The Missouri Supreme Court recently issued a decision finding the statutory cap on punitive damages is unconstitutional for most civil claims. In Kansas, the cap on non-economic damages has increased through a statutory amendment.
Wallace Saunders attorney Douglas C. Hobbs was recently honored with a request from the Kansas Society for Human Resource Management to testify on behalf of employers and workers compensation insurers in Kansas before the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce. Mr. Hobbs was tasked with voicing opposition to proposed changes to the Kansas Workers Compensation Act which would relax recent favorable statutory amendments affecting exposure in functional impairment cases.
Insurers and insureds alike often assume damages from a data breach are covered by commercial general liability (“CGL”) insurance. However, just last year, a claim for CGL coverage for data breach was rejected in the high profile case of Zurich American Ins. Co. v. Sony Corp. of Am., et al. (Index No. 651982/2011) (N.Y. Sup. Ct., Feb 21, 2014). Furthermore, insurance companies are responding to CGL cyber breach claims with sweeping exclusions and instead offering more narrowly focused insurance products, which are relatively new and remain untested by courts and litigants.
As part of her involvement in AIA Kansas City’s Pillars Leadership Program, Wallace Saunders Associate Leilani Leighton participated in the Little Free Library Build Out Day on May 27, 2015. The Build Out Day was the culmination of months of planning by the AIA, Pillars, KC Chamber for a Greater Kansas City, and their Urban Neighborhood Initiative (UNI) partners, and was attended by hundreds of people, including members of the Builder’s Association and Representative Emanuel Cleaver.
This past year Rick Merker celebrated his 45th year at Wallace Saunders. He took time to reflect on his 45 years at the firm ~ a career that began as a law clerk the second semester of his first year of law school. Rick’s introduction to the legal field occurred much earlier, however. At age 18, while in undergraduate school, Rick took his first job in the legal field as a runner for a downtown law firm for $1.10 an hour to help his family financially after his father had passed away. The same sense of dedication, integrity, and passion has remained the hallmark of Rick’s practice at Wallace Saunders.
The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, recently issued an opinion in Rider v. Young Men's Christian Association of Greater Kansas City, Case No. WD76680 (Mo. App. W.D. Jan. 13, 2015), which addresses the burden of proof for a defendant to assert a comparative fault defense in slip-and-fall cases. The Missouri Court of Appeals also refused to apply the Kansas cap on non-economic damages even though the incident giving rise to the litigation occurred in Kansas.
Wallace Saunders is pleased to announce that Aaron E. Schwartz has been promoted to Partner.
After completing a two year clerkship with the Missouri Court of Appeals, Aaron began practicing law with Wallace Saunders as an associate attorney in 2009. His clients can expect more than mere skill in the mechanics of litigation from Aaron. His clients are accustomed to a level of written scholarship, empathy, and advocacy specifically directed to their needs.
On December 9, 2014, the Missouri Supreme Court rendered its decision in Scottsdale Insurance Company v. Addison Insurance Company, finding an excess insurer may pursue a claim against a primary insurer for bad faith refusal to settle under multiple theories of liability.
Wallace Saunders is pleased to announce the addition of Emily Shook as Of Counsel in our Springfield, Missouri office.
Emily is a 2007 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. She joins the firm with practice experience in the areas of insurance defense and governmental liability litigation. Emily has substantial federal civil litigation experience, and has won summary judgment and dismissal in several significant federal cases. She has also worked on multiple complex litigation matters that involved constitutional issues, numerous parties and allegations of damages in the tens of millions. She is a member of the Firm’s Litigation Practice Group, with a concentration on insurance defense litigation.
On February 3, 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court handed down an important decision that helps limit the risks faced by automobile insurers issuing multiple policies to their insureds. In the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision, Adam Dutton v. American Family Mut. Ins. Co., Case No. SC94075 (Mo. banc February 3, 2015), the Court emphasized the distinction between owner’s policies and operator’s policies under Missouri’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.
Wallace Saunders attorneys Kevin Weakley, Brian Boos, Robyn Butler, and Aaron Schwartz recently volunteered as judges at the UMKC City of Fountains Regional Undergraduate Mock Trial Competition. The American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) sponsors the event. Undergraduate students from across the country compete at regional centers for one of eight spots in the national-level competition. Approximately 26 teams from the Midwest region gathered in Kansas City to present a case to a panel of judges over a two-day period.
Ingram's, Kansas City's Business Magazine, has published the annual list of Top Area Law Firms, and Wallace Saunders is proud to be number 10 on the list.
We are proud of our 40 local attorneys and our over 50 years of service to the Kansas City community.
The Kansas legislature added subsection (h) to K.S.A 60-256 effective July 1, 2014. This provision, which lacks a federal analogue, sets a fee, currently $195, in order to file a motion for summary judgment. Previously, there was no fee for filing a summary judgment motion in Kansas.
Last March, we reported on the Wallace Saunders Design Professionals Practice Group’s work with the Kansas University School of Architecture, Design & Planning’s Dirt Works Studio on the construction of the rammed earth dining pavilion addition to the Armitage Center at the KU Field Station located just north of Lawrence.
Wallace Saunders is pleased to announce the addition of Robyn Butler as an associate in our Overland Park office.
Robyn is a 1993 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law. Her past legal experience includes taking multiple cases to jury verdicts, and she has argued before both the Kansas and Missouri Courts of Appeals.
Super Lawyers magazine announced today that 11 attorneys from Wallace Saunders have been recognized as Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers for 2014.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters organization, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. More information is available at www.superlawyers.com.