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  • Missouri Supreme Court Limits Personal Jurisdiction Over Businesses In Missouri

    The Supreme Court of Missouri recently restricted the extent to which Missouri courts have general personal jurisdiction over corporations. Plaintiffs can no generally longer use Missouri courts to sue out-of-state companies that operate significant portions of their business in Missouri for suits unrelated to Missouri (albeit relatively small portion in relation to their overall operations) even if they have registered agent in Missouri. A copy of the Missouri Supreme Court’s decision in State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Railway Company v. Dolan can be found here.

    The plaintiff sued Norfolk Southern Railway Company, a Virginia corporation, in St. Louis County, Missouri. The plaintiff was an Indiana resident, seeking recovery for a personal injury that occurred in Indiana. The action was unrelated to Missouri, but the plaintiff argued, among other things, that: (1) Norfolk Southern’s substantial and continuous contacts in Missouri were sufficient to establish general personal jurisdiction; and (2) Norfolk Southern consented to personal jurisdiction by complying with Missouri’s foreign corporation registration statutes. The Court soundly rejected the plaintiff’s arguments in the 6-0 decision.

    In Daimler AG v. Bauman, 134 S. Ct. 746 (2014), the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that under the Due Process Clause a state may only exercise general jurisdiction (personal jurisdiction over a defendant for actions unrelated to the defendant’s activities in the state) over a corporate defendant in three situations: (1) when the corporation is incorporated in that state; (2) when the corporation’s principal place of business is in that state; or (3) in exceptional circumstances, when the corporation’s activities are “so substantial and of such a nature as to render the corporation at home in that State.” To determine whether a corporation is “essentially at home,” the court must appraise the corporation’s nationwide and worldwide activities and determine how the forum activities compare. Continuous and systematic business activities in a state are not enough for general personal jurisdiction when those activities only comprise a small portion of the defendant’s business overall.

    Following Daimler, the Missouri Supreme Court found that Norfolk Southern’s $232 million in Missouri revenue, 590 Missouri employees, and 400 miles of Missouri railroad tracks were not enough to establish general jurisdiction in Missouri. The Court noted that despite these substantial operations, Norfolk Southern’s Missouri business only accounts for approximately 2 percent of its employees, 2 percent of its revenue, and 2 percent of the tracks it owns or operates. Norfolk Southern had more substantial operations in several other states, so it could not reasonably be considered “at home” in Missouri.

    The court rejected plaintiff’s argument that Norfolk Southern consented to personal jurisdiction over any case filed against it in Missouri when it complied with Missouri’s foreign corporation registration statutes to do business in the state of Missouri and appointed a registered agent for service of process. The court stated that a “broad inference of consent based on registration would allow national corporations to be sued in every state, rendering Daimler pointless.” The court concluded that merely registering in a state does not open a corporation to lawsuits unrelated to that state.

  • Toennies to Speak at AdviCoach Speakers Series “Running a Business is Hard”

    Attorney Andrew G. Toennies will be speaking at an upcoming seminar titled “Running a Business Is Hard” presented by AdviCoach Business Advisors. Andy will use his over 23 years of legal knowledge to explain “How Not to Get Sued and Other Useful Legal Knowledge.” The three-part series will include other local business professionals who will be presenting on finance, marketing, and employment issues. The speakers will discuss the topics listed below and many more.

    • Ten Marketing Tips to Drive Business to Your Door!
    • Protecting Your ASSets with the Right Coverage!
    • Set Fire to Your Brand!
    • Employees – Why Don’t These Knuckleheads Do What They are Supposed To Do?
    • Get Your Clients Addicted to You!
    • LLCs and C-corps and S-Corps– OH MY!
    • Why Review my Financial Statements monthly? I just look at my checkbook to see if I have money.

    The sessions will be held on March 31st, April 28th, and May 11th. All sessions will be from 7:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and held at the St. Clair Country Club, Belleville, IL. A light breakfast and refreshments will be served.  For the complete event flyer click here.

    Get registered today on Eventbrite!!  Seats will go fast!!

    To register for March 31st, follow this link:
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/running-a-business-is-hard-session-1-tickets-32059828811
    To register for April 28th, follow this link:
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/running-a-business-is-hard–session-2-tickets-32238032824

    To register for May 11th, follow this link:
    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/running-a-business-is-hard-session-3-tickets-32160614263

    *** If you register for a 3-part series pack before March 10th at midnight, you will receive special pricing***

    For more information, contact Teresa A. Pedigo at 217-433-6809 or tpedigo@advicoach.com

     

  • Brostron Obtains Defense Verdict for Physician

    Kenneth C. Brostron successfully defended a surgeon in a jury trial ending January, 26 2017. The 11-1 verdict came after the jury deliberated for one and half hours. The Plaintiff claimed that the surgeon was negligent in cutting her common and hepatic ducts during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The physician recognized the injury immediately and obtained assistance to repair. The doctor maintained such an injury is a reported complication of the surgery and was the result of the peculiar anatomy of the plaintiff.

  • Toennies Wins Appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

    Andrew G. Toennies recently won an appeal in the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals when they overturned a verdict at the District Court level on a Spoliation case against Brand Energy Services LLC and Dynegy Inc.  The appellate court reversed the District Court’s decision dismissing the case and sent the case back to the US District Court in Benton, IL for a trial on the merits.  Mr. Toennies also was able to secure a judgment for the same client against the employer before the Illinois Industrial Commission on two separate occasions.  He is now seeking sanctions and attorney’s fees against the employer Brand in state court in Randolph County, IL.

  • Lashly & Baer Ranked Best In Customer Service

    Congratulation to Lashly & Baer, P.C. for being ranked “Best In Customer Service” by the readers of St. Louis Small Business Monthly. The award will be featured in their February, 2017 issue. Click here to view the complete list of businesses recognized.

     

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Assists in an Important ROi Business Partnership Agreement

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney Stuart J. Vogelsmeier represented Resource Optimization & Innovation in its negotiation with HPS, which resulted in HPS becoming the newest member of ROi’s supply chain partnership.

    HPS, a group purchasing organization (GPO) with more than 3,600 members, including 144 acute care and 1,466 non-acute care facilities, in 20 states, has signed an agreement with Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), a provider-owned supply chain organization, for access to ROi’s comprehensive cost management and supply chain services. Through the 10-year agreement, effective January 13, 2017, ROi will serve as the exclusive GPO for HPS’ national contract portfolio.

  • Brostron and Wolf Recognized For Securing One of the Largest Reported Defense Wins in Missouri for 2016

    Congratulations to Kenneth C. Brostron and Wendy J. Wolf for being recognized as one of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2017 Top Verdicts & Settlements Award Honorees. Missouri Lawyers Weekly announced recently that Brostron and Wolf of Lashly and Baer will be recognized for securing one of the largest reported defense wins of 2016 in the state of Missouri.

    Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2017 Missouri Lawyers Awards on January 27 will honor attorneys for their achievments in 2016. The winners received the largest verdicts, judgments and settlements reported by the news staff to their Verdicts & Settlements database.

    The official ranking will be announced during the awards event at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and published in the Top V&S edition of Missouri Lawyers Weekly on February 6th. To read the full announcement click here.

  • Capital Strategies for Privately-Held Businesses

    By: Peter C. Sullivan
    Appropriate working capital is the oxygen of emerging and mid-sized companies; whether it comes from a traditional lending institution, from a wealthy friend or relative, from a network of angels, or from investors who find value in its products or services. Entrepreneurs and management should consider this post as an overview of critical components for raising capital.

    Business Plan

    Benjamin Franklin said, “[i]f you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Raising capital requires a great deal of planning. Companies need to detail all aspects of its operations, from its mission purpose, vision for future growth, product or service offerings to target audiences, production and distribution plans, and governance related structure and procedures. Today, investors are more sophisticated, and the number companies seeking capital is greater than ever; investors want detailed business plans to understand both a company’s visions and its intended use of investment proceeds.

    Capital Evaluation

    Once the business plan is complete, Companies can begin to determine the capital raise requirements. Capital needs serve an array of purposes; initial capital is used to launch a new business venture and to position a company for its next level of growth. Determining capital needs requires business acumen and a realistic snap shot of a company’s needs. Assume projects will cost more and take longer to accomplish, therefore, build in contingencies to account for anticipated hiccups. Investors understand that early stage businesses run on shoestring budgets; they also understand just as many fail –if not more – than succeed. So, if your projections realistically show a need for a $1M round of funding, don’t merely seek $500K, seek the full amount.

    Business Valuation

    Initially, you may not need to hire a professional valuation company; but, you will need to determine the potential value of your company in the market.  Valuation prior to capital infusion and post-infusion is beneficial to management and investors alike. Determining valuation is helpful in determining how much equity you will need to give up to realize the capital infusion required. For example, if you need to raise $750K, and your business is worth $5.5M, you can expect to give up around 13.6% of the company. If the company’s valuation is lower, and the raise remains the same, a larger equity stake in the company should be expected. Often times an owner’s valuation and an investor’s (or valuation firm’s) valuation are drastically different; it is because of this disparity that professional valuation firms are critical to appropriately value a business and offer equity.

    Debt versus Equity?

    Get comfortable with letting go of a certain amount of equity in your company. Big picture thinkers understand that the inclusion of equity financing and healthy debt financing make your company an attractive value proposition. Investors appreciate a “business mindset” from founders/owners; this healthy approach will pay dividends during growth.

    Debt is any form of a loan with intent to repay the lending party. In a traditional debt transaction, meaning debentures or promissory notes, the investor receives return of principal loaned plus an interest rate paid over the life cycle of the debt contract. In a convertible debt transaction, the investor possess an option to either receive repayment of principal and interest, or, convert the debt obligation into an equity security of the company.

    Equity transactions should always be documented. If your company issues shares, have appropriate agreements (subscription, shareholders, warrants, options, etc.) in place and uniformly use them. Treat your company as if it was as big as Google or Twitter, and keep good records and make sure each of your equity documents comport with other governing documents (Bylaws, Operating Agreement, Limited Partnership Agreement, etc.).

    Funding

    Capital funding comes from a wide range of sources, from founders, friends, and family members who provide the initial seed capital to launch a new business venture. Traditional lending institution extension of credit or SBA financing, private placement offerings or brokerage firms, or even contacts with a company and its officers and directors can be other sources of seed capital. Your target audience and pool of investors with directly correlate with the capital raise, industry participation, and the problem the product or service solves.

    Securities Law Compliance

    Generally speaking, if you take money from someone else to use in your business, you have engaged in a securities transaction which is governed by both federal and state securities law. Good news is that emerging and mid-market companies can utilize certain exemptions to comply with both sets of regulations. However, all securities transactions, even exempt transactions, are subject to anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities law. This means that the company and its management will be responsible for false or misleading statements that the company or others on its behalf make regarding the issuer, the securities offered, or the offering itself, whether conveyed orally or in writing. Companies should always prepare for the time when the initial seed capital is exhausted. A company’s lawyer can assist and advise founders/owners with the private placement process including traditional private placement offerings, Rule 144 offerings and Regulation S offerings. Additionally, special attention should be given to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act of 2012, which legalized the offer and sale of small business securities by issuers via crowdfunding, and, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which created new exemptions from registration for resales of restricted securities and amends certain regulations to facilitate capital-raising by emerging growth companies.

