Archive

  1. Collin B. Altieri

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    “It is an honor to work with such fine attorneys and people, handling a wide range of complex litigation matters for our clients.”

    Collin has tried cases to juries and judges in the state and federal courts of Missouri and Kansas, and spent much of his career with an Am Law 100 law firm in Kansas City. He has been recognized by his peers as “Best of the Bar” in his field and frequently speaks to physicians, nurses, dentists, administrators, and members of the bar on topics ranging from best practices to malpractice law.

    Results

    • Achieved complete defense verdict in case where the patient died from infective endocarditis.
    • Achieved court judgment and successfully argued on appeal a case with fraud and malpractice claims against a hospital.
    • Achieved multiple dismissals of malpractice cases against hospitals, physicians, and health care providers.
    • Successfully litigated and resolved claims invoking the Fraud Claims Act and civil litigation involving patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke, fetal morbidity and mortality, locked-in syndrome, myocardial infarction, spinal cord infarction, herpetic encephalitis, anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, subdural hematoma, fractures, pulmonary emboli, and a myriad of other issues.
    • Annually tried cases on a pro bono basis for impoverished clients with probate and guardianship needs.
  2. Scott R. Ast

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    Scott leverages his firsthand insight and business acumen to provide practical advice that puts each client’s business goals front and center. He has significant first chair jury trial experience in the state and federal courts. Scott’s experience includes multi-week trials of high exposure business disputes and personal injury claims. Scott has successfully litigated commercial disputes involving mergers and acquisitions, lending transactions, trade secrets, product liability and transportation cases.

    “The firm’s success is driven by superior client service. This focus has created a workplace culture of respect, civility and productivity.”

    Scott has also acted as national counsel in the investigation and defense of claims involving fires and alleged product failures.

    Results

    • Won defense verdict in Oregon federal court in case involving claims of misappropriated trade secrets and tortious interference.
    • Prevailed with defense verdict in Wyandotte County in case alleging brain injury and permanent disability from head strike.
    • Successfully defended railroad against wrongful death claim by trespassers and motorists at grade crossings.
    • Navigated claims of trade secret misappropriation against manufacturer which had contracted with former employee of competitor, and avoided prolonged litigation
    • Participated in numerous fire origin and cause investigations arising from events that resulted in catastrophic injuries, death and millions of dollars in damage.
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    • Defend manufacturers against product liability claims involving consumer products and components parts.
    • Defended manufacturer’s transportation department and driver in personal injury and death claims arising out of collision on an interstate between tractor trailer and minivan. The representation included the trial of minor child’s claims for traumatic brain injury (TBI) resulting in significant permanent injury.
    • Successfully prosecuted claims of breach of contract and fraud on behalf of bank after it successfully foreclosed on collateral pledged by debtor which included a minority stake in a privately held family business. The majority owners had attempted to block the redemption of the stock at the fair and agreed value.
    • Secured voluntary dismissal for defendant after plaintiff’s expert admitted his opinion – that the cause of a house fire was our client’s component part – was unsupported by the evidence.
    • Represented recreational boat component part manufacturer in wrongful death action tried out of state which arose from carbon monoxide poisonings allegedly caused by defects in design in which jury was asked to award over $200 million.
    • Achieved a unanimous defense verdict for manufacturer of exercise equipment in product liability action arising out of commercial structure fire.
    • Defended product liability cases involving battery technologies such as lithium-ion, lead-acid and nickel–cadmium (NiCd) in which products were alleged causes of fires and acid burns.
    • Obtained a defense verdict for medical device manufacturer in jury trial in Kansas City, Missouri, against allegations of design and warnings defects leading to permanent injuries.
    • Achieved dismissal of tractor manufacturer in wrongful death claims allegedly caused by failure of equipment to include roll over protection system (ROPS).
    • Extensive defending manufacturers and sellers in cases involving toxic exposures to acids, benzene, asbestos, carbon monoxide, heavy metals and other chemicals.
    • Recovered nearly all amounts claimed in breach of contract claim arising out of an asset sale in which the buyer failed to pay the agreed purchase price for the assets of a chemical manufacturer.
    • Obtained summary judgment in contract dispute between retail business owners arising out of a terminable-at-will royalty agreement.
    • Obtained temporary restraining order on behalf of chemical manufacturer and against key employee of distributor resulting in prompt resolution of misappropriation of trade secrets case.
    • Obtained summary judgment in federal court for manufacturer sued by supplier alleging breach of a requirements contract for component parts and damages exceeding $1 million.
    • Represented conveyor manufacturer in multimillion dollar contractual indemnity claim arising out of failure of material handling equipment.
  3. Andrew Birkinsha

