A 25 year-old foreign exchange student was at a party of a friend’s one night in Missouri when he stepped outside to join some others smoking on a balcony. The young man leaned against a rail on the second floor balcony when the railing gave way and the man fell onto an awning and concrete steps below causing a spinal fracture. It was a clear case of premises liability negligence with no comparative fault to speak of. The case settled out of court. If you are the victim of someone else’s failure to exercise ordinary care, please give our firm a call for lawyers’ expertise in redressing your grievances.
In 2009, a twelve-year old middle-schooler at St. Charles, MO, was in shop class carrying a piece of sheet metal when he tripped on a protruding tile. The metal fell on his foot and ruptured his his Achilles Tendon requiring surgery. The case settled out of court.
These type of facts are seen more in worker’s comp claims than personal injury to students claims. Nevertheless it demonstrates that in Missouri, all people at all times deserve to be protected from the negligence of others, notwithstanding the environment they find themselves.
If you or a loved one have suffered an injury, please contact Bottaro, Morefield, Kubin and Yocum and let us obtain the appropriate redress for your injuries.
On September 18, 2012, in the case of Hays v. Royer, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri rendered an interesting opinion on the issue of negligent entrustment. In this case, a drunk driver died in a one car accident. No one else was hurt. The family of the drunk driver sued the man’s employer for negligently entrusting the company car to him when the company reportedly knew the man was an habitual drunk. A negligent entrustment claim is one in which the injured party sues a car owner for allowing a dangerous driver to use the owner’s car. This type of claim is commonly seen when a parent entrusts his or her car to a teenage child who is known to be a dangerous or reckless driver and the teenager injures someone while driving. The law holds the car owner responsible for carelessly entrusting his or her car to a known bad driver.
What is unusual about this case is that the family of the man who drove drunk and killed himself sued the man’s employer for negligent entrustment. In essence, the family is claiming that because the deceased was known to drive drunk, his death is the fault of the employer who allowed him to use a company vehicle, not his own fault for deciding to drink and drive. To complicate matters further, the man who died while driving drunk was a part owner of the company that provided the vehicle to him.
It is important to keep in mind that neither a court nor a jury has found the company liable for providing the car to the drunk driver. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the company. The Court of Appeals reversed, which simply means the case can proceed to trial and that the family has a viable legal claim. This case highlights the complexity of the rules regarding negligent entrustment and how important it is for vehicle owners to be cautious about the persons to whom they entrust their vehicles. It will be interesting to see what a jury does with this case if it gets to trial.
The lawyers of Bottaro, Morefield, Kubin & Yocum, P.C. handle negligent entrustment lawsuits in Kansas and Missouri.
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the dismissal of claims against Yocum’s client, Proctor Financial, Inc. arising from a forced-placed insurance policy. Proctor was the managing general agent for Associated International Insurance Company.
When Plaintiff failed to maintain insurance on his mortgaged farm, his bank obtained “force-placed” or “lender-placed” insurance on the property from Associated through Proctor.
Plaintiff made a claim against the force-placed insurance policy after his property was damaged by a storm. But because the policy covered only the farmhouse and specifically excluded other property, the insurance payment to the bank did not cover all of the storm damage.
Plaintiff sued Associated and Proctor, alleging that they were liable to him for the insurance shortfall. But the district court dismissed Plaintiff’s claim against Proctor. The district court held that plaintiff had not stated a contract cause of action because he was not an intended third-party beneficiary of the insurance policy. Further, the district court held that plaintiff had not stated a cause of action for promissory estoppel or fraud on grounds that the insurance policy and various loan documents foreclosed any justifiable reliance by plaintiff. The Tenth Circuit affirmed dismissal of plaintiff’s claims against Proctor.
Ms. Yocum practices extensively in the area of insurance issues and disputes and is licensed in Kansas and Missouri. Ms. Yocum has extensive experience as a trial and appellate attorney.
Kip Kubin and Beckie Yocum have once again been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.® Ms. Yocum has been recognized in the practice areas of Employment Law – Individuals, Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor & Employment. Mr. Kubin has been recognized in the practice area of Workers’ Compensation Law-Employers. Special congratulations to Mr. Kubin as one of a distinguished group of attorneys who have been listed in Best Lawyers in America® for ten years or longer. For nearly three decades, Best Lawyers has been regarded – by both the profession and the public – as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.
Rick Morefield and Pat Bottaro have each accepted an invitation to join The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Information about the organization can be found at http://www.thenationaltriallawyers.org/index.php/about-us.
According to the National Trial Lawyers website, “The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers is a professional association composed of only the most qualified trial lawyers from each state. Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers is by invitation and is extended only to those attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, leadership, influence, reputation, stature, and profile in the trial attorney community, as viewed by the National Trial Lawyers organization, other trial lawyers, members of the bench, and the public at large. The Association conducts the necessary investigation and diligent evaluation of trial lawyers’ qualifications for invitation as one of its exclusive members.”
Rick Morefield is listed as an approved neutral for the Early Assessment Program in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Mr. Morefield has 26 years experience in litigating and trying personal injury and commercial cases, having tried many to successful verdict. Mr. Morefield’s experience includes representing plaintiffs and defendants and he believes this balance will be helpful in his mediation practice. Mr. Morefield welcomes the opportunity to provide his services as a neutral and a mediator.
Pat Bottaro is now listed as an approved neutral for the Early Assessment Program in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Mr. Bottaro has 27 years experience in litigating personal injury cases, having tried many to successful verdict. Mr. Bottaro looks forward to providing services as a neutral and as a mediator.
Today, the Missouri Supreme Court eliminated the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. The cap on non-economic damages limited a negligently injured patient’s recovery for pain and suffering to a maximum of $350,000.00 regardless of the severity of the injury. The Missouri Supreme Court held that this cap impermissibly interfered with the right of a jury to determine damages. The full opinion is 28 pages long and is available here.
The Trial Techniques Committee for the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section of the American Bar Association published Rick Morefield’s article on “The Art of Advocacy: Lessons from Preachers.” The article is available at the following link http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/uncategorized/tips/trial/trial_spring2012fl.pdf In the article, Mr. Morefield discusses the common principles used by preachers and trial lawyers to reach their audience.