  • Illinois Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets the Scope of the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act For Residential Property Owners

    By: Patrick E. Foppe, Lashly & Baer, P.C.
    The Illinois Supreme Court recently resolved a conflict as to the scope of the immunity provided under the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act (745 ILCS 75/0.01 et seq.). There had been a split among the appellate districts as to whether the immunity provided by the Act was limited to the consequences of snow removal efforts, or whether the immunity extended more broadly to negligence arising from a defective condition on the property. In the case, Murphy-Hylton v. Lieberman Management Services, Inc., the Supreme Court adopted the narrower view of the immunity, following closely to the words of the statute. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the Act provides immunity to residential property owners (including any “lessor, occupant or other person in charge of any residential property, or any agent of or other person engaged by any such party”) from claims of liability caused by icy sidewalks which result from negligent snow and ice removal efforts, “but it does not extend to immunize them from claims of liability from injuries allegedly caused by icy sidewalks which result from an otherwise negligent failure to maintain the premises.” The Act does not apply to owners of non-residential commercial premises.

  • Scrutiny Increases on Smaller HIPAA Breaches

    Monday, November 8, 2016 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier published an article, “Scrutiny Increases on Smaller HIPAA Breaches” in the Fall 2016 issue of Gateway Gatherings, which is the newsletter of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Visit the HFMA – St. Louis website to view Gateway Gatherings.

  • Lashly & Baer Team Members Support KidSmart

    The attorneys and team members of Lashly & Baer, P.C. recently visited Vogt Elementary in Ferguson, Missouri to deliver new school supplies with the KidSmart organization. The volunteers helped to deliver bags full of new school supplies, treats and spent time with the children talking to them about their path to becoming attorneys and helping them see their own potential. They also enjoyed helping them with a fun art project too.

    In addition to our sponsorship of the recent Wish Bag event, Lashly & Baer, P.C. also supported KidSmart with a “Push for Pencils” supply drive this fall.

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. believes that it is important to support organizations that help children in the communities where we live and serve. KidSmart’s mission is to ensure that children and their classrooms in the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Area have the basic tools for learning by transferring, at no cost, the community’s surplus supplies and merchandise into the hands of teachers for school children in need. To learn more about KidSmart visit http://www.kidsmartstl.org/.

    Pictured below are attorneys Peter C. Sullivan and Brian J. Malone along with team members Linda Clouse and Niki McCormick.

    IMG_8562 IMG_8568 IMG_8572 IMG_8578

     

     

     

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Assist In Important Business Partnership Agreement

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys Stuart J. Vogelsmeier and Michael D. Regan represented Resource Optimization & Innovation in its negotiation with TPC, which resulted in TPC becoming a member of ROi’s group purchasing organization.

    TPC, a network of independent healthcare providers and regional purchasing coalition across Arkansas, Missouri and Texas, has signed an agreement with Resource Optimization & Innovation (ROi), a provider-owned supply chain organization, for access to ROi’s comprehensive cost management and supply chain services including strategic contracting and sourcing, utilization management, service line management, clinical and operational consulting, clinical and supply chain analytics, private label products and custom surgical packs. Through the multi-year agreement that begins December 1, 2016, ROi will serve as the preferred group purchasing organization (GPO) for TPC’s provider network.

    To read more details of their partnership, click here.

  • Kevin L. Fritz Named to the USLAW Network Executive Committee

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. would like to congratulate Kevin L. Fritz on his recent appointment on the 2016-2017 USLAW Network Board of Directors. Fritz has been a  long time member of the Board of Directors but this year he has been asked to join the Executive Committee as a Special Projects Director.  The appointments were recently announced during the USLAW Network’s annual member meeting in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 22.

  • Small Business Monthly Names Lashly & Baer, P.C. a Best In Value 2016

    Small Business Monthly has recently selected Lashly & Baer, P.C. as on of their Best in Value 2016 businesses. Lashly & Baer, P.C. is one of only 26 businesses selected for this honor. The Best in Value 2016 list is featured in the October issue of Small Business Monthly.

     

  • Stuart J. Vogelsmeier Selected as a Best Lawyers in America 2017

    St. Louis, MO, United States — Lashly & Baer, P.C. is pleased to announce that Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, has been named for the first time to the 2017 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. Stuart has been recognized for his work in Health Care Law along with five other Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys.

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. would like to congratulate the following attorneys named to The Best Lawyers in America list:
    John Fox Arnold, Corporate Law
    Stephen L. Beimdiek, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
    Kenneth C. Brostron, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
    James C. Hetlage, Employment Law – Management
    Stuart Vogelsmeier, Health Care Law
    Richard D. Watters, Health Care Law

    Best Lawyers has published their list for over three decades, earning the respect of the profession, the media, and the public as the most reliable, unbiased source of legal referrals. Lawyers on The Best Lawyers in America list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

  • John Fox Arnold Named 2017 Best Lawyers® “Lawyer of the Year” in St. Louis

    St. Louis, MO, United States — Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney John Fox Arnold was recently selected as 2017 “Lawyer of the Year” for Corporate Law in the St. Louis area.

    Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. These lawyers are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the peer-review assessments.

    Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity.

    Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence.
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    About John Fox Arnold
    John Fox Arnold has served as general counsel and special counsel to public agencies, represented firms engaged in the underwriting and public offering of securities, and has represented developers and owners during acquisition and construction of governmental, commercial and urban redevelopment projects. In addition, he has structured sales tax rebate, tax abatement and tax increment financing transactions, and served as counsel in tax-incentivized transactions. Mr. Arnold has served as bond counsel, special counsel and underwriter’s counsel for general obligation and revenue bond obligations. Billions of dollars have been invested in projects in which he has been engaged as counsel.

    John earned his LL.B. from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016 in the field of Corporate Law each year since 2005 and is peer rated AV® PreeminentTM with Martindale Hubbell.

  • Kenneth C. Brostron and Wendy J. Wolf Successfully Defended Nephrologist

    Kenneth C. Brostron and Wendy J. Wolf successfully defended a Nephrologist in a seven day jury trial in St. Louis County. The plaintiffs sought over eleven million $11,000,000 for the death of their eighteen year old daughter alleging that the care resulted in hypoxemia, brain injury and ultimately death.

  • Eighth Circuit Holds that Individual Acting as a Pilot to an Oversize Load Can Be Held Negligent for Causing Accident

    The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Brown v. Davis, 813 F.3d 1130 (8th Cir. 2016) recently held that an individual acting as the pilot of an oversize load had duty to stop traffic or take other cautionary measures before allowing oversize truck and trailer to cross narrow bridge.

    The wrongful death case was bought by the family of a man who was killed when a log skidder fell from a truck onto a car while crossing a bridge. The family argued that that the individual acting as the pilot of the oversize load, who was also the owner of the motor carrier, was negligent for failing to close the bridge to oncoming traffic. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the record was sufficient to prove that the truck passenger had a duty to take precautions against the risks involved in transporting a wide load over a narrow bridge since the practice was to call law enforcement to block the bridge or to block it themselves. Further, the court found evidence of the defendant’s failure to stop traffic and his misleading signal was sufficient to find that the defendant failed to use ordinary care, and sufficient evidence support the jury’s verdict finding that the defendant acted negligently and caused the man’s death. The case does not discuss whether any oversize load permits were at issue. Attached is a copy of Brown v. Davis.

  • Vogelsmeier Gives Presentations On Important Compliance Topics

    Attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier spoke at the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network’s Compliance Workshop in Springfield, Illinois on “Anti-Kickback and Stark Law Update” and “Perks and Freebies: Fun or Fraud” Click on the titles to view the presentations.

  • O’Brien Speaks on Retirement Plan Compliance

    Attorney, Rhonda A. O’Brien spoke to a group at the Retirement Plan Advisors’, 2016 Defined Contribution Retirement Plan Committee Seminar. Her session “Keeping Plan Documents Up to Date – Restatements and IRS Required Amendments” addressed the importance of plan compliance and making sure that your plan documents met current IRS requirements.  Please contact Rhonda or your Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney for more information.

     

  • OIG Issues New Guidance on Permissive Exclusion

    Attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier published an article, “OIG Issues New Guidance on Permissive Exclusion” in the Spring 2016 issue of Gateway Gatherings, which is the newsletter of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Click here to download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA – St. Louis website to view Gateway Gatherings.

  • Handling Marijuana Issues in Your Trucking Case

    Recently, Patrick E. Foppe wrote an article for DRI’s magazine For The Defense titled ““Handling Marijuana Issues in Your Trucking Case.” Marijuana is the second most prevalent psychoactive substance involved in driving under the influence cases. As legalization efforts continue, attorneys should prepare to handle more marijuana issues in trucking cases. To read more about this from their April 2016 issue, CLICK HERE.

  • Regan Represents Lender In Connection With Missouri’s PACE Program

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Michael D. Regan recently represented a lender in connection with a loan to provide funding pursuant to the Missouri Property Assessed Clean Energy (“PACE”) program.  PACE provides a framework for loans for clean-energy improvements that are repaid through a special property tax assessment.

  • Did You Know? Missouri Approved for Data Mining to Identify Medicaid Fraud

    Missouri is one of five states which the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of CMS has approved for funding the costs of data mining to identify Medicaid fraud through the screening and analysis of provider data.

    If you or your facility has been audited, investigated, or an action filed against you or your facility to recoup Medicaid funds, we can help. For more information, please contact Richard D. Watters at rdwatters@lashlybaer.com, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Richard D. Watters and the Senior Living Forum present Dementia Care: Symptoms, Treatment, Best Practices

    Lashly & Baer partner, Richard D. Watters, along with the Senior Living Forum Affiliated Partners, will be discussing information on managing dementia, with and without medication, and on how to change culture to provide meaning and purpose to residents.

    Learn how to define dementia, distinguish it from delirium, and manage its symptoms successfully with non-pharmacologic programs or medication alternatives to antipsychotics. Learn best-practices for medication utilization in the management of dementia. Also, learn how to change the culture of your organization to support resident choice and autonomy and to provide meaning and purpose for elder residents in a directed environment. Understand the role of leadership in supporting a resident directed culture. You will not want to miss this very timely seminar from experts in the industry as well as the opportunity to network with your peers!

    The discussion will be held on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 from 2:45pm to 6:00pm at the Frontenac Hilton – The Frontenac Room. If you would like to attend this informative discussion, please email Tiffany Maggard at tiffanym@heffins.com. Click here to view the event invitation.

     

  • St. Louis Business Journal – Coolest Office Spaces

    Recently our office was recognized by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the city’s “Coolest Office Spaces.” The review of our space is below or a full PDF version is also available. Our office was also photographed for the article. Click on the slideshow to get an inside look at our building.

    Coolest office spaces: Drawing on tradition, history at Lashly & Baer

    For the Lashly & Baer office downtown, visitors have to enter through Corinthian columns at the front of the building adorned with a limestone façade.

    The law firm’s office manager Kara Brostron said the ancient Greece look is just the beginning of the unique features incorporated into the 27,000-square-foot building. The firm moved into the building in 1979, the year after it was remodeled. Brostron said several features are original to the structure that was formerly a bank.

    Among them are the “Trova sculpture and bank vault door below, she said. “The firm’s law library is currently in the vault and we have plans to remodel it in 2016 with a conference room and workrooms. No two offices are alike. There is a great deal of original walnut paneling some of which was reused in various offices.”

    In addition to the Corinthian columns, several other artistic features are included in Lashly & Baer’s setup. Brostron said an eagle is prominent on the top of the building along with a trompe l’oeil on the east wall that was designed and painted by Patrick Schuchard in the late 1980s.