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    “I became a lawyer because I want to help people. SAKG has a reputation for doing that.”

    A native of Kansas City, Andrew has been away since 2009. After spending a couple years in Germany, Andrew has twice attended and graduated from BYU, split by his two years working at Epic in Madison, Wisconsin. While at Law School, Andrew served on the leadership board of the Student Bar Association, the Trial Advocacy Team, the Moot Court Team, worked with the International Center for Law and Religion Studies, and as an editor for the BYU Journal of Public Law. Andrew received the Wendy C. Archibald Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the law school. Prior to graduation, Andrew clerked with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, worked for a solo practitioner, and interned for a non-profit religious organization in South Africa, and for a manufacturing company in Detroit.

    An avid sports fan, Andrew can often be found talking about his favorite teams, watching them, or playing whatever sport the weather allows. Andrew is happy to be home, and loves living in Kansas City with his wife, Alannah, and their two children.

  4. Paula L. Brown

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    “All cases are ultimately stories to be told. We are passionate about transforming our clients’ stories into winning strategies.”

    After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in broadcast journalism but prior to attending law school at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, Paula worked as a news anchor and reporter for KODE-TV in Joplin, Missouri. Unbeknownst to her at the time, Paula’s on-air broadcasting experience would help develop and refine many of the invaluable skills that cause her to excel as a trial lawyer, including the ability to communicate clearly and react quickly on her feet. As one of her former clients stated, Paula has an “honorable presence in the courtroom and a tenacious attention to detail” while also being “quick and agile in dealing with the ebb and flow in the courtroom.”

    Paula has substantial first-chair trial experience, achieving favorable defense verdicts in high-exposure medical malpractice and railroad injury trials. She has also secured significant plaintiff’s verdicts and settlements in personal injury and employment cases.

    Results

    • Won $6 million verdict for small Kansas City awards company whose general sales manager began working for a large competitor before quitting his job and secretly misappropriated sales orders and confidential client information to benefit the competitor.
    • Achieved unanimous defense verdict in railroad worker’s claim of head strike leading to neck fusion and loss of employment. Verdict returned by jury in under 20 minutes.
    • Defended and obtained defense verdict in Buchanan County, Missouri, for surgeon from whom plaintiff sought significant damages, alleging her ureter was crushed during surgery on ovaries. Obtained unanimous defense verdict following jury trial.
    • Obtained favorable result for insurance company in action brought by Attorney General of Pennsylvania seeking more than $3 million in damages and penalties for alleged consumer protection violations.
    • Served as lead counsel and successfully defended gynecologist who allegedly burned patient with heat-sterilized speculum during gynecological surgery.
    • Obtained entry of directed verdict after close of plaintiff’s evidence in jury trial of premises liability action against hospital.
    • Obtained substantial confidential settlement for client who sustained injuries to testicle after physical therapy incident and wheelchair fall in transport van
    • Appellate briefing and oral argument before Missouri Court of Appeals and Missouri Supreme Court.
    • Representation of licensee before Missouri State Board of Nursing
  5. Steven G. Brown

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    “It is a pleasure to practice law with others who have a passion for it and believe wholeheartedly in the idea of zealous advocacy for firm clients.”

    Steve has tried a number of cases to verdict, including a jury verdict in his client’s favor in his initial first chair jury trial, which was a surgical malpractice case arising from an esophageal dilatation procedure.

