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Appeals

A trial verdict is not always the last step in a case: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 15 percent of civil trial decisions are appealed. Of those, about 20 percent are modified – and verdicts in favor of plaintiffs are twice as likely to be reversed. With this uncertainty, it’s imperative to have legal counsel who know how to navigate the appellate process.

Appellate practice is different than trial practice.  Different rules control, and appellate judges focus on different issues.  Clients – and other law firms – hire us to protect wins or pursue change. Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader is uniquely positioned to work before the higher courts; our appellate team includes Chip Robertson, former chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court. Having heard appeals on the state’s highest court for 13 years, Chip has firsthand knowledge of what issues have merit and what arguments are most likely to persuade appellate judges. Kip Robertson, Tony DeWitt and Mary Winter also have extensive experience handling appeals. 

Our appellate team works in both state and federal courts - coast to coast. Recent appellate victories include:

  • Maddison Schmidt v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc.: Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader represented Ms. Schmidt and her family, who had received a $38 million jury verdict in a personal injury lawsuit. The company appealed. Our firm successfully protected their verdict before the Missouri Court of Appeals, which affirmed the result at the lower court.
  • State of Missouri v. Christopher Eric Hunt: We represented Mr. Hunt, a police officer who was found guilty of assault, burglary and property damage in connection with the pursuit of a methamphetamine dealer. The litigation went all the way to the Missouri Supreme Court, which dismissed two of the charges. Ultimately, Mr. Hunt served no jail time and was reinstated on the police force.
  • Elsea v. U.S. Engineering Co.: A circuit court judge denied class certification in a lawsuit alleging asbestos exposure during the remodeling of the Jackson County (Mo.) Courthouse. Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader argued the appeal at the Missouri Court of Appeals. The appellate court remanded the case, the class was certified, and ultimately the matter resolved for an $80 million settlement.
  • Leonberger v. MUSIC and United Educators: We represented a school bus driver whose insurance companies had wrongfully denied him coverage for an accident.  We established before the Court of Appeals that one of the insurers was actually an excess carrier even though it claimed it was just a reinsurer that owed no duties to our client.  We also secured the affirmance of the trial court’s decision that the insurance policy covered the bus driver for the accident.  The case resulted in a settlement of $13 million. 

 

We help clients find more than a result. We help them find a resolution.