    “The first thing that hits the visitors when they enter is exaggerated crown moldings with a Trova sculpture and large vault door through the well below,” she said. “The name of the Trova sculpture is ‘The Tree.’”

     

  • Vogelsmeier to Present at Upcoming Physicians Leadership Institute

    Stuart J. Vogelsmeier has committed to speak at the upcoming Physician Leadership Institute. The Physician Leadership Institute is a five-session, high intensity program that focuses on the business side of medical practice, with a specific slant toward developing leadership and management skills. Stuart will be speaking on the topic “Legal Issues that Impact your Practice.” His presentation will be during their February 27th session. For more information about these sessions, presented by the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society, please visit their site or view the event flyer.

  • FMCSA Proposes New Rule for Determining Safety Fitness of Motor Carriers

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced on January 15, 2016, a rulemaking proposal to modify how the agency determines safety ratings of motor carriers. The proposed rule would significantly change FMCSA’s safety fitness rating methodology by integrating on-road safety data from inspections, along with the results of carrier investigations and crash reports, to determine a motor carrier’s overall safety fitness on a monthly basis.

    The proposed rule would replace the current three-tier federal rating system of “satisfactory–conditional–unsatisfactory” for federally regulated commercial motor carriers (in place since 1982) with a single determination of “unfit,” which would require the carrier to either improve its operations or cease operations.

    Once in place, the proposed rule will supposedly allow FMCSA to assess the safety fitness of approximately 75,000 companies a month. By comparison, the agency currently investigates approximately 15,000 motor carriers annually.

    The proposed methodology would determine when a carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce based on:

    The proposed rule purports to incorporate data sufficiency standards and would require that a significant pattern of non-compliance be documented in order for a carrier to fail a BASIC.

    When assessing roadside inspection data results, the proposal uses a minimum of 11 inspections with violations in a single BASIC within a 24-month period before a motor carrier could be eligible to be identified as “unfit.” If a carrier’s individual performance meets or exceeds the failure standards in the rule, it would then fail that BASIC. Evidently, the failure standard will be fixed by the rule. A carrier’s status in relation to that fixed measure would purportedly not be affected by other carriers’ performance.

    Failure of a BASIC based on either crash data or compliance with drug and alcohol requirements would only occur following a comprehensive investigation.

    You are encouraged to review the notice of proposed rulemaking, to share it with your clients, and to submit comments. The public comment period will be open for 60 days. FMCSA will also be providing a reply comment period allowing for an additional 30 days for commenters to respond to the initial comments.

    For more information on FMCSA’s Safety Fitness Determination proposed rule, including a full copy of the notice of proposed rulemaking, visit www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sfd.

  • Attorney Mark Feldhaus wins Affordable Housing Administrative Appeal

    On December 11, 2015, the Director of the National Appeals Division of the United States Department of Agriculture (“NAD”) affirmed an Administrative Judge’s ruling in favor of Lashly & Baer Affordable Housing Owner clients who appealed the denial of a property’s yearly budget and rental increase. Attorney Mark Feldhaus successfully argued before the Director of the National Appeals Division that Rural Development’s Rural Housing Service improperly denied the property’s budget based upon property manager pay and administrative expense ratios. The Director determined that the record reflected that the property manager pay and administrative expense ratio were both reasonable and adequately documented. The decision addresses the types of evidence that may be persuasive in these administrative hearings, as well as the type of record that will be sufficient to uphold an Administrative Judge’s decision. A full discussion of the case can be found in the NAD’s published opinion, In the Matter of [an Affordable Housing Property], Appellant, and Rural Development, Agency, NAD Case No. 2015E000342 (Dir. Rev., December 11, 2015).

  • Defending Motor Carriers Performing Oversize Load and Heavy Haul Operations

    Attorneys Patrick E. Foppe and Kevin L. Fritz co-authored, “Defending Motor Carriers Performing Oversize Load And Heavy Haul Operations,” in the USLAW NETWORK, Inc. Magazine, Winter/Fall 2015. View the link above to read a pdf copy of the article.

  • Defending Against Attempts to Impose Liability

    Patrick E. Foppe recently authored, “Defending Against Attempts to Impose Liability through the Broad Definitions under 49 C.F.R. § 390.5,” TLA’s The Transportation Lawyer, December 2015. Please view the above link to read a PDF copy of the article.

  • Provision of Complimentary Transportation Services: OIG Weighs In and Provides Additional Guidance

    Monday, November 2, 2015 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier published an article, “Provision of Complimentary Transportation Services: OIG Weighs In and Provides Additional Guidance” in the Fall 2015 issue of Gateway Gatherings, which is the newsletter of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Visit the HFMA – St. Louis website to view Gateway Gatherings.

  • Kenneth C. Brostron Earns Top Marks in the 2015 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Listing

    Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected by his peers as one of the Top 50: 2015 St. Louis Super Lawyers and Top 100: 2015 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. Brostron ranked top of the list in both the Top 50 St. Louis and Top 100 categories, having been among those who received the highest point totals in the Missouri nominations, research and blue ribbon review process.

    A total of ten lawyers from Lashly & Baer, P.C. were selected for inclusion into the 2015 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers edition. They are Kenneth C. BrostronKevin L. Fritz, Stefan J. Glynias, Terrance J. Good, James C. Hetlage, Stephen G. Reuter and Richard D. Watters.

    In addition, Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Rebecca M. Christensen, Mark R. Feldhaus, and Patrick E. Foppe as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas for 2015.

     

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Named St. Louis Medical Malpractice Lawyer of the Year

    Monday, August 17, 2015 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. congratulates Kenneth C. Brostron on being named 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” for Medical Malpractice – Defendants in the St. Louis area by Best Lawyers®, one of the oldest and most respected peer-review publications in the legal profession. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the “Lawyer of the Year,” making this accolade particularly significant. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity. In addition to the 2016 “Lawyer of the Year” award, Brostron is also recognized by The Best Lawyers of America® in the area of Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

    Brostron recently celebrated his 40th year of trial work. He defends health care providers and attorneys in professional negligence claims. He counsels businesses and government agencies in all aspects of their operations. He is also well-known for his work in education law, as well as state and United States constitutional matters. He earned his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law. Since 1999, he has been included on each year’s St. Louis – Best Lawyers in America® List.

  • Five Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Included in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016

    We are proud to announce Stephen L. Beimdiek has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016 for his work in Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.  He joins John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law); Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants); James C. Hetlage (Employment Law – Management); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law).

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorney Rhonda O’Brien Takes Part In Affordable Care Act Education

    This Fall, Rhonda A. O’Brien will host a webinar on the Affordable Care Act in conjunction with the Missouri Hospital Association – Center for Education. She will discuss the importance of ongoing employer compliance. The ACA imposes, upon covered employers, health care coverage rules for full-time and part-time employees.  The law is in effect now! The ACA required employer reporting and various legal documentation requirements that require ongoing data collection, analysis and monitoring.  Strategic decisions and compliance will be easier for the employer whose staff is very familiar with the requirements. The webinar will cover the following subjects:

    • Summarize the employer “play or pay” mandate
    • Review of the requirements to offer affordable and minimum value health coverage to full-time employees and their dependents
    • Address employee eligibility hot spots
    • Review of the penalties that may be imposed upon employers under the ACA
    • Review Health Coverage information reporting – including IRS Forms 1094-C and 1095-C.
    • Discussion of the documentation requirements including the SBC, employee notices and wrap documents
    • Address the importance of establishing and maintaining ongoing compliance systems and monitoring these systems.
  • Misclassification Of Workers As Independent Contractors Can Have Unintended Consequences Under The Affordable Care Act

    In an attempt to simplify payroll or attempt to control cost, employers are sometimes motivated to classify workers as independent contractors.  Employers are often unaware of the criteria for proper classification.  Inappropriate classification has always posed a great financial risk, which has grown event greater with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (sometimes known as Obama Care).

    Workers misclassified as independent contractors lose access to family and medical leave, overtime, minimum wage protection and unemployment insurance. Employee misclassification also affects withholding, payment of Social Security and Medicare tax, unemployment tax and workers compensation funds and proper classification is therefore of great interest to regulators.  Employers are subject to investigation by state agencies, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor.  There may be monetary sanctions in the form of interest and penalties as well as an obligation for the employer to pay taxes or fund benefits that they sought to avoid.

    Under the Affordable Care Act, an employer with 50 or more full time equivalent employees must offer health coverage or be subject to penalties (as of the applicable effective date).  An employer who is close to the threshold and who intentionally misclassifies workers to stay under the threshold may find itself to have violated Act’s employer mandate and subject to sanction.  In addition, misclassification likely would cause the employer to fail to make an offer of coverage to such workers.  If, due to misclassification as an independent contractor, the full-time worker is not offered employer coverage and obtains coverage on an exchange and receives a subsidy, the employer can be assessed an excise tax penalty for that worker.  If an employer subject to the Act does not offer minimum essential coverage to at least 95% of its full-time employees (70% in plan year 2015) and one full-time employee obtains coverage on an exchange, the Act’s excise tax penalties may be out of proportion with the number of misclassified workers since the penalties are based on the entire full-time workforce.

    The determination of worker classification is very complex and fact driven.  The Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Labor and state agencies all have criteria they use to determine employment status.  For example, the IRS in employment tax situations uses a 20 factor test to make the determination.  It is still unclear what criteria will be used for Affordable Care Act purposes although it will be based upon common law standards. Employers are urged to review their roster of independent contractors and consult with counsel if there is doubt regarding the status of any individual.

    Note:  The Affordable Care Act is extremely complex and its requirements have been simplified in this summary. Do not rely upon this summary as legal advice

    If you would like more information, please contact Rhonda O’Brien at raobrien@lashlybaer.com or your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Attorneys Matt Eddy and Mark Feldhaus Prevail in Insurance Coverage Appeal

    On May 26, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a $1,000,000 judgment obtained for Lashly & Baer clients involved in an insurance coverage dispute with a commercial general liability insurer. Attorneys Matt Eddy and Mark Feldhaus successfully argued before the federal appellate court that automobile and assault and battery exclusions contained in a CGL insurance policy did not apply to preclude coverage for fatal injuries suffered by our clients’ family member who was struck by an automobile on the premises of an insured tavern owner. A tort suit was filed in state court against multiple parties and included a claim that the tavern owner’s dangerous parking lot design contributed to cause the accident. In addition to the $1 million policy limits, the judgment in the insurance coverage action also included over $400,000 of post-judgment interest accruing from the underlying state court judgment covered by the CGL policy. The decision addresses legal issues of first impression in Missouri and creates new law on the applicability of common coverage exclusions written by insurers into CGL policies. A full discussion of the case can be found in the Eighth Circuit’s published opinion in Minden et al. v. Atain Specialty Insurance Company, ___ F.3d ___ (8th Cir. 2015). 141112P.pdf 

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Named to Small Business Monthly’s 2015 Best Law Firms List

    Small Business Monthly’s Best in Business section features Lashly & Baer, P.C. among companies nominated by SBM readers as being one of the Best Law Firms in St. Louis. The list has been published in the June 2015 issue. Click here for a complete listing of Best Law Firms.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Win Appeal for Assisted Living Facility

    Attorneys Mark Feldhaus and Matt Eddy recently successfully appealed a trial court’s decision denying enforcement of an arbitration clause in an assisted living facility’s admission agreement signed by a resident’s health care attorney-in-fact.  The decision rendered by Appellate Court of Illinois Second District has important changes in how a health care provider may want to amend their admission contracts in order to enforce an arbitration clause.  Fiala v. Bickford Senior Living Grp., LLC, 2015 IL App (2d) 141160 (Ill. App. April 30, 2015).

