significant personal injury case, including two rulings which will substantially reduce trial time and expense.  Attorney Phil Quinn assisted with the briefing.

Commitment to Community Safety Results in Significant Recoveries and May Effectuate Necessary Changes

Our firm has been dedicated to our community for over a quarter of a century, including defending small businesses, individuals and corporations.  It was through the firm's defense of one of those individuals that the firm had an opportunity to pursue recovery following the his loss of two family members.  The losses occurred as the result of an organization's violation of essential safety standards.  During the course of representation, the firm learned that others had been harmed due to the organization's safety violations.  Attorneys Randy Cowherd and Phil Quinn took the lead in representing the victims of sexual abuse and other heinous acts.  This resulted in  several multi-million dollar recoveries.  The firm anticipates that its work on these cases will lead to necessary changes that will reduce the risk of harm to other members of our community.    

NEWS

Looking Back

The legal environment has remained challenging for many of our clients, but we have achieved several favorable outcomes through strategic collaboration, including an increased emphasis on early risk assessment, appropriate motion practice, and utilization of mock trials and focus groups.

Some recent highlights:
  • More than a dozen trials and administrative proceedings, including medical malpractice defense, premises liability defense, commercial contracts, real estate, Federal Employer’s Liability Act (FELA) defense, and workers' compensation defense;
  • Increasing our local counsel partnerships in state and federal courts, affording expansion of our practice areas and providing assistance to firms and clients in Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Tennessee, and Wisconsin;
  • Counsel on several appellate briefs;
  • Randy Cowherd and Laurel Stevenson were retained as experts in insurance matters, including bad faith and coverage; and
  • Laurel Stevenson argued a case before the Missouri Supreme Court.

Some jury trial results:
Catherine Reade secured a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of local southwest Missouri hospital following a five-day jury trial. The defendants included a nurse practitioner and trauma surgeon that provided care to a 24 year old male patient that presented to the facility for care for a traumatic brain injury as a result of a fall from a two story building. Plaintiff alleged that the facility was negligent in treating and discharging the patient. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching a unanimous verdict in favor of defendants on all claims.

Randy Cowherd and Catherine Reade secured a unanimous defense verdict on behalf of local southwest primary care physician following a five-day jury trial. The defendant primary care physician provided care to an 83 year old male patient that presented to her facility for care for gastroenteritis. 24 hours after the last visit with the defendant primary care physician, the patient had a catastrophic event was hospitalized on an emergency basis and passed away two days later. Plaintiffs alleged that the primary care physician was negligent in treating the patient and this resulted in his death. The jury deliberated for less than three hours before reaching a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendant on all claims.

Randy Cowherd obtained a defense verdict on a premises liability claim following a three-day jury trial in which plaintiff alleged an ADA violation.

Laurel Stevenson and Jeff Laney secured a judgment notwithstanding a verdict following a four-day jury trial in which the plaintiff claimed a permanent back injury, with the court finding that plaintiff failed to timely bring his claim, or alternatively, that plaintiff failed to properly establish medical causation.