• 08 May 2017 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    The following slate of officers and directors will be presented for a vote at the LAKC Annual Meeting on May 9, 2017 at Tom's Town:

    2017-18 Board of Directors

    President: Mike Hargens
    President-Elect: Catherine Bell
    Secretary/Treasurer: Tim West

    Anne Baggott
    Anna Berman
    Anna Louise Hawes
    Ty Hudson
    Mark Iba
    Mike Judy
    Derek MacKay
    Travis McCallon
    Dan McClain
    Chris Mirakian
    Casey Murray
    Jennifer Oldvader
    Rick Shearer
    Lindsay Todd Perkins
    Jennifer Wieman Earles

    Past-President: Brian Baggott

    All LAKC members are welcome and encouraged to attend the Annual Meeting and Happy Hour. No RSVP required; no cost to attend.  

  • 01 May 2017 7:47 AM | Anonymous

    The Lawyers Association of Kansas City-Young Lawyers Section elections for the 2017-18 Board of Directors will be held May 9, 2017 from 4:30pm - 6:30pm at Tom's Town, 1701 Main ST, Kansas City, MO. LAKC-YLS members are invited to vote for up to three (3) candidates on the ballot by mail, email or in person on May 9th. A link to the ballot is provided below.


    You must be a member of LAKC-YLS to vote. One ballot per YLS member.

    Please vote for up to three (3) of the following candidates for the LAKC-YLS Board of Directors by marking the box next to the candidate's name.

      Please return this ballot to Tyler Scott by e-mail to or by U.S. mail to Tyler Scott, Husch Blackwell LLP, 4801 Main Street, Suite 1000, Kansas City, Missouri 64112. Ballots, whether sent by e-mail or U.S. mail, must be received prior to 5 p.m. on May 9, 2017, to be counted. If you prefer to vote in person, you may do so at the LAKC-YLS Elections on May 9, 2017, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Tom’s Town, 1701 Main Street, Kansas City, Missouri.

      LAKC-YLS 17-18 Ballot.pdf

    • 04 Apr 2017 7:01 AM | Anonymous

      The Young Lawyers Section of the Lawyers Association of Kansas City is now accepting applications for the 2017-18 YLS Board of Directors. Interested candidates should complete the application provided and submit to Tyler Scott at on or before April 27, 2017.

      The Young Lawyers Section of LAKC is comprised of members under 35 or who have graduated from law school within the past five years and maintain “service of public interest by advancing the role of the legal profession in serving the public” as a value.

      Elections will be held on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 @ Tom's Town Distilling Co., 1701 Main ST, Kansas City MO.

      LAKC YLS Application Board of Directors 4.17.pdf

    • 04 Apr 2017 6:59 AM | Anonymous

      The following changes to the YLS Bylaws have been recommended for approval at the YLS Board of Directors in April 2017.

      LAKC-YLS proposed bylaws changes 4.2017.pdf

    • 01 Mar 2017 7:50 AM | Anonymous

      Representative Keith Frederick (R – Phelps/Pulaski counties), who sits on the Special Committee on Employment Security introduced a bill that seeks to modify RSMo 431.202 in such a way that non-compete agreements between employers and employees entered into after August 28, 2017 would not be enforceable. Obviously, this type of legislation would be popular with employees subject to these type of post-employment restrictions and not with employers.

      I believe the bill was pre-filed. It was introduced and had its first reading on January 5, 2017 and read a second time on January 9, 2017. It was referred to Workforce Development on January 25 and had a public hearing on February 1. Action was postponed on the bill on February 8, 2017 and now it sits. I don’t believe this bill is going anywhere this session.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

    • 21 Feb 2017 6:12 PM | Anonymous

      There are several bills currently pending in the legislature designed to modify the Missouri Human Rights Act. I’m going to make a sketch of these here understanding that these modifications are complex and deserve much deeper treatment than afforded by this format.

      HB 550 – This bill was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Joe Don McGaugh (R – Chariton, Carroll and Ray). Rep. McGaugh also served on the Special Committee on Litigation Reform, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules and the Joint Committee on Justice System. This bill had a public hearing before the Special Committee on Litigation Reform on February 13 along with many other bills comprising a general tort reform package.

      This bill seeks to change the causation standard under the MHRA by changing the definition of “because” or “because of” to mean the motivating factor. In other words, it would be a defense to a discrimination claim that firing a person was not the motivating factor, but was still a factor. This would put the Missouri standard closer to the federal standard for employment discrimination claims.

      Along with that change, the bill would require that juries be instructed on the business judgment rule in discrimination cases with the express intent of abrogating McBryde v. Ritenour Sch. Dist., 207 S.W.3d 162 (Mo. App. E.D. 2006) and its progeny. The business judgment rule creates a rebuttable presumption in favor of management that it acted for a proper business purpose and that judgment should not be second-guessed. In other words, management mistakes, even if very stupid, are not actionable. It must be more than a mistake or bad call to create liability for the business.