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorney Rhonda O’Brien Takes Part In Affordable Care Act Education

    This Spring, Rhonda A. O’Brien participated in three webinar programs on the Affordable Care Act in conjunction with Healthcare Services Group, the Wallstreet Group and  Benetrac – a Paychex Company.  She also delivered a presentation on plan sponsor risks and fiduciary duty at the annual Retirement Plan Advisors Conference for governmental defined contribution sponsors.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorney Dan Doyle Co-Authored Book

    A Practitioner’s Guide to Liquidation and Litigation Trusts, co-authored by Dan Doyle, has been published by The American Bankruptcy Institute.  The two-year collaborative effort provides practical advice on the formation, operation, and tax consequences of trusts established specifically to bring lawsuits and liquidate assets whose proceeds are to be distributed to creditors pursuant to the trust instrument, a common technique used in negotiated settlements and Chapter 11 plans of liquidation. The link to the book is http://www.abi.org/bookstore/practitioners-guide-liquidation-and-litigation-trusts.

  • Nancy Vidal Elected President of the Saint Louis Association of Healthcare Risk Managers

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney, Nancy R. Vidal, has been elected to serve as President of the Saint Louis Association of Healthcare Risk Managers for the 2015 calendar year.  S.L.A.H.R.M. is an organization that helps risk managers, patient safety officers, and healthcare advocates work together to deal with challenging situations through presentations, educational opportunities, and networking forums.

  • Practical Compliance Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published the article “Practical Compliance Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards” in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Spring 2015 Newsletter. Download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the article.

    For more information, please contact Stuart J. Vogelsmeier at 314-621-2939, or at sjvogels@lashlybaer.com.

     

  • New House Bill Seeks to Reform FMCSA’s CSA Scores

    Representative Lou Barletta a Republican from Pennsylvania recently introduced a bill titled “Safer Trucks and Buses Act of 2015” (H.R. 1371) that seeks to reform the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. If passed, the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) would be forced to remove from public view the current motor carrier ranking system. In addition, the program and the rankings would be restructured as part of the bill.

    The trucking industry has applied pressure to the legislature to revise the current CSA ranking system. Some organizations have called for it to be removed from public view.

    The overall criticism is that the general public is able to see the scores. Many in the trucking industry believe the CSA scores are flawed and may cause bias against certain carriers. It is further contended that the public nature of the scores may prevent motor carriers and truckers from being hired, insured or be able to hire employees.

    Barletta asserts his bill can fix the CSA scoring problems. Specifically, the bill will change the way the data is collected and used to calculate the CSA scores. If passed, the bill would require that the FMCSA work with the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), which is based in Washington DC) to rework CSA scoring system. Some items included in the directive for the FMCSA to work with the NAPA is:

    • Limit the data used to calculate the CSA score to “safety data determined to be predictive of motor carrier crashes,” with a purported emphasis on accuracy;
    • Address the differences between bus and truck companies;
    • Rework the system to reduce the alleged hard cause to small motor carriers: “as a result of limited safety data availability;”
    • Put in place better controls over the data that is reported by the State as well as the motor carrier agencies themselves; and
    • To adjust scores based upon “geographical differences with respect to enforcement.”

    A full copy of the bill can be found at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1371.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Presents at the Physician Leadership Institute

    On March 7, 2015, Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, presented, “Should Compliance Be So Hard?  A Discussion About Legal Issues Related to Your Practice,” at the Physician Leadership Institute. The Physician Leadership Institute is a joint effort of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society and Anders CPAs + Advisors. This is a five-week, high-intensity program that focuses on the business side of medical practice, with a specific slant toward developing those leadership and management skills that will drive the ever-changing industry.

    Click here to download Mr. Vogelsmeier’s presentation, or click on the link  http://anderscpa.com/physician-leadership-institute-information/ to learn more about the Physician Leadership Institute.

  • Congratulations to Michael D. Regan on being named one of the Best M&A Providers by Small Business Monthly

    March 2, 2015 – Congratulations to Michael D. Regan on being named one of the Best Mergers & Acquisitions Providers by Small Business Monthly. Nominees were chosen by Small Business Monthly Readers for being the best advisers for business owners in St. Louis.

     

  • Defense Verdict for Lashly & Baer Attorney, Kenneth C. Brostron

    February 23, 2015 – Kenneth C. Brostron successfully defended a physician in a recent six day jury trial in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The patient had a ten year history of lymphedema in her legs and then began experiencing increased pain. Her family practice physician referred her to Ken’s client, a Neurologist, who was asked to consult because of the increased leg pain. The Neurologist ordered a CT scan of the pelvis. The CT scan showed no growths but suggested an abnormal finding in the venous system and suggested a Doppler study of the lower extremity. That study was done and showed no DVT. The patient underwent an above the knee amputation a year later after suffering Phlegmasia Cerulea Dolens. The patient sued claiming that the Neurologist failed to refer the patient to a vascular surgeon or hospitalize her at the time the Neurologist saw her because of findings on a CT scan. The jury deliberated for 1 hour and 20 minutes before returning their verdict.

  • Two Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys Selected as Top 100 St. Louisans To Know To Succeed in Business

    February 19, 2015 – Lashly & Baer attorneys, James C. Hetlage and Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, have been selected by Small Business Monthly as one of the Top 100 St. Louisans To Know To Succeed in Business. Mr. Hetlage and Mr. Vogelsmeier were selected by a team of editors and community leaders who identified these individuals based on their contributions to the area businesses and the overall business community.

  • 2014 News from the FMCSA and a Look Down the Road

    February 17, 2015 – Lashly & Baer attorney, Patrick E. Foppe, published an article in the December 2014 issue of the Defense Research Institute’s For The Defense Magazine entitled, “2014 News from the FMCSA and a Look Down the Road.”

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article.

     

  • Congratulations to Kenneth C. Brostron on Missouri Lawyers Weekly V&S Award Honor

    February 5, 2015 – Congratulations to Kenneth C. Brostron for being recognized as one of Missouri Lawyers Weekly’s 2015 Top Verdicts & Settlements Award Honorees, stemming from a defense verdict awarded in 2014. This prestigious recognition places Kenneth Brostron among an influential group of attorneys securing the largest reported defense verdicts/judgments in the state, thus contributing to the betterment of the legal profession in Missouri.

     

  • 2015 OIG Work Plan Provides Insight For Providers

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published the article “2015 OIG Work Plan Provides Insight For Providers” in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Winter 2015 Newsletter. CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the article.

    For more information, please contact Stuart J. Vogelsmeier at 314-621-2939, or at sjvogels@lashlybaer.com.

  • FMCSA Releases Crash Weighting Analysis And Seeks Public Input

    On January 21, 2015, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced through the Federal Register a study that examined (1) whether Police Accident Reports provide sufficient, consistent, and reliable information to support crash weighting determinations, (2) whether a crash weighting determination process would offer an even stronger predictor of carrier crash risk than the current assessment method, and (3) how the agency might reasonably manage and support a process for making crash weighting determinations, including the acceptance of public input. The announcement invites public comment along with a request for feedback on what steps the agency should take regarding the weighting of crash data in the agency’s systems based on the carrier’s role in a crash.

    Presently, the agency considers all recordable crashes involving a commercial motor vehicle occurring in the preceding 24 months as an assessment within its Safety Measurement System, which quantifies the on-the-road safety performance of motor carriers to prioritize enforcement resources.

    FMCSA maintains that independent research has demonstrated that a motor carrier’s involvement in a crash, regardless of their role in the crash, is a strong indicator of their future crash risk.

    The study examined Police Accident Reports obtained from two national datasets: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey (NMVCCS). Various statistical and analytical approaches were employed to assess crash weighting benefits including an analysis of motor carriers involved in single-vehicle fatal crashes over time.

    According to the FMCSA, changing the crash weights based on a motor carrier’s role in the crash did not appear to improve the ability to predict future crash rates when all crashes are considered.  FMCSA was also concerned about the reliability of using Police Accident Reports to make this determination. The study pointed out that implementing a crash weighting effort on a national scale would require a method for uniformly acquiring final Police Accident Reports, a process and system for uniform analysis, and a method for receiving and analyzing public input.

    FMCSA estimates that the annual costs for operating a system to process Police Accident Reports, including the acceptance of public input and reviewing appeals, would be between $3.9 million and $11.2 million. FMCSA has invited the public to review the full report and provide feedback.

    For more information, please contact Patrick E. Foppe at 314-621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Daniel D. Doyle Joins Lashly & Baer, P.C.

    Friday, January 9, 2015 (St. Louis, Missouri) – Daniel D. Doyle has recently joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as Of Counsel. Doyle holds a J.D. from Washington University School of Law and primarily concentrates his practice in business litigation with an emphasis in bankruptcy. His numerous successes range from multi-national finance companies to tribal sovereigns, from federal circuit courts to state courts, and from local disputes to a billion-dollar lawsuit with national implications. Doyle has been selected for inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers (Bankruptcy)and is peer rated AV® PreeminentTM with Martindale Hubbell. He is a member of the American Bar Association, The Missouri Bar, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis.

    Click Here to download the press release.

  • New Eavesdropping Restrictions in Illinois

    On December 30, 2014, Gov. Quinn signed SB 1342 into law as P.A. 98-1142 (720 ILCS 5/14-1 et seq.); the measure puts new eavesdropping restrictions into place after the Illinois Supreme Court threw out the previous eavesdropping law last March. As a result of the March court ruling, all Illinois residents had absolutely no expectation of privacy in regards to eavesdropping or digital recordings in public or private, not just law enforcement officers. There were no protections in place for anyone in Illinois against being recorded against their wishes.

    Under the previous law, recording anyone against their will in Illinois could be punishable under a Class 4 felony with a one to three years sentence. For eavesdropping upon law enforcement (State’s Attorneys, Police Officers, and agents of the Attorney General) that punishment was significantly higher at a Class 1 Felony punishable with a four to 15 year sentence. SB 1342 reinstates the Class 4 felony for concealing the recording of private interactions between Illinois residents, and actually reduces the punishment for recording law enforcement officials from a Class 1 to a Class 3 felony.

    SB 1342 re-defines “private conversation” as:

    any oral communication between 2 or more persons, whether in person or transmitted between the parties by wire or other means, when one or more of the parties intended the communication to be of a private nature under circumstances reasonably justifying that expectation. A reasonable expectation shall include any expectation recognized by law, including, but not limited to, an expectation derived from a privilege, immunity, or right established by common law, Supreme Court rule, or the Illinois or United States Constitution.

    This new law incorporates provisions that do allow citizens to record police in an open and public manner. In addition, in situations that are in public, even if a person is concealing what he or she is doing, the courts have found there is no expectation of privacy for law enforcement. A controversial aspect of the new law remains its list of exemptions, albeit now somewhat curtailed. The new law became effective December 30, 2014.

    For more information, please contact Patrick E. Foppe at (314) 621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com, or, contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Brainerd William LaTourette, Jr. (June 3, 1930 – December 26, 2014)

    In Memory of our Friend and Colleague.

  • FMCSA Seeks Public Comment Regarding Revising Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility of Commercial Carriers

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently announced through an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that the Agency is seeking comment from the public, liability insurance providers, motor carriers, brokers and freight forwarders on the safety and financial impacts of revising minimum levels of financial responsibility.

