Wallace Saunders attorneys Tom Hayes, Chris Confer, and Stephanie Blaylock recently attended the 27th Annual Railroad Liability Conference, which is put on by America’s leading short line railroads. This year’s conference was held in St. Louis, Missouri and was long awaited, as it was the first time the conference has taken place since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of their significant experience in railroad litigation, the above Wallace Saunders attorneys were asked to present at the conference with Asim S. Raza (Chief Legal Officer, Director of Corporate Affairs – Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis), Onna Houck (General Counsel – Iowa Interstate Railroad), and Kristin Bevil (General Counsel – Pioneer Lines) on the topic: “On Site Counsel – Lessons Learned.”
The Kansas Court of Appeals issued a published decision on March 18, 2022, in favor of our client, in Turner v. Pleasant Acres, No. 123,552, distinguishing federal case law that had been in place since 1981. The Court of Appeals held that, despite the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s opinion in Knight v. Insurance Company of North America, 647 F.2d 127 (10th Cir. 1981), the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, specifically K.S.A. §44-504(b), does not distinguish between the types of recovery to which a workers compensation lien attaches. Our client was thus granted a subrogation lien where one would have previously been denied, involving uninsured motorist benefits. This clears the way for Respondents to successfully assert statutory liens against settlements and judgments where a plaintiff/claimant attempts to recover duplicate damages through an uninsured motorist action and a workers compensation claim.
Wallace Saunders, together with the ACLU, provided pro bono services to Bobby Bostic and obtained a decision from the Missouri Department of Probation and Parole granting Bostic parole. Bostic had been sentenced to 241 years in prison for a robbery which he committed as a minor at the age of 16. At his sentencing, the Court advised Bostic that he would “die in the Department of Corrections.” Bostic has served 26 years of that sentence before this week’s decision.
Wallace Saunders announces the addition of Diane Waters—a well-known medical malpractice defense lawyer—to lead its practice group focusing on Healthcare and Medical Negligence Defense. Diane joined the firm on August 2, 2021, along with top-notch associate, Connor J. Pace. The highly sought-after skill set they provide to healthcare providers will complement the firm’s Professional Liability Defense Practice Group, which serves numerous professionals with high-stakes litigation and regulatory counseling.
At the request of the American Association of Railroads (“AAR”), Partner, Chris Confer, presented on the topic of “Recent Legal Developments” at the 32nd Annual AAR Claims School. This was his fifth time serving as a presenter at this conference. During the course of his presentation, Mr. Confer touched upon emerging technologies being actively utilized in railroad operations, as well as national case law that impacts the claims investigation and claims resolution processes that stand to impact AAR-members’ railroad claims departments. The AAR’s Claims School is usually held at the Johnson County Community College’s School of Railroad Sciences, however, this year, given COVID-19 concerns, the event was presented over Zoom. This virtual presentation helped underscore the changing and prevalence of technology the AAR members’ railroads’ claim agents must negotiate. When asked about the subject of his presentation, Mr. Confer commented, “I love the opportunity to help shape young claim agents’ understanding of the interrelationship between the railroad claims investigation process and railroad claims litigation team. The AAR is a fantastic organization, and I am very pleased to have had such a long relationship with it and its member railroads.” Mr. Confer has also been asked to speak at the AAR’s Claims School – Advanced, to be held next month.
After a weeklong jury trial, veteran trial lawyers Mike Brown and Alyssa Brockert delivered a hard-won victory for their client, a Westport club owner. Plaintiff claimed serious injury due to alleged wrongful detention after failing to pay his bill. The defense team showed that the injury was actually due to plaintiff resisting a lawful arrest. And the defense’s forensic analysis of plaintiff’s financial records established his failure to pay was no innocent mistake. The jury was out for 2 hours, and then exonerated defendants of all claims.
We handle serious claims involving the hospitality industry, protecting business owners against risk of reputational injury and potential asset loss.
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Wallace Saunders wishes to congratulate Attorney Bryan Kelly on his graduation from Leadership Overland Park's Class of 2020. Leadership Overland Park, now in its 37th year, motivates, connects and develops leaders in the community to ensure a better future. We are extremely proud of your accomplishment, Bryan!
Baldwin City & Southern Railroad Company (“BC&S”), also known as the Leavenworth, Lawrence and Galveston Railroad Company, has retained Thomas Hayes and Christopher Confer of the Wallace Saunders law firm of Overland Park, Kansas to serve as its General Counsel.
As coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be an extremely dynamic event, Wallace Saunders is actively monitoring the situation to minimize the impact on its employees, clients, and our local communities. Currently, we have not experienced any significant disruption of our essential operations, but rest assured that we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that our resources and technology are in place to support our critical processes so we may continue providing excellent service to our clients.
To create and promote a dynamic culture of attorneys and staff who are part of a unified team regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
Currently, the United States is experiencing more and more individuals testing positive for the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. One question an employer might have is whether or not they may be liable under workers’ compensation if one of their employees contracts the virus. Our firm has reviewed Missouri and Kansas law to determine possible defenses that could be raised should a claim be brought regarding COVID-19.
Wallace Saunders is excited for the addition of these skilled and respectable attorneys and the firm looks forward to the years ahead.
Together with Thomson Reuters—a global analyst of legal talent—we congratulate eight of our lawyers selected for inclusion in 2019 Missouri-Kansas Super Lawyers: James Sanders, Brian Boos, Tim Finnerty, Schalie Johnson, Bryan Kelly, Rod Richardson, Mark Ware, and Ryan Weltz. We especially recognize Mr. Sanders, Mr. Finnerty, and Mr. Richardson, each of whom has received this honor for 10 or more consecutive years.
Wallace Saunders attorneys Mike Brown and Bryan Kelly recently attended the AIA Design Excellence Awards Ceremony in Kansas City, Missouri. Wallace Saunders is an AIA Cornerstone Partner, and our attorneys represent architects, engineers, and other design professionals from the corporate formation process, through contracts and project planning, and in any litigation which may arise in the construction and design fields. We were delighted to celebrate the best the Kansas City area design community had to offer in 2019, in categories spanning interior design, engineering, and architecture projects in commercial, public, and residential spaces.
Partner Ryan Weltz seized victory for his client, a California-based workers’ compensation case manager, when the Kansas Supreme Court recently reversed the below court’s decision ordering it to pay a claimant’s $730,000 hospital bill. They key issue—as reported by Law360, which has been following the case—was if the courts could rewrite a 2011 state regulation dealing with the amount payable under the Kansas Fee Schedule. The state’s high court found that judges could not nullify legislatively approved regulations even if following them produces an arguably unintended consequence. The ruling protects the client from making any additional payment in the case.
Wallace Saunders attorneys Karl Kuckelman and Charles “Trey” Windham successfully bring home a defense verdict for a general contractor in an alleged bad house construction case. Plaintiffs, the home owners, filed suit in the District Court of Osage County, Kansas. On the eve of trial, the Court dismissed all sub-contractors in response to dispositive motions, leaving only the general contractor to face trial. After 5 days in trial, plaintiffs requested over $586,000 from the jury. After deliberating 4.5 hours, the jury awarded less than 20% of the amount plaintiffs sought.
Bryan is the second attorney from Wallace Saunders to be accepted into this prestigious leadership program. Bryan is an important member of Wallace Saunders’ Design Professional and Construction Groups.
Congratulations to our Law Partner, Kevin Johnson, on being named Chair of the Workers' Compensation Law Committee for the Missouri Bar!