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ICON Awards 2021: Timothy Monsees, Monsees & Mayer

Tim Monsees wears his affinity for the underdog on his sleeve — which these days, means his online public profile.

Timothy MonseesWhether representing victims of sexual abuse or pursuing landmark class-action litigation against one of America’s oldest gun manufacturers, the Kansas City attorney relishes going toe-to-toe against the “bully boys” – think large corporations and their insurers —on behalf of blue-collar clients not unlike the folks he grew up around in Raytown.

“There aren’t very many instances where the neurosurgeon trips and falls,” Monsees (pronounced Mon-SEES) explains in an online video testimonial.  “Most of our clients are working class, like the people that I grew up around, whom I identify with.”

Monsees, now 66, founded his current firm in 1995. In 2006, he took charge of its work in a class-action lawsuit against rifle manufacturer Remington, which eight years later agreed to replace the firing mechanisms on millions of its guns, including the Model 700, a bolt-action rifle with “the nagging little tendency to fire even when you don’t pull the trigger,” he said. The design dated to 1947.

Monsees credits his interest in product liability cases to an early client who came to see him about injuries from a car wreck.  Upon further review, the client – an amputee – told Monsees how he had lost his arm as a child in an accident involving a wringer washing machine. He was off to the races.

“He has litigated cases resulting in much needed policy changes in the workplace,” partner David Mayer wrote in his nomination. “He has represented victims who have been killed or injured as a result of defective firearms. His representation of these clients has led to significant changes and implementation of firearm safety procedures.”

The Raytown High School debate team member cites the “stylized arguments” of that discipline as an early spark, but it wasn’t until he joined the trial advocacy team at the University of Missouri law school that his future path as a trial lawyer would become clear.

“That was the domino effect,” he said.

An active outdoors enthusiast (e.g., scuba, golf, skiing) with three children, two stepdaughters and two grandchildren, Monsees has volunteered with the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA) and the KCMBA Bar Foundation. In that role, he’s been known to don a woodpecker costume to teach grade school students about bullying.

ICON Awards 2021