Ryan Turnage

Litigation Counsel, Schnuck Markets Inc.

Before Ryan Turnage joined Schnuck Markets Inc. as litigation counsel in 2016, he was already well-acquainted with the grocery chain.

Today, he says that familiarity is one of his favorite aspects of working for the company.

_Ryan Turnage“Being a St. Louis native, I think it’s really neat to work for a company like Schnucks because I’ve been in St. Louis all my life,” he said.

While working for the company wasn’t a long-term goal or plan, he said it’s “very meaningful” to be able to be involved with its business and help it to flourish.

Turnage said he’d always been interested in a career in law.

“It was the only realistic adult job I ever thought of, literally from grade school,” he said.

As an undergraduate, he studied political science and English at Saint Louis University. He returned to his alma mater for law school, earning his law degree in 2009.

Before he graduated, he completed an externship with U.S. Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

He went on to join the office of former Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel as assistant general counsel. After about a year, he became an associate at Rynearson, Suess, Schnurbusch & Champion, where he worked for more than five years in the area of civil defense litigation. He also handled family law cases on a volunteer basis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.

Turnage joined Schnuck Markets in 2016 after previously working on the company’s litigation as outside counsel while in private practice. He now oversees some of the litigation being handled by outside counsel, but he mainly defends cases himself. He said he’s the rare in-house attorney who still is active in the courtroom, which he enjoys.

Turnage said the majority of his work involves general liability matters, including slip-and-fall cases and tort claims. He also handles some employment matters.

He said the company has a wide range of litigation needs, including matters that one might not expect for a grocer. Those include disputes over Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, construction, product liability and, rarely, asbestos.

Turnage said he enjoys the variety of his work.

“The business of the company is going to drive the legal work,” he said. “Because I do litigation, it’s heavily driven by deadlines, and cases go to trial. I have those tasks that recur, but a lot of times they get interrupted by the day-to-day questions or projects connected to the business end of things.”

A nominator underscored his importance to the organization.

“As Schnucks is a household name in St. Louis and many parts of Missouri, Mr. Turnage’s skill in protecting the interests and assets of the company in litigation is vital to the company,” his nominator said.

In his spare time, Turnage enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children and playing music, primarily through his church.

Turnage also is involved in legal organizations at the local and state level.

He serves as vice president of the board of Young Friends of LSEM. He’s also a member of the board of the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers, the Missouri Lawyer Trust Account Foundation and St.  Louis Attorneys Against Hunger, a program of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis that combats hunger in the region.

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