    Results

    • Served as primary counsel in multi-million dollar case brought under Federal Torts Claims Act arising from physician’s alleged failure to diagnose cauda equina syndrome in pregnant patient.
    • Achieved summary judgment for major bank in foreclosure case in which borrowers sought to enforce a claimed loan modification under various theories, including fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (“RICO“).
    • Served as member of trial team in three-week product liability case involving severe brain injuries to minor child arising from automobile manufacturer’s alleged failure to properly design and manufacture seat. Achieved settlement prior to start of closing arguments.
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    • Served as primary counsel in numerous medical negligence cases involving a wide variety of issues, including: failure to timely diagnose and manage a cerebellar infarct; failure to timely diagnose and treat acute monocytic leukemia; failure to properly diagnose and manage various issues related to pregnancy and childbirth; and failure to properly perform various surgical procedures.
    • Served as primary counsel in personal injury case against a multinational corporation in which plaintiff alleged he suffered severe renal injuries because the corporation failed to properly load powdered products on a truck, which caused the products to become displaced during transport and subsequently fall on him.  Successfully resolved case via settlement.
    • Prevailed on motion to dismiss in foreclosure case on behalf of major bank in which borrowers contended, among other things, that bank was not proper note holder, that bank perpetrated fraud against borrowers, and that bank had no standing to foreclose against borrowers.
    • Drafted amicus brief in case involving the applicability and scope of the “loss of chance“ theory of recovery in medical negligence cases in Kansas.
    • Drafted all appellate briefing and presented oral arguments to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in case involving claims for malicious prosecution that had been previously dismissed on summary judgment at the district court level.
  6. Bret A. Clark

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    Bret has successfully litigated a wide range of claims involving birth injury, catastrophic injury, and death. He also works with health care providers at all stages of litigation, including investigation of complaints well before suit is filed.

    “At SAKG, I have the privilege of working with experienced trial attorneys who are dedicated to providing quality service to all clients.  We strive to ensure clients receive the attention, guidance, and results they deserve.”

    Bret joined the firm as an associate in 2012. Prior to going to law school, Bret was a collegiate athlete. He lives with his wife and two sons in Overland Park, Kansas.

    Results

    • Achieved successful verdict in case where the plaintiff suffered a brain injury involving multiple subdural hematomas and nerve palsy.
    • Served as second chair and achieved a unanimous defense jury verdict in a case alleging permanent lower extremity nerve paralysis. Following a total hip replacement, the plaintiff experienced massive blood loss in the hip and thigh and was alleged to have developed compartment syndrome. Plaintiff alleged the standard of care required immediate return to the operating room for hematoma evacuation and nerve decompression. The surgeon, in exercising his professional judgment, determined the risks of immediate exploration greatly outweighed the potential benefits. The patient was returned to the operating room four days later when it was believed he was better able to withstand a second operative procedure.
    • Served as lead counsel and obtained successful jury verdict in a wrongful death case. Following hernia repair surgery, the patient presented to emergency department on two occasions with complaints of abdominal pain and was alleged to have developed bowel ischemia. Plaintiff alleged emergency medicine providers were negligent in failing to recognize and appropriately treat the patient’s acute abdomen. The patient passed away approximately 24 hours following second emergency department presentation.
    • Successfully litigated catastrophic brain injury case involving labor and delivery. Plaintiff alleged defendant health care provider failed to timely recognize and respond to fetal distress, causing extensive injury to both the infant and delivering mother.
    • Achieved positive resolution in numerous bowel injury cases in which plaintiffs alleged damages in excess of $1 million. These include allegations of intraoperative errors and the alleged failure to diagnose bowel injury postoperatively.
    • Successfully litigated case involving a minor patient who suffered paralysis during posterior spinal surgery. Plaintiff alleged extensive injury to the patient’s spinal cord during operative process.
    • Successfully resolved claims involving peripheral nerve injuries, anoxic encephalopathy, compartment syndrome, acute ischemic stroke, pulmonary embolism, loss of airways, ocular injuries, claims of delayed diagnoses of various conditions, failure to diagnose various conditions, and numerous types of alleged intra-operative errors on behalf of hospitals and physicians in both Kansas and Missouri.
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    • Extensive experience litigating long-term care matters throughout Kansas and Missouri, including claims involving falls, the development of pressure sores, and injuries resulting from medication errors, among many others.
  7. Brent N. Coverdale

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    His years of experience defending claims of discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, wage and hour class and collective actions, and agency investigations cause employers to seek his assistance representing them in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has obtained successful results for clients at all levels of litigation, from motions to dismiss through trial and appeal.

