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Home / Featured / Missouri Lawyers Media Top V&S winners announced

Missouri Lawyers Media Top V&S winners announced

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Missouri’s court system has established enough normalcy for attorneys to return to courtrooms and conference rooms to bring their cases to a close.

Each year, Missouri Lawyers Media scours its Verdicts & Settlements database to recognize the state-licensed attorneys who achieved the largest verdicts, settlements, judgments and defense wins of the past 12 months.

These are the largest cases we reported in 2021. We honored the attorneys in these cases at our Missouri Lawyers Awards on Jan. 27.

Top plaintiffs’ verdicts:


$34.1 million

Kendrick v. CoxHealth

Roger Johnson and Scott Vorhees of Johnson, Vorhees & Martucci in Joplin represented the family of a boy who suffered brain damage at birth in Greene County. The defendants’ experts testified that it was possible that the injuries occurred prior to birth, while the plaintiffs alleged that mistakes by hospital staff caused and compounded the baby’s brain damage. Staff allegedly failed to recognize signs of hypoxia and worsened the problem by feeding him with a cup.


$14.2 million

Woodgate v. St. James Winery

Ben Sansone of Sansone & Lauber and Brent Sumner of the Sumner Law Firm, both in St. Louis, persuaded a Phelps County jury to mostly side with a couple injured during a motorcycle cross-country trip. The defense argued that the motorcyclists were not visible to the winery’s pickup truck that crashed into them. The award was reduced to $12.8 million due to comparative fault.


$11.75 million

Major Brands Inc. v. Mast-Jagermeister Inc. US

Richard B. Walsh Jr., Derick Albers, Lindsey Muse Bruno, Sarah Anne Mulinski, Edward T. Pivin, Evan Z. Reid and Oliver H. Thomas of Lewis Rice in St. Louis represented Major Brands in its suit against Mast-Jagermeister for terminating a 48-year business relationship without just cause. A federal jury found that the defendant violated the Missouri Franchise Act and committed tortious interference.


$10 million

Frazier v. Lee

Amy Collignon Gunn, Pat McPhail and Liz Lenivy of the Simon Law Firm in St. Louis represented a plaintiff who woke up from surgery with worsened pain and motor ability. The surgeon claimed to have found a cause of the pain after the first operation, and operated again, but with help from experts, the plaintiff’s attorneys persuaded the jury that the operation worsened the plaintiff’s condition.


$9 million

Ford v. Wolfe

Dirk Vandever of the Popham Law Firm, Andy Gelbach of Warrensburg and Josh Meisner of Macon prevailed in front of a Linn County jury on behalf a woman who lost her leg in a motorcycle accident. Instead of being suspicious of the plaintiff’s active lifestyle after the accident, the jury was impressed with her efforts to return to her life and career. It is among the largest jury verdicts in northern Missouri that has ever reported to our Verdicts & Settlements database.

Top settlements:


$790 million

St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority v. National Football League

Robert Blitz, Christopher Bauman and Jason Turk,of Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch and Jim Bennett, Ed Dowd, Megan Heinsz, Michelle Nasser, Matthew Crane, Mo Blasé and Jimmy Martin of Dowd Bennett, all in St. Louis, resolved what is probably the most controversial thing to happen in St. Louis in living memory — the Rams’ relocation to Los Angeles. The team of lawyers representing St. Louis interests reached the agreement with the NFL and team owner Stan Kroenke in the high-profile case that was closely watched by St. Louis media but was litigated mostly behind closed doors. The trial was set to begin early this year, and with the potential for punitive damages to be awarded against team owners, the parties brought the case to an end.


$37.78 million

Webb v. Johnson & Johnson

Stephen G. Sanders of Sanders Law in Kansas City and Thomas L. Wagstaff Jr. of the Law Office of Tom Wagstaff Jr. in Overland Park, Kansas helped the son of a now-deceased plaintiff receive a share of the case’s $2 billion judgment despite not having an earlier role in the case. His mother’s estate was one of a multitude of plaintiffs who alleged they contracted ovarian cancer from Johnson & Johnson-brand talcum powder. The son interceded after his sister, who had previously been on the claim, died and left the estate with her husband. The son alleged that he had a claim for wrongful death that the brother-in-law did not, and successfully asked the court to apportion some of the money to him.


$16.225 million

Butala et al. v. The Curators of The University of Missouri

Edward “Kip” Robertson III, James P. Frickleton, Michelle Marvel and Kelly Frickleton of Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader in Leawood, Kansas; and Todd N. Hendrickson of Hendrickson Law in Kirkwood resolved 13 lawsuits in Boone County by plaintiffs who alleged they underwent failed knee surgeries at the Mizzou BioJoint Center. The suits made medical malpractice claims against doctors involved. They also claimed that the university’s advertisements were misleading and violated Missouri consumer protection laws. The settlements were reached while the case was under review in the Missouri Supreme Court.


$16 million

Cianciolo v. Liquid Transport Corp.

Jason Smith of Spencer Fane and Chandler Gregg of Strong-Garner-Bauer, both in Springfield, reached this settlement for a woman injured when a tanker truck ran a red light in Howell County, T-boning the pickup truck in which she was a passenger. Her serious injuries caused lasting pain and short-term memory loss. The case settled shortly before it was set to go to trial.


