It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and partner, Michael Dutton. Mr. Dutton’s career with Wallace Saunders spanned over 30 years. Among his many contributions to the firm and his profession, Mr. Dutton tried over 100 jury trials to verdict and either argued or was on the brief in dozens of appeals.
More importantly, Mr. Dutton was a mentor to countless lawyers, giving them professional guidance and encouragement in his inimitable steady and humble way. All who worked with Mr. Dutton, whether inside or outside the firm, doubtless benefitted from the experience. He will be sorely missed.
In Mr. Dutton’s memory, the firm suggests a contribution to Habitat for Humanity Kansas City—habitatkc.org—or another charitable organization of your choice.
Interested in protecting the dollars and cents your firm works so hard to earn? Then, read “$urefire Po₵ket Prote₵tor” presented by our Design Professionals Practice Group. We will share with you the risk management of “actual” contract provisions we often encounter. We think many of the contract provisions we will explore will leave you, as they did us, perplexed, dumbfounded and/or scratching your collective heads as to the purpose of the contract provision and/or the effect of the contract provision. Our goal with “$urefire Po₵ket Prote₵tor” is to help identify contract provisions that can reduce your firm’s bottom-line, offer ways to protect your firm’s pocketbook and, most of all, provide some thought-provoking and hopefully entertaining content. So, without further ado, here is this edition of “$urefire Po₵ket Prote₵tor”.
Super Lawyers Magazine announced yesterday that nine attorneys from Wallace Saunders have been recognized as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars in Missouri and Kansas.
Annually, this prestigious award is presented to three trial attorneys in Missouri under the age of 40. The recipients of the award are chosen based on their passion, strength, and confidence as demonstrated through their proficiency and excellence in trial advocacy.
Wallace Saunders is pleased to announce the addition of Casey Crawford and Lauren Haley as associates in our Overland Park office and Matthew Williams as an associate in our Springfield office. All three new attorneys are 2015 graduates of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law.
Wallace Saunders Associate Leilani Leighton recently graduated from the American Institute of Architects Kansas City’s Pillars Program, which prepares the chapter’s emerging leaders for their role in shaping the future of the architectural profession and the greater Kansas City area.
Wallace Saunders is pleased to announce the addition of Joseph Wade as an associate in our Overland Park office.
Joe is a 2010 graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Law. Although he is still early in his career, Joe has already won numerous motions to dismiss or motions for summary judgment, protected clients from liability through negotiated settlements, and successfully litigated several bench trials.
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.
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.