    “My role is to help clients resolve complicated, stressful, and often emotionally-charged situations. I strive to find the right solution, whether that means proactive steps to avoid issues, addressing and resolving misbehavior, or helping clear someone’s good name.”

    Brent also helps clients outside of litigation, counseling them on handbook and policy review and formulation, ADA and leave of absence issues, employee classification issues, employee and supervisor training, compliance audits, and investigations. He has worked on employment matters for a wide variety of companies, from retail operations, energy companies, telecommunications and information technology companies, automobile manufacturers, restaurants and food service operations, hotel chains, construction companies, hospitals, transportation services, staffing companies, educational institutions, financial companies, architecture and engineering firms, and insurance companies.

    Results

    • Won a $6 million unanimous verdict in jury trial in Jackson County, Missouri on behalf of awards and promotional products company after the company’s former employee and competitor conspired to work together to breach the employee’s duty of loyalty and tortiously interfered with business relations.
    • Obtained a defense verdict in jury trial in Jackson County, Missouri on behalf of the Board of Police Commissioners of Kansas City, Missouri and Chief of Police Darryl Forté.  Four male applicants for a sergeant transfer to the Canine Unit brought claims of gender discrimination over the Chief’s selection of a female candidate. This case was recognized as one of the Top Ten Defense Wins in 2017 in Missouri Lawyers Weekly.
    • Obtained reversal of a roughly half-million-dollar award against a medical care staffing company.  The Department of Labor issued a determination finding violations of the H-1B program company-wide.  After we achieved reversal of portions of the determination through administrative hearings, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the remaining awards, finding that the Department overstepped its authority by initiating a company-wide investigation despite only finding reasonable cause to investigate one specific (and limited) issue for one employee.
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    • Achieved summary judgment in state court against employee on behalf of energy provider. The former employee alleged gender discrimination and retaliation, based on alleged statements that she was not a viable candidate because of her status as a single parent with small children and later termination.
    • Served as lead counsel and obtained verdict for financial services company in jury trial against former agent for breach of contract.  The former employee raised a variety of legal and equitable arguments against enforcement of his agreement.
    • Counseling for employers from international companies to small businesses on a variety of employment matters, such as developing a nationwide background check system for U.S. employees of an international retailer, counseling a major automaker on wage and hour issues, and assisting a large municipal employer in reductions in force.
    • Served as lead counsel for multiple employers in wage and hour lawsuits, both as collective actions and individual litigation, including obtaining summary judgment despite allegations of substantial overtime for off-the-clock work.
    • Achieved summary judgment against employee on behalf of energy provider. The former employee alleged disability discrimination and retaliation under the ADA, as well as off-the-clock work.
    • Represented sales company against former employee in violation of noncompete agreement. After an evidentiary hearing, obtained declaratory judgment, permanent injunction, and fees.
    • Achieved summary judgment against employee on behalf of government contractor. The former employee alleged whistleblower retaliation for reporting false billing.
    • Represented local social work provider against state unemployment agency finding that counselors were employees rather than individual contractors. After a multi-day hearing, successfully convinced agency hearing officer to reverse the initial determination.
    • Achieved summary judgment against employee on behalf of government contractor. The former employee alleged disability discrimination under the ADA based upon alleged mental disabilities.
    • Defended employer in Department of Labor administrative hearing regarding wage and hour matters for foreign workers. The government alleged liquidated damages provision of employment contract was illegal, but after a multi-day hearing, the judge found the provision to be enforceable.
    • Defended trucking company in employment discrimination case alleging race, color, and sex harassment and discrimination. Achieved prompt resolution after early investigation.
    • Represented trucking company where trailer mechanic alleged vague disability, and was terminated when no position was available when he was able to return. Achieved finding from state agency that mechanic was not discriminated against due to his disability.
    • Defended propane carrier in Department of Labor proceedings by driver alleging retaliation for reporting violations of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act and other laws.
    • Represented hospital in workers’ compensation retaliation claim brought by employee terminated for poor performance. Achieved prompt resolution after convincing court to remove punitive damages from case.
    • Obtained prompt injunctive relief, leading to overall resolution, on behalf of medical center enforcing noncompete agreement against doctor going to work for competing medical facility in the same area.
    • Successfully briefed and argued several matters before various state and federal appellate courts. Greater Missouri Medical Pro-Care Providers, Inc. v. Perez, 812 F.3d 1132 (2015); Carmody, et al. v. Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, 713 F.3d 401 (2013);Napreljac v. John Q. Hammons Hotels, Inc., 505 F.3d 800 (2007); Electronic Data Systems v. Kansas Dept. of Human Resources, 108 P.3d 468 (2005); Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. v. Barrow, 143 Fed. Appx. 180 (2005).
  8. Natalie A. Frank