      In line with the causation change, the bill would require courts to rely heavily on federal precedent from Title VII, age discrimination, and disability discrimination cases in applying the MHRA.  In accord with this, the bill recommends an analysis for courts to apply in determining summary judgment motions that would likely result in summary judgment being granted more in Missouri state court.

      The bill also includes significant damages caps that limit recovery to actual back pay plus interest and then other damages tiered based on the number of employees the business has. For instances, if a business has less than 100 employees than other damages are limited to $50,000. If a business has more than 500 employees these other damages would be limited to $300,000. Based on reported verdicts and settlements, this would have a dramatic effect.

      Finally, the bill includes a Whistleblower’s Protection Act which essentially codifies the common law exception to the at will employment doctrine as to whistleblowers. The bill defines whistleblower as a person who has reported to the proper authorities an unlawful act or serious misconduct of the employer that violates a clear mandate of public policy. The bill limits the potential damages available to a whistleblower, including a prohibition of punitive damages.

      HB 552 is nearly identical. It was introduced by Assistant Majority Floor Leader Kevin Austin (R-Greene County). This bill was also subject of a public hearing on February 13.

      HB 676 is also nearly identical. It was introduced by Rep. Dean Plocher (R – St. Louis) and was also the subject of a public hearing on February 13.

      SB 43 goes even further in establishing a “but for” causation standard for MHRA actions. That is to say that the employee would have to prove that the employer would have not fired her or taken an adverse employment action but for the protected status. The bill also has the same abrogation of McBryde v. Ritenour Sch. Dist., 207 S.W.3d 162 (Mo. App. E.D. 2006) concerning the business judgment rule. The bill would expressly abrogate all existing Missouri approved jury instructions concerning the MHRA. This bill has the same damages limitations as found in the House bill. Finally, the Senate version includes a Whistleblower section similar to the House version.

      SB 43 was initially filed by Senator Romine (R – Iron, Reynolds, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Washington and Jefferson counties). It has been through the Small Business and Industry Committee and that version is now on the Senate’s formal calendar Bills for Perfection.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

    • 20 Feb 2017 8:42 AM | Anonymous

      My last post focused on bills seeking to change the joinder rules, but those bills also address venue so I want to update that post here and talk about a few other bills.

      HB 461 essentially requires that venue be established as to each defendant in any petition alleging a tort. This was voted Do Pass (10-2) by the Special Committee on Litigation Reform and is set for hearing with the Legislative Oversight Committee on February 20 at 2pm.

      SB 261 and SB 262 are the same and are set on the Senate’s Formal Calendar Bills for Perfection on February 20.  Those bills would make changes to Missouri Supreme Court Rules 52.05 and 52.06.

      SB 259 and HB 462 seek to make changes to Missouri Supreme Court Rules 52.12. 52.12 concerns the concept of joinder. Specially, these bills seek to add a subsection that states: “Venue. No person shall be allowed to intervene in any action in which a tort is alleged if that person could not independently establish jurisdiction and venue.” These bills were introduced by the same Representative and Senator that introduced HB 461 and SB 261 and SB 262.

      These bills are on the same track meaning that HB 462 is set for hearing with the Legislative Oversight Committee on February 20 at 2pm and SB 259 is on the Senate’s Formal Calendar Bills for Perfection that same day.

      SB 260 and HB 463 seek to amend Supreme Court Rule 51.01 to incorporate the changes in Rules 52.05, 52.06 and 52.12. This appears to be bootstrapping to ensure that 51.01 does not create an ambiguity. These bills are on the same path as those discussed above.

      These bills are all attempting to do the same thing: make it harder to bring a lawsuit in Missouri.  With that I guess it is not surprising who testified in favor and against the bills. 

      Testifying in favor were Representative Kolkmeyer; National Federation of Independent Business; Missouri Retailers Association; Missouri Grocers Association; Associated Industries of Missouri; Johnson & Johnson; Monsanto; The Doctors Company; Missouri Trucking Association; Missouri State Medical Association; Jay Atkins, KC Southern Railway; Missouri Petroleum Council; Washington University; Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Missouri Railroad Association; Phil Goldberg, American Tort Reform Association; Missouri Insurance Coalition; Kansas City Power & Light; and Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers.

      Testifying against were Jeff Bauer, Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and Jack Garvey.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

    • 10 Feb 2017 12:30 PM | Anonymous

      House Bill 461 seeks to change the joinder rules found in Supreme Court Rule 52.05 and 52.06. This legislation proposed by Majority Caucus Chair Glen Kolkmeyer (R – Jackson/Johnson/Lafayette) appears to be in response to Governor Greitens call for tort reform from his State of the State address in which he claimed there was a massive amount of lawsuits being filed in Missouri by non-Missourians because Missouri is a “judicial hell hole.”