    The Federal Government has long required motor carriers to maintain certain levels of financial responsibility, either through insurance, a bond, or other financial security, as a means to protect the public in the event of a crash.  An April 2014 Report to Congress found that while catastrophic motor carrier crashes are rare, the costs for resulting severe and critical injuries can exceed $1 million; current insurance limits do not adequately cover these costs, which are primarily due to increases in medical expenses and other crash-related costs.

    To provide a basis for proposing changes to insurance rules and estimating those impacts in the future, the Agency is seeking additional information on 26 questions.  Whenever possible, commenters should provide data in support of their responses.  FMCSA recognizes that an individual commenter may choose to respond to all of the issues or only a subset, based on his or her interest or area of expertise.

    A copy of the ANPRM and instructions for submitting comments is available at https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2014/11/28/2014-28076/financial-responsibility-for-motor-carriers-freight-forwarders-and-brokers.

    Comments will accepted through February 26, 2015.

    For more information, please contact Patrick Foppe at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com, or at 314-621-2939, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Gets Top Ranking from U.S. News & World Report

    U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have released the 2015 Best Law Firms rankings, and St. Louis’ Lashly & Baer, P.C., has been given top marks in the St. Louis region.

    In the St. Louis rankings, Lashly & Baer earned “Metropolitan First-Tier” in Corporate Law, Health Care Law, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

  • FMCSA Curtails Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports

    FMCSA recently rescinded the requirement that commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating in interstate commerce, except drivers of passenger-carrying CMVs, submit, and motor carriers, retain Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRs) when the driver has neither found nor been made aware of any vehicle defects or deficiencies. The No-Defect DVIR rule also harmonizes the pre- and post-trip inspection lists. The rule does not change the requirement to perform the end of day DVIR inspection; rather it simply removes the requirement to document the inspection even when no safety-related vehicle defects exist. It responds in part to the President Obama’s January 2011 Regulatory Review and Reform initiative, removing a significant information collection burden without adversely impacting safety.

    FMCSA estimated that professional truck drivers spend approximately 46.7 million hours each year completing DVIRs. Eliminating DVIRs when no safety defects or mechanical deficiencies are identified will result in time savings valued at $1.7 billion dollars annually according to FMCSA. Violations related to DVIRs were the most common vehicle inspection violation discovered by FMCSA that was considered “critical” and which impacted motor carrier safety ratings. Rescinding the DVIR rule for no defect inspections may possibly reduce the chance of a motor carrier being cited for a safety rating-impacting vehicle maintenance violation here forward.

    FMCSA’s No-Defect DVIR rule will be effective on the date it is published in the Federal Register, which is scheduled for December 18, 2014.

    For more information, please contact Patrick E. Foppe at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com, or at 314-621-2939, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

     

  • ROi and Mercy Receive Top Analyst Provider Rating in 2014 Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25

    Lashly & Baer congratulates our client, Mercy Health, and its integrated supply chain division, ROi, on being ranked in the Top 10 for the sixth consecutive year in the 2014 Gartner Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25.  Mercy and ROi also received the highest ranking that Gartner analysts gave to a health care provider.  Click here  http://www.roiscs.com/News/Gartner2014 to learn more about this recognition.  Lashly & Baer attorneys Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, James C. Hetlage, Tricia J. Mueller, and Hannah M. Nelson represent ROi.

  • Payment for Referrals: It’s Still Not a Good Idea

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published the article “Payment for Referrals:  It’s Still Not a Good Idea,” in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Fall 2014 Newsletter. CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the article.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Earns Top Remarks from 2014 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers

    Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected by his peers as one of the Top 50: 2014 St. Louis Super Lawyers. Brostron ranked top of the list having been among those who received the highest point totals in the Missouri nominations, research and blue ribbon review process.

    A total of nine lawyers from Lashly & Baer, P.C. were selected for inclusion into the 2014 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers edition. They are Kenneth C. Brostron, Matthew J. Eddy, Kevin L. Fritz, Stefan J. Glynias, Terrance J. Good, James C. Hetlage, Stephen G. Reuter, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf. In addition, Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Rebecca M. Christensen, Mark R. Feldhaus, Patrick E. Foppe, Sarah J. Hugg-Turner and Melissa R. Null as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas for 2014.

    CLICK HERE to view the press release.

  • Trending Issues in Education Law 2014

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys, Lisa O. Stump and Lawrence J. Wadsack, presented, “Trending Issues in Education Law 2014” to approximately 300 Missouri principals and administrators on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)/MCCTA Fall Conference in Columbia, Missouri.  Their presentation covered matters including OCR Reviews and Investigations, Cell Phone Searches, Transgender Students and the Missouri Student Religious Liberties Act.

    Click here to download the presentation.

    For more information, please contact Ms. Stump at lostump@lashlybaer.com, Mr. Wadsack at lwadsack@lashlybaer.com, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Lashly & Baer Adds New Associate

    The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces that Scott A. Pummell has joined the firm as an associate. Pummell practices in the area of litigation matters, including business litigation, insurance disputes, and premises liability. He holds a J.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City.

    Click here to download the press release.

  • Revised Laws Regarding Prompt Payment and Payment Bonds in Public Works Projects

    Lashly & Baer attorneys, Robert E. McWilliams and Emily M. Slaten, wrote “Revised Laws Regarding Prompt Payment and Payment Bonds in Public Works Projects.” This article is intended to summarize the change in the Missouri law regarding prompt payments and payments bonds for public works contracts.

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article.

    For more information, please contact Mr. McWilliams at remcwill@lashlybaer.com, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

     

  • Pension Law Basics for Board Members

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Rhonda A. O’Brien, presented at the 2014 Annual Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) Convention on Saturday, September 27th on the topic of “Pension Law Basics for Board Members.” The MSBA Annual Convention is the largest annual gathering of public school policymakers in Missouri.

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of the presentation.

    For more information, please contact Ms. O’Brien at raobrien@lashlybaer.com, or contact your Lashly & Baer attorney.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Named As One of the Top Five Law Firms in St. Louis by Small Business Monthly

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. has been named by Small Business Monthly as one of the Top Five in the “Best Law Firms” category. The Best in Business: Business Owners’ Guide which features the results can be found in the September 2014 issue of Small Business Monthly. Click here to view the complete list.

  • Defense Verdict for Lashly & Baer Attorney, Mark R. Feldhaus

    Mark Feldhaus of Lashly & Baer, P.C. successfully defended a family physician against claims of negligence causing the death of a firefighter. The claim included the failure to properly assess and refer the patient for his coronary artery disease risk factors because of the patient’s history of a prior elevated score on a calcium scan, high cholesterol, and non-specific T wave abnormalities on a resting EKG. The Saint Louis County jury deliberated 40 minutes before concluding unanimously that the defendant physician was not at fault.

     

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Achieves Advanced Certification from The Missouri School Boards’ Association

    Lashly & Baer Attorney, Christopher D. Castellanos, also a member of the Affton 101 Board of Education, has achieved Advanced Certification in the Missouri School Boards’ Association (MSBA) certified board member program. The program established by MSBA helps local school board members master the knowledge and skills they need to function as effective educational leaders in their communities.

     

  • Four Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Included in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015

    We are proud to announce James C. Hetlage has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 for his work in Employment Law – Management. He joins John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law); Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law).

  • OIG Examines Lab Payments to Referring Physicians

    Lashly & Baer attorneys, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier and Hannah M. Nelson, published the article “OIG Examines Lab Payments to Referring Physicians” in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer 2014 Newsletter.

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Summer Newsletter.

  • Missouri Court of Appeals Holds that Missouri’s Statutory Caps on Punitive Damages Do Not Apply in Wrongful Death Cases

    Recently, in Mansfield v. Horner, WD76310, 2014 WL 2724854 (Mo. App. W.D.  June 17, 2014), the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals held that Missouri’s statutory caps on punitive damages do not apply to cases brought pursuant to the Missouri Wrongful Death Act. Under Section 510.265 RSMo, “punitive damages” are capped at (1) five hundred thousand dollars; or (2) five times the net amount of the judgment awarded to the plaintiff against the defendant. The Western District concluded that the legislature’s reference to “punitive damages” in section 510.265 was not intended to include within its scope “aggravating circumstances” damages allowed under the Missouri Wrongful Death Act. The Western District rejected the view that “aggravating circumstance awards” and “punitive damages” are statutory synonyms for purposes of Section 510.265. The Western District noted that the term “punitive damages” is not defined in Section 510.265 RSMo. Further, Section 510.263RSMo, which addresses trial procedures when “punitive damage” awards are claimed, specifies that those procedures are equally available where “aggravating circumstances” damages are claimed. The Western District stated that the Missouri legislature: (i) understands that “aggravating circumstances” damages are not synonymous with “punitive damages” as a matter of course; and (ii) plainly knows how to write legislation to express its intent to include “aggravating circumstances” within the scope of “punitive damages” if that is intended. The Western District limited prior holdings of the Missouri Supreme Court, which had previously stated that “aggravating circumstance damages in wrongful death cases are the equivalent of punitive damages,” to merely the context of determining whether damages for aggravating circumstances are subject to due process considerations. Presently, it is unclear whether this decision will be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.

    For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney, or Patrick Foppe at 314-621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com.

  • Defense Verdict for Lashly & Baer Attorney, Kenneth C. Brostron

    Kenneth Brostron of Lashly & Baer, P.C. successfully defended three labor and delivery nurses against claims of negligence causing severe brain damage of a newborn. The claims included failure to properly care for the mother in the presence of tachysystole and failure to stop the mother from pushing with a non-reassuring heart tracing. The lawsuit lasted fourteen trial days with the Phelps County jury concluding in favor of each nurse as well as the obstetrician.

  • FMCSA Initiates Rulemaking Process to Update the Financial Responsibility of Commercial Carriers

    On July 6, 2012, President Obama signed into law the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141). Section 32104 of MAP-21 directed the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to issue a report to Congress the appropriateness of the current minimum financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers of property and passengers, and the current bond and insurance requirements for freight forwarders and brokers. Section 32104 also directed the Secretary to issue a report on the appropriateness of these requirements every 4 years starting April 1, 2013. The Secretary of Transportation delegated the responsibility for this report to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

    On April 18, 2014, the FMCSA reported to Congress that current financial responsibility minimums for the commercial motor vehicle industry are inadequate to meet the costs of some crashes. The agency’s report to Congress includes findings from a recent study that weighed the benefits of increasing insurance minimums, including improved compensation for crash victims and reductions in commercial vehicle crashes, against costs imposed on commercial motor vehicle operators and the insurance industry. The FMCSA analysis shows that the costs for catastrophic accidents often exceed $1 million. The FMCSA concluded that the current insurance limits do not adequately cover these costs. The agency has formed a rulemaking team to further evaluate the appropriate level of financial responsibility for the motor carrier industry.

    The report does not examine the current bond and insurance requirements for freight forwarders and brokers since MAP-21 mandated these requirements to be $75,000 effective October 1, 2013, and the FMCSA will report on the appropriateness of these levels after it has had the opportunity to observe their impacts.

    The full report to Congress can be found at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/mission/policy/report-congress-examining-appropriateness-current-financial-responsibility-and.

