“They take on an awful lot of risk,” said Brumitt, a partner at Dysart Taylor Cotter McMonigle & Brumitt. “As a litigator you’re always dealing with risk, and that’s something that I really respect contractors for, the risk they take on every single project.”
That bond has allowed Brumitt to successfully represent contractors in disputes over money or alleged defective work.
“Lee is the type of attorney you want representing you,” said Robert Cotter, an attorney who worked with Brumitt for more than three decades. “He’s a fierce advocate for his clients, and he understands the legal system and how to get the best outcome for his clients.”
Brumitt’s first case, in 1984, was on behalf of Larry L. Vaught Roofing, a Kansas City company, and concerned non-payment. They ultimately won a judgment that was six times more than the principal amount, Brumitt said.
“It just gave me a lot of experience, and I guess, confidence,” said Brumitt, 63.
Brumitt not only liked contractors but also often worked with “two contractors in a room to fight over a dispute, and I have found that many times both of them are right,” he said.
“They are a pretty articulate bunch when it comes to their trade,” he said. “I liked construction law. It (involves) a lot of things: contracts and negotiations and sometimes more than negotiation, litigation.”
In one case, Bob DeGeorge Associates v. Hawthorn Bank, Brumitt represented a contractor trade group in a case against the bank, which failed to record a deed of trust on the property but later claimed the deed had priority over the contractor’s mechanics lien on the property. The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in favor of the contractors, setting a precedent.
“That was a big, good case for contractors,” said Brumitt. “It was not only helpful for contractors but also general contractors too, who might file a lien on a piece of property, and those priority questions always come up.”
In addition to his legal work, Brumitt has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City for more than 30 years, including as a Big Brother to a boy who remains a friend and now has a successful career and family
“I had two loving parents and loving grandparents and a great family structure,” said Brumitt. “One thing that taught me was how fortunate I am and to be able to provide a missing link for a kid who is missing a father was very meaningful for me.”