       The bill would add this subjection to Rule 52.05:

      (c) Independent Establishment of Venue. In addition to the requirements of subdivision (a), in any civil action in which there is a count alleging a tort, two or more plaintiffs may be joined in a single action only if each plaintiff could have separately filed an action in that venue, independent of the claims of any other plaintiff. Any plaintiff that cannot establish proper venue independent of the claims of any other plaintiff shall be deemed misjoined. If the plaintiff was first injured outside of the state of Missouri, two or more defendants may be joined in a single action if the plaintiff can establish proper venue against each defendant individually. If proper venue cannot be established against a defendant individually, that defendant shall be deemed misjoined.

       The bill would also add this language to the end of Rule 52.06:

      If a plaintiff or defendant is deemed misjoined under supreme court rule 52.05(c), such plaintiff or defendant shall be severed from the action, and the claims shall be transferred to a county in which venue exists. If there is no county in Missouri in which venue exists, the claims shall be dismissed.

      Senate Bills 261 and 262, sponsored by Majority Caucus Whip Brian Munzlinger (R – District 18, which is generally northcentral and northeastern Missouri) are identical and have been passed by the Government Reform Committee

       HB 461 is set for hearing on Monday, Feb. 13 at 1pm in front of the Special Committee on Litigation Reform so don’t delay in reaching out to your representative if you have a position on this proposed legislation.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

    • 02 Feb 2017 10:03 AM | Anonymous

      In two earlier posts we discussed various bills that were referred to the Judiciary Committee. Since that time there have been quite a few new bills referred to Judiciary so let’s take a look at a few of those now that relate to criminal sentencing.

      HB 38 – Galen Higdon (R – Platte/Buchanan) has introduced this bill, which seeks to make two significant changes regarding criminal sentencing. Those changes would effect RSMo 558.019 in that the language requiring an offender to serve a certain portion of his/her sentence would now be discretionary instead of mandatory (“may be required to” instead of “shall be”). This bill also proposes to add the following section:

      1. (1) Any person, except for a person who was found guilty of first degree murder or of any sex offense under chapter 566, meeting the following qualifications shall be eligible for a parole hearing:

      (a) There was no heinous motive involved in the crime;

      (b) The person is capable of rehabilitation;

      (c) The person has been a model prisoner;

      (d) The crime did not involve physical harm or the threat of violence to another person; and

      (e) The crime did not involve a firearm.

      (2) For purposes of this subsection, "heinous" means any crime that is hateful or shockingly evil.

      I doubt there is much interest on pushing a bill that gives a “soft on crime” impression.

      HB 171 (same as HB 1622 last year) seeks to add five words (“at the time of adjudication”) to RSMo 589.405. Mike Kelley (R – Dade/Barton/Jasper/Cedar) wants to place a requirement on judges to tell sex offenders “at the time of adjudication” that they must register as sex offenders. The statute already requires that these offenders be told of the registration requirement at the time prior to their release and discharge.

      I’ll admit that I do not understand why we would seek to add a requirement that can later be used by a sex offender to avoid responsibility for not registering on the sex offender list. Give Rep. Kelley a call and ask him why sex offenders must be told twice of their registration requirements.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

    • 26 Jan 2017 12:36 PM | Anonymous

      My first few posts concerning the 2017 Missouri legislative session have focused on the House Judiciary Committee. In this post let’s take a look at two interesting bills in the Senate.

       SB200 – This is the same as SB591, which we looked at in the 2016 legislative session before it went through some modifications. This bill changes the standards applicable to expert witnesses in Missouri pursuant to RSMo 490.065. Jessi Baker’s official Senate summary on this is good so I’m going to copy it here:

      "This act provides that current standards for admitting expert testimony in a civil action shall apply to legal actions adjudicated in probate court, juvenile court, family courts, or in actions involving divorce, marriage, adoption, child support orders, or protective orders.

      In all other legal actions an expert witness may testify in a court proceeding if the expert has specialized knowledge that will help the trier of fact understand the evidence, the testimony is based on sufficient facts and the product of reliable principles, and if the expert has reliably applied such principles to the facts of the case.

      An expert may base an opinion on facts in the case that the expert has been made aware of or personally observed. If experts in the particular field would reasonably rely on those kinds of facts in forming an opinion, the facts need not be admissible for the opinion to be admitted. If the facts would otherwise be inadmissible, the proponent may disclose them to the jury only if their probative value outweighs their prejudicial effect.

      An expert witness shall not testify on the defendant's mental state which constitutes an element of the crime. An expert witness may state an opinion without first testifying to the underlying facts, but may be required to do so on cross-examination.

      A real property owner is competent to testify as to the reasonable market value of his or her land, in accordance with certain case law listed in the act."

      SB 277 – Senator Paul Wieland (R-Jefferson County) seeks to have the death penalty removed as a potential punishment for first-degree murder. This would cause repeal to numerous sections is Chapters 546 and 565 of Missouri’s Revised Statutes. This bill was tried the last few years in the Senate and for several recent years in the House. Any chance it will pass this time?  If it did, would Greitens sign it? I can’t recall from the campaign his stance on the death penalty, if any. He did campaign on being tougher on violent crimes though, which would certainly include first-degree murder.

      Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
      LAKC Board of Directors

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