    To download the article, click here. For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney, or Patrick Foppe at 314-621-2939, or pfoppe@lashlybaer.com.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney to Moderate at the Missouri Bar’s 2014 Annual Law Seminar

    May 14, 2014 – Melissa R. Null will serve as moderator for The Missouri Bar’s upcoming 2014 Annual Law Seminar to be held on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. The seminar will discuss topics in various practice areas including Business Law, Employment Law, Real Property, Torts & Civil Actions, and Workers’ Compensation.

  • Michael D. Regan Presented “Overview of Missouri Charitable Exemption Law – The Franciscan Test”

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Michael D. Regan, presented at the LeadingAge Missouri 2014 Annual Conference titled, “Nonprofit Status: What You Need to Know” on Thursday, April 24, 2014. The presentation covered an Overview of Missouri Charitable Exemption Law – The Franciscan Test.

    CLICK HERE to download the presentation.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces John S. McCollough and Melissa R. Null have joined the firm

    Wednesday, April 02, 2014The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces that John S. McCollough has joined the firm as a member and Melissa R. Null has joined as an associate.  McCollough and Null both practice in the area of complex business litigation matters, including premises liability, product liability, labor and employment, trucking and transportation, and insurance litigation.  McCollough holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law. Null holds a J.D. from University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law.

    Click here to view the press release.

  • FMCSA Announces Proposed Rule For Electronic Logging Devices

    On March 12, 2014, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced its proposed amendments to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) regarding Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), formally known as Electronic Onboard Recorders (EOBRs). The American Trucking Association has announced its general support for FMCSA’s proposed mandate for the use of ELDs. The proposed rule purports to address issues raised by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in its 2011 decision vacating the FMCSA’s April 5, 2010 final rule concerning ELDs (see Owner-Operator Indep. Drivers Ass’n v. FMCSA, 656 F.3d 580 (7th Cir. 2011)) as well as subsequent statutory developments.

    The proposed rule would amend the FMCSRs to establish: (1) minimum performance and design standards for hours-of-service (HOS) electronic logging devices (ELDs); (2) requirements for the mandatory use of these devices by drivers currently required to prepare HOS records of duty status (RODS); (3) requirements concerning HOS supporting documents; and (4) measures to address concerns about harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs. Specifically, the proposed rule includes provisions designed to:

    • Respect driver privacy by ensuring that ELD records continue to reside with the motor carriers and drivers. Electronic logs will continue to only be made available to FMCSA personnel or law enforcement during roadside inspections, compliance reviews and post-crash investigations.
    • Protect drivers from harassment through an explicit prohibition on harassment by a motor carrier owner towards a driver using information from an ELD. It will also establish a procedure for filing a harassment complaint and creates a maximum civil penalty of up to $11,000 for a motor carrier that engages in harassment of a driver that leads to an hours-of-service violation or the driver operating a vehicle when they are so fatigued or ill it compromises safety. The proposal will also ensure that drivers continue to have access to their own records and require ELDs to include a mute function to protect against disruptions during sleeper berth periods.
    • Increase efficiency for law enforcement personnel and inspectors who review driver logbooks by making it more difficult for a driver to cheat when submitting their records of duty status and ensuring the electronic logs can be displayed and reviewed electronically, or printed, with potential violations flagged.

    Details regarding the proposed rule can be found at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=475. Comments to the proposed rule should reference “Docket Number FMCSA-2010-0167” and be sent by one of following methods:

    • Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001;
    • Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays; or Fax: 202-493-2251.

     

    To download a copy of this article, please click here. For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney, or Patrick Foppe at 314-621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     


     

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Named to Small Business Monthly’s 2014 Best In Reliability List

    Small Business Monthly’s Best in Business section features Lashly & Baer, P.C. among companies nominated by SBM readers as being one of the most Reliable firms in St. Louis. The list will appear in the April 2014 issue. Click here for a complete Best in Business listings.

  • Lashly & Baer Partner Presented “Key Compliance Issues for 2014”

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, spoke at the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Annual Legislative Update on February 24, 2014, on the topic of “Key Compliance Issues for 2014.”

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of the presentation.

  • FMCSA Finalizes Rule to Shut Down Carriers based on Patterns of Safety Violations and Proposes New Rule for National Drug and Alcohol Testing Clearinghouse

    On January 22, 2014, the FMCSA published its new Patterns of Safety Violations Rule which implements the agency’s authority to shut down a bus or truck company if the company, or a company officer, has a history of purposely violating federal safety regulations. The rule is purportedly designed to target “high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance.” FMCSA stated it intends to apply the rule in “egregious cases” in which it finds that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of unsafe practices, even if that particular investigation alone does not result in a downgrade of the carrier’s safety fitness rating. The new rule is related to a rule adopted by the agency in 2012 to apply out-of-service orders to reincarnated or chameleon carriers and to consolidate their enforcement histories. The new rule goes one step further by authorizing a complete revocation of the motor carrier’s authority to operate. The new rule can be found at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rulesregulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=470.

    On February 12, 2014, the FMCSA announced a proposed rule to establish the Commercial Driver’s License Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse, a database under the Agency’s administration that will contain controlled substances and alcohol test result information for the holders of commercial driver’s licenses. The proposed rule would require FMCSA-regulated motor carrier employers, Medical Review Officers, Substance Abuse Professionals, and consortia/third party administrators supporting U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) testing programs to report verified positive, adulterated, and substituted drug test results, positive alcohol test results, test refusals, negative return-to-duty test results, and information on follow-up testing. The proposed rule would also require employers to report actual knowledge of traffic citations for driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The proposed rule would establish the terms of access to the database, including the conditions under which information would be submitted, accessed, maintained, updated, removed, and released to prospective employers, current employers, and other authorized entities. Finally, it would require laboratories that provide FMCSA-regulated motor carrier employers with DOT drug testing services to report, annual, summary information about their testing activities. The proposed rule can be found at: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=471

    For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney, or Patrick Foppe at 314-621-2939, or pfoppe@lashlybaer.com.

  • CMS’ Recent Actions Affecting RAC Appeals For Providers

    CMS has recently updated the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual as it relates to the Medicare coverage for skilled care for a patient in the Skilled Nursing Facility, Home Health, and Outpatient Therapy settings.  This Manual update is in response to last year’s January 24, 2013 settlement agreement in the case of Jimmo v. Sebelius.  In that case, the plaintiffs alleged that the Medicare contractors were inappropriately applying an “Improvement Standard” in making claim determinations for Medicare coverage involving skilled care.  While CMS denied ever establishing an improper rule of thumb of an “Improvement Standard,” it has provided further clarification in its Medicare policies for these facilities as it relates to covered maintenance services.  The Manual now specifically indicates that Medicare will pay for skilled services if the skilled services are “reasonable and necessary to prevent or slow further deterioration.”  Medicare coverage “cannot be denied based on the absence of potential for improvement or restoration.”  Therefore, Medicare contractors are not supposed to deny coverage for a patient if the services are necessary to either improve the patient or maintain the patient.  The Manual does indicate that documentation in the medical record must fully establish that the medical condition as described supports the goals for the patient and the need for such skilled nursing or therapy services.  These services must be consistent with the nature and severity of the illness or injury, the patient’s particular needs, and the accepted standards of medical practice, as well as the services themselves being reasonable and necessary for treatment of the illness or injury.  In addition, CMS has provided additional examples of permissible coverage for maintenance services.  For further information, click on the link provided: [Jimmo v. Sebelius Settlement Agreement Fact Sheet (http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/SNFPPS/Downloads/Jimmo-FactSheet.pdf)] and [Medicare Provider Benefits Manual.  [http://www.cms.gov/Regulations-and-Guidance/Guidance/Manuals/Internet-Only-Manuals-IOMs-Items/CMS012673.html]].

    Further, CMS has recently announced that it will again delay the implementation of the “two midnights rule” (“Rule”) that was established in the new rule (CMS-1599-F) to be effective October 1, 2013 for inpatient admissions at hospitals.  The Rule provides that an admission will qualify for Part A reimbursement where the physician admits the patient with the expectation that the treatment will require a two night inpatient stay.  CMS claimed to have clarified their policy regarding inpatient hospitalization from the 24 hour benchmark in a response to the hospitals’ calls for more guidance about when a beneficiary is appropriately treated as an inpatient rather than as an observation patient or other outpatient status.  However, as a result of the outcry of such implementation of this new Rule, CMS established that it would perform a series of “Probe and Educate” reviews prior to the implementation of Rule.  The Rule’s previous effective date of October 1, 2013 was delayed until December 31, 2013 and then again delayed to March 31, 2014 so that such “Probe and Educate” period could continue for the hospitals.  However, on January 31, 2014, CMS again delayed implementation for another six months.  During this time, the Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) will continue to select claims for review with dates of admission between March 31, 2014 and September 30, 2014.  The MACs will review and deny such claims and hold educational sessions with the hospitals until the implementation date of September 30, 2014.  Additionally, the MACs and recovery auditors will not be conducting pre- or post-payment status reviews for compliance with the Rule for inpatient hospital claims with admission dates between October 1, 2013 and October 1, 2014.

    For more information regarding this delay, please contact your Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney.

     

  • Provider-Based Status: Does Your Facility Qualify?

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Winter 2014 Newsletter entitled “Provider-Based Status: Does Your Facility Qualify?”. CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Winter Newsletter.

     

  • RECENT NEWS FROM THE FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION

    1)  One-Year Extension of Paper Medical Certificate Requirement for Commercial Bus and Truck Drivers

    FMCSA recently announced that it is extending by one year, until Jan. 30, 2015, a requirement that interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders retain paper copies of their medical examiner’s certificate and continue to make the document available for review upon request at the roadside by federal and state commercial motor vehicle inspectors. In Dec. 2008, FMCSA issued a Final Rule modernizing, streamlining, and simplifying recordkeeping obligations for drivers, carriers and state governments by requiring that a driver’s medical certification record be merged with state-issued CDLs. States received support from FMCSA to implement the necessary IT system upgrades and merge the records into one, online database – the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS). FMCSA announced the one-year extension today to protect commercial drivers from being cited for violations because some states are not yet in full compliance with the new system. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: www.FMCSA.DOT.gov.

    2)  New Rule to Shut Down Carriers based on Patterns of Safety Violations

    FMCSA is expected this week to publish a Patterns of Safety Violations Rule which implements the agency’s authority to shut down a bus or truck company if the company, or a company officer, has a history of purposely violating federal safety regulations. The rule is one of the new enforcement tools that the agency has developed in recent years to target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance. FMCSA intends to apply the rule in “egregious cases” in which it finds that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of unsafe practices, even if that particular investigation alone does not result in a downgrade of the carrier’s safety fitness rating. The new rule complements a rule adopted by the agency in 2012 to apply out-of-service orders to reincarnated or chameleon carriers and to consolidate their enforcement histories. The new rule goes one step further by authorizing a complete revocation of the motor carrier’s authority to operate. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/rulemakings/rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=470.

    3)  Public Listening Sessions on Knowledge Testing Requirements for New Entrant Carriers, Freight Forwarders and Brokers

    FMCSA plans to hold public listening sessions to solicit ideas and information from interested parties on possible knowledge testing requirements for New Entrant passenger and property carriers, freight forwarders, and brokers as follows:

    • March 28, 2014 at the Mid-America Trucking Show taking place at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky.
    • April 7, 2014 at the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s spring conference taking place at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites in Los Angeles.

    Room locations and times to be announced. To learn more about the New Entrant requirements in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) (Pub. L. 112-141) and the types of information FMCSA is requesting through the listening sessions, please see the FMCSA website.

