The Leawood, Kansas-based partner with Bartimus Frickleton Robertson & Rader played a role in cases netting about $35 million in verdicts and settlements over the course of the year, with one case garnering international attention.
Along with Todd Scharnhorst, an attorney for Scharnhorst Ast Kennard & Griffin in Kansas City, Rader helped secure $19.7 million in settlements for the family of Caleb Schwab, a 10-year-old who died in 2016 while riding a water slide at Schlitterbahn, a water park in Kansas City, Kansas.
He said the international spotlight of that case taught him important lessons in helping clients when it comes to dealing with the press.
He said keeping a clear line of communication with media in those kinds of cases, through press releases or otherwise, is essential to ease the pressure on clients.
“If you don’t know how to communicate with or acknowledge the existence of the press, they’re going to get their news one way or another,” he said. “It’s easier for the lawyer to shoulder those burdens.”
In other cases, he secured a $7.5 judgment and $7.5 million settlement for wrongful death cases stemming from vehicle accidents.
In his practice, Rader said he quantifies success in terms of what is the best outcome for a particular client.
“In some instances, your hands are tied because of caps, or because of different types of rules or laws states have,” he said. “You can never base it on a monetary figure, just doing the very best you can do for your clients based on individual sets of facts.”
Rader has been partner at his firm since 2008. He came to it in 2003 from the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office. As a prosecutor, he found it rewarding to work with victims and their families during some of the toughest times of their lives, a point he said is similar in his plaintiffs’ practice.
“It was an easy segue from helping victims of crimes to helping people who were victims of negligence and other wrongdoings,” he said.
Outside of work, he says his best accomplishment is his family, including his wife and teen sons.
Rader also has served the community through his role on the Kansas City Police Board of Commissioners, which governs the Kansas City Police Department.
Rader was one of four citizens appointed by the governor to the board. He served as president and vice-president during his term, which expired in 2017.
He said both his prosecutorial experience and legal experience were key to the position. He said he found the work rewarding.
“It was neat being involved in the day-to-day things the police department does, mostly as it interacts with the community,” he said.