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    “If you take pride in your work, results are maximized. The members of this team take an enormous amount of pride in their work, and I am grateful every day to work alongside people who not only want to achieve the best results for our clients, but who cultivate an environment that fosters the skills necessary to litigate effectively and successfully. I am part of a truly amazing team.”

    Outside the firm, Natalie serves as an advisor to the UMKC chapter of her undergraduate sorority, Chi Omega. She enjoys engaging in a variety of exercises to stay active, including yoga, running, and strength training. She also loves to travel and takes any chance she can to visit her sister, who currently lives and practices near Austin, Texas.

  9. Cameron E. Grant

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    “SAKG’s reputation as a top litigation boutique in Kansas City is well-deserved; its lawyers are talented, conscientious, and committed to achieving great results for their clients. It’s a privilege to be part of the team.”

    Cameron has expansive court experience and has successfully argued numerous motions and appeals on behalf of clients in state and federal courts across the country, including the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Fifth and Eighth Circuits, and New York, Kansas and Missouri State courts. While at New York University School of Law, Cameron served as the Managing Editor of the Journal of Law & Liberty.

    Results

    • Obtained 8th Circuit reversal of an order from the W.D.Mo., which had denied SAKG’s motion to compel arbitration in favor of individual executives of a company who were not personally parties to the arbitration agreement at issue; the 8th Circuit reversed and ordered arbitration as to all parties.
    • Successfully defended 8th Circuit appeal, resulting in affirmance of decision dismissing third-party intervenor complaint against SAKG’s client for lack of standing.
    • Obtained summary judgment dismissing employment discrimination claims against KC-based employer brought in the Western District of Texas, and 5th Circuit affirmance of the judgment dismissing the complaint in its entirety.
    • Obtained summary affirmance of U.S. District Court judgment dismissing claims against national banking association, four days after oral argument on appeal heard by 2nd Circuit.
    • Successfully defended appeal for a commercial lender in New York’s Appellate Division, in a fraud action regarding a failed construction project.
    • Obtained a favorable settlement on behalf of commercial lender following borrower’s default on a multimillion-dollar condominium loan.
    • Successfully defended appeal of multimillion-dollar judgment against guarantor of commercial loan resulting in affirmance of judgment.
    • Successfully defended appeal on behalf of a limited liability partnership, upholding the partnership’s breach of contract claim.
    • Obtained dismissal of counterclaims in federal court alleged by commercial borrowers in connection with sale of billion-dollar loan portfolio.
  10. Jim Griffin

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    He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, has received the prestigious ranking as a “Band 1” trial lawyer by Chambers USA, and has been consistently recognized in Best Lawyers in America in several areas, including bet-the-company litigation. In 2013, Chambers USA aptly noted that clients prize Jim “for his determination to win cases as well as his excellent trial presence.”