    If you would like more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney, or Patrick E. Foppe at (314) 621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com

  • 2014 News from the FMCSA and a Look Down the Road

    Patrick E. Foppe authored, “2014 News from the FMCSA and a Look Down the Road,” DRI For The Defense Magazine, December 2014. View the above link to read a PDF copy of this article.

  • How Much Flexibility Do I Have in Billing the Patient? Weighing the risks of waiving insurance copays

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the December 2013 issue of St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine entitled “How Much Flexibility Do I Have in Billing the Patient?”

    Click here to download a copy of the article, or visit the St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine website.

    http://www.slmms.org/index.php/magazine/online-magazine-archives/63-2013-online-magazine-archives

  • Client of Lashly & Baer, P.C. Awarded Settlement

    Comcast, defended by Andrew G. Toennies of Lashly & Baer, and its unnamed corporate representative were awarded $69,021.26 in attorney’s fees and costs as a sanction against plaintiffs’ attorneys after Comcast was sued by a company alleging computer hacking. The case was dismissed and the court granted Comcast’s request for attorney’s fees and costs.

    Read the story in its entirety at the Madison County Record.

  • Kenneth C. Brostron Selected as St. Louis Top 50 and Missouri Top 100 and Nine Others Selected into the 2013 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. Plus, Four Selected as Rising Stars

    Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected by his peers as one of the Top 50: 2013 St. Louis Super Lawyers and Top 100: 2013 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers. Brostron ranked top of the list in both the Top 50 St. Louis and Top 100 categories, having been among those who received the highest point totals in the Missouri nominations, research and blue ribbon review process.

    In addition, ten lawyers were selected for inclusion into the 2013 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers edition. They are John Fox Arnold, Kenneth C. Brostron, Matthew J. Eddy, Kevin L. Fritz, Stefan J. Glynias, Terrance J. Good, James C. Hetlage, Stephen G. Reuter, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf. Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Mark R. Feldhaus, Patrick E. Foppe and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner and Tricia J. Mueller as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas for 2013.

    CLICK HERE to view the Press Release.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Gets Top Rankings from U.S. News & World Report

    U.S. News – Best Lawyers® has given Lashly & Baer, P.C. top marks in the St. Louis region by ranking the firm “Best Law Firms” for Metropolitan St. Louis First-Tier in Corporate Law, Health Care Law, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants in 2014.

    CLICK HERE to download the press release.

  • Photocopiers – The New Hotspot for HIPAA Risks

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier and Tricia J. Mueller, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Fall 2013 Newsletter entitled “Photocopiers-The New Hotspot for HIPAA Risks”. CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Fall Newsletter. http://www.hfmastlouis.org/images/Newsletters/2013/GatewayGatheringsFall2013.pdf


  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Speaks at the 2013 MoASBO Fall Conference

    On Monday, October 21, 2013, Lisa O. Stump, presented “Social Networking – Legal Implications in School Operations,” at the 2013 Missouri Association of School Business Officials (MoASBO) Fall Conference. The presentation addressed student discipline for off-campus conduct occurring on social networking sites, employees and social networking, and district use of social networking.

    To view the presentation, click here.

     

     

  • Lashly & Baer Hires Three New Associates

    Michael P. McGinley, Hannah M. Nelson and Emily M. Slaten have joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as associates.  McGinley holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and practices in the area of business litigation. He is a 1997 graduate of Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in English. Nelson holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and practices in the area of health care.  She is a 2010 graduate of Saint Louis University, cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and minors in Spanish and Legal Studies. Slaten holds a J.D. from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and focuses her practice in the areas of governmental and public institutions law and education law.  She is a 2007 graduate of Saint Louis University, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in History and a certificate in Business Administration.

    CLICK HERE to download the press release.

  • Attorney At Law Magazine® Names Lisa O. Stump Attorney Of The Month

    Lisa O. Stump has recently been named Attorney at Law Magazine’s Attorney of the Month for the Greater St. Louis Edition Vol2No2. Her experience, professionalism, client services, and diverse client base were all attributes considered for her selection as Attorney of the Month. Attorney at Law Magazine® is a professional business to business trade magazine for all attorneys in the state of Missouri, with a goal of profiling only the most distinguished attorneys, who are considered driving forces in the legal community.

     

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  • Fair Labor Standards Act for Schools

    James C. Hetlage of Lashly & Baer, P.C. presented a talk on the applicability of the Fair Labor Standards Act in school districts at the Missouri School Boards Association Annual Conference on Saturday, October 5, 2013. The seminar covered common issues faced by Missouri school districts and other public and private sector employers under the Fair Labor Standards Act, including improper classification of exempt and non-exempt employees, how to properly calculate overtime pay, the use of comp time in lieu of overtime and potential liability that employers face in overtime cases.

    If you would like more information, please contact James Hetlage at
    (314) 621-2939, or at jhetlage@lashlybaer.com.

  • Illinois Bans Using Handheld Cell Phones Behind the Wheel

    Effective January 1st, Illinois drivers cannot legally hold cell phones and talk. Public Act 98-0506 subjects drivers to a blanket ban on the use of “electronic communication devices” while operating motor vehicles on any Illinois roadway. The new law expands an existing ban in the Illinois Vehicle Code on texting and emailing while driving and will prohibit all use of electronic communication devices while driving but for a few narrow exceptions for things like hands free telephone calls, GPS navigation, CB and HAM radios, and emergency situations. The new law creates an exception for phones and other devices that can be used “by pressing a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication.” Thus, many smart phones, like iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S4, which have voice activated features that allow the device to be used solely with hands free voice commands will be permitted.

    If you would like more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney, or Patrick E. Foppe at (314) 621-2939, or at pfoppe@lashlybaer.com

  • Missouri Legislature Overrides Veto of Volunteer Health Services Act

    By Richard D. Watters – On September 11, 2013, the Missouri Legislature overruled the Governor’s veto of the Volunteer Health Services Act which protects licensed healthcare providers (physicians, dentists, nurses, optometrists, mental health professionals and other state licensed or certified healthcare providers) from liability for civil damages for any act or omission resulting from healthcare services provided within their specialty and without charge, unless the act or omission was the result of a conscious disregard of the ordinary standard of care or willful misconduct.  Healthcare providers may be licensed by any state, but if not licensed in Missouri, they may not provide more than 60 days of service in any 90 day period.

    Not all volunteer health services are entitled to protection.  They must be provided to the patients of a sponsoring organization which arranges for such volunteer services.  The sponsoring organization must register with the state, maintain a list of its providers and their licenses, and file quarterly reports identifying the individuals providing the free healthcare services.

    CLICK HERE to download this article.

  • New Law in Missouri Requires Uninsured Motorists to Forfeit Recovery of Noneconomic Damages Under Certain Circumstances

    Yesterday, the Missouri Legislature overrode Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 339, which requires uninsured motorists to forfeit recovery of non-economic damages under certain circumstances. The new law, now section 303.390 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, prohibits an uninsured driver who is the owner of the vehicle or a driver operating a vehicle with or without permission who is uninsured from collecting for non-economic damages in a civil action against an insured motorist alleged to be at fault for an accident. The provisions do not apply to an uninsured driver who has lost his or her insurance coverage for failure to pay unless the notification of termination or non-renewal was provided at least six months prior to the accident. Reductions in damage awards based on the new law will not be disclosed to the trier of fact.

    The limitation does not apply to passengers in an uninsured driver’s vehicle and does not limit the recovery of benefits provided or economic losses. Recovery of non-economic damages in instances where an insured driver who is at fault because of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol or who is convicted of involuntary manslaughter or second degree assault will still be allowed under the new law.

    If held constitutional by the courts of Missouri, the new law will dramatically limit recovery for injuries in cases to which it applies. Practitioners would be well advised to conduct discovery on these issues. Further, it remains to be seen whether the new law will require juries to complete a special verdict form allocating economic and non-economic damages similar to special verdicts required in medical malpractice cases in Missouri.

    The full text of Section 303.390 reads:

    1. An uninsured motorist shall waive the ability to have a cause of action or otherwise collect for non-economic loss against a person who is in compliance with the financial responsibility laws of this chapter due to a motor vehicle accident in which the insured driver is alleged to be at fault. For purposes of this section, the term “uninsured motorist” shall include:

    (1) An uninsured driver who is the owner of the vehicle;

    (2) An uninsured permissive driver of the vehicle; and

    (3) Any uninsured non-permissive driver. Such waiver shall not apply if it can be proven that the accident was caused, in whole or in part, by a tort-feasor who operated a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or who is convicted of involuntary manslaughter under subdivision (2) of subsection 1 of section 565.024, or assault in the second degree under subdivision (4) of subsection 1 of section 565.060.

    2. The provisions of this section shall not apply to an uninsured motorist whose immediately previous insurance policy meeting the requirements of section 303.190 was terminated or non-renewed for failure to pay the premium, unless notice of termination or non-renewal for failure to pay such premium was provided by such insurer at least six months prior to the time of the accident.

    3. In an action against a person who is in compliance with the financial responsibility laws prescribed by this chapter by a person deemed to have waived recovery under subsection 1 of this section:

    (1) Any award in favor of such person shall be reduced by an amount equal to the portion of the award representing compensation for non-economic losses;

    (2) The trier of fact shall not be informed, directly or indirectly, of such waiver or of its effect on the total amount of such person’s recovery.

    4. Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude recovery against an alleged tort-feasor of benefits provided or economic loss coverage.

    5. Passengers in the uninsured motor vehicle are not subject to such recovery limitation.

    For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney or Patrick E. Foppe at (314) 621-2939.

     

     

     

     

  • Three Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Selected in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014

    Monday, August 19, 2013 – The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. is proud to announce that John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law), Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law) have been selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2014 (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC).

    CLICK HERE to download the press release.

  • Patrick E. Foppe Named Among Up & Coming Lawyers of 2013

    Congratulations to Patrick E. Foppe, a Partner at Lashly & Baer, P.C., for being selected as an award honoree for the Missouri Lawyers Weekly Up & Coming Award for 2013. Recipients of the award are recognized for their professional and academic accomplishments, as well as, their dedication to the community. Patrick will be featured in a  special section of the Missouri Lawyers Weekly on September 9, 2013 and will be honored at the 2013 Up & Coming Awards Ceremony on September 13, 2013 at the Chase Park Plaza.

     

     

  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds Most New Hours Of Service Rules

    On August 2, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its long-awaited ruling on the challenge by the American Trucking Association (ATA) to the most recent revisions in the hours-of-service rules promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which went into full effect on July 1, 2013. The new rules added the following new provisions:

    • 30–Minute Off–Duty Break, which bars truckers from driving past 8 hours unless they have had an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes;

    • Once–Per–Week Restriction, which allows truckers to invoke the 34–hour restart provision only once every 168 hours (or 7 days);

    • Two–Night Requirement, which also mandates that the 34–hour restart include two blocks of time from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

    The court upheld these new rules, except struck down the 30-minute off-duty break for short-haul drivers only. Even though the court agreed with the ATA that the FMCSA’s justification for the rules had serious flaws, it declined to “second-guess” the agency’s methodologies and interpretations of the evidence, instead taking a “highly deferential” approach to the agency’s presumed expertise, concluding that “FMCSA won the day not through the strengths of its rulemaking prowess,” but rather through “an artless war of attrition . . . .”

    Further, the court found no merit in the challenge of the coalition of interest groups that have repeatedly fought to make a working regulation more restrictive, correctly concluding it “would have been unreasonable and unfounded on the record” to reduce the driving day from 11 to 10 hours. The court also rejected the groups’ call to eliminate the restart altogether.

