Friday, January 6, 2012

Citizen's Rights to Take a Beating if Lawmakers Prevail

The legislative session is starting off with a bang in 2012. Already bills are being filed to take away the right to trial by jury for Missourians. Below is a short list of what has already been proposed.
SB 572 (Dempsey): Workers’ Compensation and Second Injury Fund
This bill modifies the laws relating to the funding of the Second Injury Fund, workers’ compensation claims for occupational dis-eases, and co-employee liability.
SB 592 (Lager): Employment Discrimination
This year’s bill changes the standard of proof from "a contributing" to "a motivating" factor, allows judges to make determinations of fact when granting or denying summary judgment, and places lim-its on damages recoverable in employment discrimination claims. It also eliminates protection for whistleblowers who, in good faith, report wrongdoing that falls short of actual violations of the law and for whistleblowers who report violations to their immediate superior rather than the company’s HR department or officer.
HB 1180 (Parkinson): Elimination of Joint and Several Liability
This bill is pretty straightforward. The bill completely eliminates joint and several liability and allows for the "empty chair" defense.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Missouri Medical Malpractice Caps Protect Hospitals, Doctors and Harm Patients

Missouri Medical Malpractice awards for non-economic damages for all cases filed after August 2005 were capped at $350,000.00 total for all defendants. This law protects the financial interests of doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies at the expense of injured patients. Prior to this law passing Missouri already had medical malpractice caps at approximately $545,000.00 per defendant and the cap was adjusted for inflation. The new cap has no inflation adjustment.

The effect of this law adversely affects the elderly, i.e., retired, stay at home moms, children and any people who are not working because they generally do not have economic damages other than medical bills. It effectively deprives this group of people of a remedy when the malpractice results in death because there are no future medical expenses and the total recovery is limited to $350,000.00. While this might sound like a lot of money, when a lawyer looks at this as a business decision on whether to take the case the numbers do not add up.

Most lawyers in Missouri take medical malpractice cases on a 40% contingency fee basis and advance the expenses. The expenses to take a case to trial are usually are $40,000.00 on the low side and up to $100,000.00 depending on the number of experts and complexity of the case. As a medical malpractice lawyer you know that the defendant will rarely if ever settle a case for the maximum amount for which their client could be liable. That means if the case settles for example $300,000.00, you as a lawyer will have to spend $40,000.00 to $100,000.00 for a chance to earn a $120,000.00 fee. Since this law has passed lawyers have regularly turned down serious medical malpractice cases (many involving death) where there is limited economic damages. This means that a stay at home mom, an elderly parent or a child who is killed as the result of medical neglect is effectively denied a remedy. This law's constitutionality has not yet been challenged.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Breshears Wins Jury Trial - Client Acquitted

This week a Dallas County jury returned a not guilty verdict in favor of our client Roger D. Wilson. The trial lasted a day and a half and the jury only deliberated for two hours before acquitting Wilson. Wilson was originally charged with assault in the first degree, burglary in the first degree and armed criminal action. Wilson faced 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

Dallas County Prosecutor Andy Mead argued Wilson broke into the victim's house and attacked him with a knife and hatchet. Defense attorney Reggie Breshears, pointed out to the jury that Wilson acted in self defense. Earlier on the night in question the alleged victim attacked Wilson at a bar. Later, the alleged victim was found on property owned by Wilson's wife. He was told not to return there. Wilson defended himself from the alleged victim using a knife and a small hatchet. Breshears emphasized that the alleged victim was not a credible witness, because he had six prior convictions and was intoxicated at the time of the alleged crime.

Breshears has over nine years of criminal law experience, eight of which were at the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Douglas Haun & Heidemann has an impressive win rate for felony jury trials during the last ten years. If you are indicted or charged with a serious crime, trust your defense to lawyers with a proven track record of success.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Congratulations to Kerry Douglas and Craig Heidemann who were selected as Super Lawyers and Rising Stars respectively. Kerry and Craig are honored to be reconized as top in their field for their dedication to the legal profession and public service. According to the editor, “[The Super Lawyers selection process] is a comprehensive, good-faith and detailed attempt to produce a list of lawyers that have attained high peer recognition, meet ethical standards, and have demonstrated some degree of achievement in their field. Suffice to say, the selection procedures employed by [Super Lawyers] are very sophisticated, comprehensive and complex." For more information go to

Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella Litigation

Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella are popular contraceptives which are marketed under different names, but are chemically the same. Unfortunately, these pills have been linked to serious side-effects including heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and gallbladder disease. We believe that Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella are particularly dangerous because they have been marketed to young women with misleading advertising and false claims. In fact, the FDA has sent several letters to the manufacturer, Bayer, because of "misleading" advertising claims which it said were "particularly troubling." If you've taken any of these drugs, you should know your rights. Call us today for a no cost consultation at 1-800-743-5728.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Appeal Victory

Donald M. Brown successfully obtained a favorable decision in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District located in Springfield, Missouri. Don successfully argued to the Court of Appeals that the Circuit Court should not have placed an unwanted easement over his client’s real estate based on the facts presented at trial. The Court’s opinion, handed down on March 13, 2009, reversed the Circuit Court’s judgment and remanded the case for a new trial.

More Verdicts and Settlements

For the third time in three weeks, Missouri Laywers Weekly has featured a settlement by Craig Heidemann. In this issue, Craig's settlement of a difficult dental negligence case is featured.