$10.7 million

Allicks v. Omni Specialty Packaging LLC

Thomas V. Bender and Dirk Hubbard of Horn Aylward & Bandy in Kansas City; Bryan T. White of White, Graham, Buckley & Carr in Independence; and Clayton A. Jones of Raymore won federal court approval of a class-action settlement that resolving consumer’s claims that O’Reilly Auto Parts sold deceptively mislabeled ‘303’ tractor-hydraulic fluid. The defendant agreed to stop selling the branded fluid and to reimburse each purchaser.

Top judgments or bench awards:


$39 million

City of Winchester v. Charter Communications Inc.

John F. Mulligan Jr. of Clayton; John Hoffman and Garrett Broshuis of Korein Tillery in St. Louis; John Hoffman and Garrett Broshuis of St. Louis; and John Hoffman and Garrett Broshuis of University City represented a group of state municipalities that alleged telecommunications providers had excluded revenue from the cities’ license taxes. A St. Louis County judge ruled in their favor and said Charter must include revenue streams that were previously excluded. Some cities recovered more than $1 million in taxes, while St. Louis County received the largest back-tax payment of $4.1 million.


$35.72 million

Hursh et al. v. DST Systems Inc.

Ken B. McClain, Jonathan M. Soper, Chelsea McClain-Pierce and J’nan C. Kimak of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain in Independence; John M. Klamann and Andrew Schermerhorn of Klamann Law Firm in Kansas City; George E. Kapke Jr. and Mike Fleming of Kapke & Willerth in Lee’s Summit; and Gene Graham, William Carr and Bryan T. White of White Graham Buckley & Carr in Independence tried a series of individual claims for plaintiffs who alleged that DST poorly managed its employee retirement plan. The company won an early dismissal of a class-action lawsuit, so the plaintiffs’ attorneys arbitrated each claim separately, which took more than a year.


$31 million

D.P. v. Rezendes

Gretchen Myers of the Law Offices of Gretchen Myers in St. Louis won this judgment for a minor who was shaken by an unlicensed at-home daycare provider in St. Charles County. The provider at first denied it, which caused the parents to briefly lose custody of their child during the investigation. But the provider had confided in a friend who turned her in, which allowed the parents to reclaim their baby. The plaintiff is now seeking to recover the judgment from the defendant’s homeowner’s insurance.


$13.5 million

Price v. Garry

J. Eric Mitchell of Johns, Mitchell, Duncan & Lowe in Clinton, and Joe McGreevy of Kuhlman & Lucas in Kansas City secured this judgment for the family of a woman who died after a drunk driver rear-ended her in an early morning crash. Although the defendant expressed his regret at trial for his actions, the award included $4.5 million in punitive damages as well as $9 million in compensatory damages for the woman’s husband and two daughters.


$2.38 million

Communications Unlimited Contracting Services Inc. v. Mid-Continent Casualty Company

Tyson Ketchum and Jonathan Shulan of Armstrong Teasdale, and Michael Cerulo and Erica Briscoe of Baty Otto Coronado litigated this complex insurance case for more than five years. At issue was whether an insurer had to cover an earlier settlement that a company reached with the victim of a crime committed by an employee of a subcontractor. After sorting out the novel issues of insurance law, the judge said the insurer had to cover the settlement and awarded post-judgment interest as well.

Top defense wins:


$923 million jury request

Giese et al. v. Johnson & Johnson

Beth Bauer and Alexandra Haar of HeplerBroom were part of a team of lawyers who defended Johnson & Johnson on claims that use of talcum baby powder caused the plaintiff to develop ovarian cancer. A St. Louis County jury disagreed and sided with the company. Its defense claimed that the plaintiffs were ineligible because they did not report chronic inflammation, a reported symptom of exposure to the talcum baby powder prior to cancer diagnosis. The case is the latest in a series of similar claims, some of which have resulted in multimillion or -billion dollar awards.


$5.6 million in claimed damages

JTC Oil Inc. v. City of Grandview

Kenneth McClain, Colin McClain and Timothy Kingsbury of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain in Independence; and Joe Gall, special counsel for the City of Grandview, fought back and won against an oil company’s suit seeking to dot a tract in a Kansas City suburb with 71 petroleum wells. The company relied on a 27-year-old oil lease for a dairy farmer’s property that had been split for homeowners. The company lost its claim in Jackson County for inverse condemnation because it refused to consider a smaller development that would have fit the city’s limitations.


$3 million in claimed economic losses, $8.5 million jury request

Miltenberger v. Hsu

Andrew M. Luther and Kim Roger Luther of Luther & Associates; and Brian Burge and Stacey Dowd of Sanders Warren Russell & Scheer represented an emergency doctor and the medical group for their alleged failure to timely identify a plaintiff’s fatal colon cancer. A St. Charles County jury agreed with defense counsel, who showed that CT scans did not clearly indicate a serious condition.


$1.5 million to $2.5 million in claimed economic losses, $8.5 million jury request

Bond v. Mercy Clinic Springfield Communities

Kent O. Hyde and David E. Overby, Love & Overby in Springfield cleared a Greene County hospital and its doctor of claims that complications from a pain pump led a woman to lose the use of her arm. The defense argued that the client performed the surgery just as he’d been trained, and that the plaintiff was trying to hold the defendants accountable for later acts of other health care providers.


$1 million to $3.75 million in pretrial demands, $5 million to $10 million jury request

Holt v. Qualified Trucking Service Inc.

Steven Hughes and Joseph Hoffman of Hughes Lawyers in St. Louis won on behalf operators of a truck that was moving slowly on Interstate 44 when a car ran into the back of it, killing a passenger. The truck had merged onto the highway from a rest stop’s on-ramp on the left side of the road, and the defense was able to show that the design made it nearly impossible for the truck to get up to speed.