    “I am motivated by a desire to perform excellent work – to properly analyze complex cases, determine the best course of action and execute the strategy. Everything else follows from that.”

    Jim has been the lead lawyer in more than 40 jury trials, many bench trials, and several multi-week arbitrations in Missouri, Kansas, and other states. He earned his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1983. He spent the first 30 years of his career with a local AmLaw 200 firm, Husch Blackwell LLP, where he served as its head of litigation and mentored young trial lawyers.

    Results

    • First chair trial lawyer in over 40 jury trials, two multi-week arbitrations and numerous bench trials.
    • Received directed verdict for national law firm at the close of plaintiff’s evidence in a jury trial in Jackson County, Missouri.
    • Received arbitration award for healthcare provider for $8,000,000 in a payment dispute with a payor.
    • Received defense verdict for a railroad in a claim that lung cancer was caused by asbestos and diesel fume exposure in Wyandotte County, Kansas.
    • Received defense verdict for insurers in claim for insurance coverage for cleanup costs due to groundwater pollution in Jackson County, Missouri.
    • Litigated a wide variety of complex contract and fraud claims in a wide variety of industries.
    • Successfully managed class actions involving real estate closing practices, retail fees charged customers, medical monitoring (asbestos), insurance claims practices, airline ticketing practices, natural gas measurement, municipal bond fraud, tax preparation software and others.
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    • Represented Special Litigation Committee of mutual fund board in derivative litigation over allegedly improper investments.
    • Recently tried and prevailed in two preliminary injunction trials – one against the FTC and the other over a large hotel management contract.
    • Litigated a wide variety of consumer claims in a wide variety of industries including automobile financing, retail, airline ticketing, and title insurance.
    • Represented WireCo in arbitration proceedings filed by a computer consultant that designed and installed ERP software for WireCo’s multiple manufacturing and management offices. WireCo counterclaimed for breach of contract, professional negligence and punitive damages. The consultant sought over $3 million from WireCo, but the arbitrator awarded a net of $2.2 million to WireCo, including punitive damages.
    • Recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlements for businesses and individuals in commercial disputes.
    • Represented former Westar Energy Chief Strategic Officer in third pending federal criminal trial on charges arising out of actions taken during his tenure. After convincing Justice Department to drop charges shortly before the trial was to begin, took the lead in arbitration proceedings against Westar for termination benefits and other claims. The arbitration matter settled confidentially, but Westar reported in its SEC filings and to the press, that it paid Mr. Lake a total of $26 million.
    • Represented several defendants in a nationwide class action in Western Kansas against most participants in the natural gas pipeline industry alleging improper measurement of natural gas at all natural gas wells in the United States on private land. Selected to be one of the lead counsel of the defense group, taking the lead in factual and expert depositions and arguing class certification motions. The class was not certified.
    • Represented hedge fund manager in $30 million arbitration claim filed by another hedge fund with which the client had a contractual relationship. Confidential, but extremely positive, result after two-week arbitration before JAMS in Los Angeles.
    • Represented Jacobs Engineering Group, a construction manager, in a trial in the District of Columbia Superior Court. Jacobs acted as the construction quality manager on a major remodeling project at the State Department. Plaintiff claimed he was seriously injured as a result of negligence by Jacobs. After three weeks of trial, the court granted a directed verdict based on the lack of a duty, which was affirmed by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.
    • Represented Salina Regional Health Center in a qui tam lawsuit brought by a disgruntled physician. Obtained summary judgment, affirmed on appeal in a precedent-setting case Conner v. Salina Regional Health Center, 543 F.3d 1211 (10th Cir. 2008).
    • Represented Providence Medical Center in case alleging wrongful termination of privileges. Obtained summary judgment.
    • Specialized in product liability cases including automobile equipment, asbestos, beryllium, pesticides, medical devices, gas turbines, farm equipment and cigarettes.
    • Served as mediator, arbitrator, and expert in legal malpractice cases.

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Kansas City, MO 64106-2197
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