    At present, it is unclear whether any party will appeal the court’s ruling. The case is styled: Am. Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Fed. Motor Carrier Safety Admin., 12-1092, 2013 WL 3956992 (D.C. Cir., Aug. 2, 2013).

    For more information, please contact your Lashly & Baer attorney or Patrick E. Foppe at (314) 621-2939.

     

  • Federal Appeals Court Upholds Most New Hours of Service Rules

    On August 2, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued its long-awaited ruling on the challenge by the American Trucking Association (ATA) to the most recent revisions in the hours-of-service rules promulgated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which went into full effect on July 1, 2013. The new rules added the following new provisions:

    • 30–Minute Off–Duty Break, which bars truckers from driving past 8 hours unless they have had an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes;

    • Once–Per–Week Restriction, which allows truckers to invoke the 34–hour restart provision only once every 168 hours (or 7 days);

    • Two–Night Requirement, which also mandates that the 34–hour restart include two blocks of time from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

    The court upheld these new rules, except struck down the 30-minute off-duty break for short-haul drivers only. Even though the court agreed with the ATA that the FMCSA’s justification for the rules had serious flaws, it declined to “second-guess” the agency’s methodologies and interpretations of the evidence, instead taking a “highly deferential” approach to the agency’s presumed expertise, concluding that “FMCSA won the day not through the strengths of its rulemaking prowess,” but rather through “an artless war of attrition . . . .”

    Further, the court found no merit in the challenge of the coalition of interest groups that have repeatedly fought to make a working regulation more restrictive, correctly concluding it “would have been unreasonable and unfounded on the record” to reduce the driving day from 11 to 10 hours. The court also rejected the groups’ call to eliminate the restart altogether.

    At present, it is unclear whether any party will appeal the court’s ruling. The case is styled: Am. Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Fed. Motor Carrier Safety Admin., 12-1092, 2013 WL 3956992 (D.C. Cir., Aug. 2, 2013).

  • School-Based Health Centers Grow in Popularity

    Lashly & Baer partners, Lisa O. Stump and Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer 2013 Newsletter entitled “School Based Health Centers Grow in Popularity”. CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Summer Newsletter.  http://www.hfmastlouis.org/documents/GatewayGatheringsSummer2013.pdf

  • Andrew G. Toennies Represents Client in Suit Over IP Addresses in St. Clair County Computer Hacking Case

    Toennies filed a motion to quash the LW Systems LLC v. Christopher Hubbard, et al. subpoenas and enter a protective order for his client, Comcast Cable Holdings LLC. The subpoenas in the case set out to identify the owners of numerous IP addresses for computer systems that supply content for adult website operator.

    Click here to read the full Madison-St. Clair Record article.  Judge Gleeson granted the motion to quash ISP subpoenas, click here to read Madison-St. Clair Records article.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Obtain Dismissal of Lawsuit Involving Warehouse Accident

    Patrick E. Foppe and Kevin L. Fritz of Lashly & Baer, P.C. recently secured a judgment on the pleadings in favor of their client who was sued for allegedly stacking furniture at a warehouse that fell and caused plaintiff’s injury. Judge Messina of the Circuit Court of Kansas City, Missouri, dismissed plaintiff’s petition for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The case was styled: Hudson v. Wheeler, et al., Cause No. 1216-CV22106 (Circuit Court of Kansas City, MO).

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Secure Settlement For Workplace Accident Victim

    Kevin L. Fritz and Patrick E. Foppe of Lashly & Baer, P.C. were able to secure a $7 million settlement on behalf of their client after a workplace accident left him a quadriplegic. The plaintiff – who was walking through an unsecured area of a demolition project that involved removing sections of the plants’ exhaust system – was struck by a fallen piece of duct-work.

     

    Details appeared in the June 17, 2013 issue of Missouri Lawyers Weekly Verdicts & Settlements.

  • New Rules for Copying Electronic Medical Records

    By: Richard Watters – On July 3, 2013, the Governor signed HB 351 which, among other things, amends the existing law on the duty of physicians, chiropractors, hospitals, dentists and other duly licensed practitioners to provide patients with copies of their medical records.  As amended, if the patient, the patient’s authorized representative, or any person authorized by law to obtain records upon payment of a fee: (i) requests that the records be delivered electronically; (ii) the provider stores the records electronically; and (iii) the provider is capable of providing the records and a medical record affidavit in electronic format, then the records must be furnished electronically upon payment of the search and retrieval fee and the copying fee.  The allowable search and retrieval fee and the allowable copying fee the same as for paper records discussed below, but in the case of electronic records, there is a cap of $100 in total fees.

    If the patient does not request electronic records or the provider is unable to produce them electronically, then paper records may be provided.  The provider may charge a search and retrieval fee of not more than $22.82, a copying fee of $.53 per page, postage to include packaging and delivery costs and a notary fee, if requested, not to exceed $2.00.  If the provider stores the records offsite, the provider may charge additional labor costs of the offsite storage entity not to exceed $21.36.

    For records that cannot be duplicated on a standard commercial photocopy machine (x-rays for example), the provider may charge the reasonable cost of duplicating such records.

    These fees will be adjusted in February of each year.  These amendments will go into effect August 28, 2013.

     

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of this article.

     

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Have Been Hired to Represent City of Crestwood

    Lisa O. Stump has been selected as lead attorney for the representation of the City of Crestwood. The Crestwood Board of Aldermen unanimously approved Lashly & Baer as the city’s new legal representation. Read more at The South County Times

     

  • Restrictive Covenants in Physician and Nurse Practitioner Contracts

    By Richard D. Watters – Nowadays, almost all physician contracts and many nurse practitioner contracts contain restrictive covenants which generally prohibit or restrict the practitioner from competing against a former employer in the event the employment relationship should terminate.  Although Missouri courts will enforce restrictive covenants, they cannot be enforced if their sole purpose is to prevent competition.  The employer must have a legitimate business purpose or protectable interest to enforce restrictive covenants.  This is why such agreements generally refer to protecting the employer’s confidential business information and patient lists.

    In a new decision out of the Illinois Appellate Courts, a physician successfully challenged his former employer’s effort to enforce a restrictive covenant.  In Gastroenterology Consultants of the North Shore (“Group”) vs. Mick Meiselman, M.D. (“Physician”), the Group attempted to prevent Dr. Meiselman from practicing within a 15 mile radius of the Group’s office for three years, pursuant to a restrictive covenant in the Physician’s employment contract.  Dr. Meiselman was one of the founding members of the Group where he had worked for 15 years.  He and all Group physicians had the same restrictive covenant in their employment agreements.  When Dr. Meiselman left to join another practice, he continued treating patients he had seen while an employee of Group.  In denying the Group an injunction against Meiselman, the Court noted that, while with the Group, he billed for his own services, maintained his own office, and kept his own telephone number.  His compensation was based on his own productivity.  The Group did not advertise, promote or market his practice and was not actively involved in it other than to provide administrative services.  Referring physicians referred to individual doctors within the Group, including Dr. Meiselman, but not to the Group.  On these circumstances the Court found that the Group did not have a legitimate business interest that needed protection and refused to enforce the restrictive covenant.

    Groups that treat each physician as his/her own profit center on an eat-what-you-will compensation formula, with little real integration between physicians other than the sharing of administrative expenses, may not give the group practice a sufficient interest in the physician’s practice to be protectable by a restrictive covenant.

    CLICK HERE to download a copy of this article. 

     

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Obtain TRO for Client To Remove Manager From St Louis’s Chase Park Plaza Hotel

    Kenneth C. Brostron and Mark R. Feldhaus of Lashly & Baer, P.C. assisted in obtaining a temporary restraining order allowing their client to remove the manager from St. Louis’s Chase Park Plaza Hotel.  Click here to review the TRO.  A news story can be viewed on the St. Louis Post Dispatch website.

     

  • Missouri Court of Appeals Reverses Administrative Decision Requiring Special Use Conditions

    The case revolved around a request by MLB Holdings, a lessee of Curry Investment Company, for a special use permit to operate a pawn shop on a building and parking lot leased by Curry Investment to MLB. At a hearing on the request, the Kansas City Board of Zoning Adjustment staff determined that all requisite criteria for a special use permit were met with the MLB application. However, there were two existing outdoor advertising signs, which were nonconforming uses, located on the property in question. As a result, based on a general policy of removal of existing outdoor billboards as part of property development, the Board of Zoning Adjustment approved the special use permit, subject to removal of the two outdoor advertising signs. Curry Investment objected, and ultimately filed a petition with the circuit court, which found that the Board of Zoning Adjustment had exceeded its authority, and proceeded to modify the Board decision by striking the conditions requiring removal of the advertising signs. That decision was appealed.

    The Court of Appeals rejected the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s position and required the issuance of the special use permit to MLB without the condition for removal of the outdoor advertising signs. In doing so, the Court recognized these principles:

    • The Board of Zoning Adjustment’s ruling, rather than that of the circuit court, was reviewable. The scope of review was limited to determination as to whether the Board’s judgment was arbitrary, capricious, unreasonable, unlawful or in excess of its jurisdiction, with the evidence and reasonable inferences viewed in the light most favorable to the decision.

     

    • Under the nonconforming use doctrine, zoning restrictions adopted by a municipality may not be applied so as to require removal or cessation of an established use of land – a use which does not conform with a use authorized by the zoning restriction.

     

    • The issuing of a permit is a ministerial act, not a discretionary act, which may not be refused if the requirements of the applicable ordinance have been met.

     

    • Once the Board of Zoning Adjustment determined that all the criteria for the special use permit were met, the Board was unreasonable to require the removal of the nonconforming signs as a special use permit condition, since the Board proved no relation to sign removal with the special use criteria set out in the zoning code.

    The Court of Appeals accordingly concluded that the Board of Zoning Adjustment erred by conditioning its approval of the special use permit for the pawn shop on the removal of the two nonconforming, lawfully existing, outdoor advertising signs. The principles which the Court of Appeals relied upon may need to be considered in situations involving zoning requirements, permit applications and related conforming and nonconforming uses of property.

  • Physician-Owned Distributorships-Tread Carefully

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Spring 2013 Newsletter entitled “Physician Owned Distributorships-Tread Carefully.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Spring Newsletter.

     

  • Lashly & Baer Partner To Speak at the Investiture Ceremony of the North Shore University Health System

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, will speak at the Investiture Ceremony of the NorthShore University Health System, as Jay L. Goldstein, M.D. is invested as the Roy F. Kehl Chair of Gastroenterology.  The Ceremony will be held on June 11, 2013, at the NorthShore Evanston Hospital. Evanston, Illinois.  This Endowed Chair has been made possible by a bequest from long-time Lashly & Baer client, Roy F. Kehl, who died in February of 2011. During his lifetime, Mr. Kehl endowed the Gastroenterology Laboratory at NorthShore’s Evanston Hospital. In September of 2012, NorthShore named Mr. Kehl a Distinguished Benefactor in recognition of total gifts in excess of $4,000,000, and the award was presented to Mr. Vogelsmeier, as Mr. Kehl’s attorney and advisor. Lashly & Baer represented Mr. Kehl for over 50 years, and Mr. Vogelsmeier advised Mr. Kehl on the implementation of his charitable planned giving. Mr. Kehl was a nationally known organist and church music scholar, and was generally regarded as the world’s foremost historian on Steinway pianos.

    For more information on this event please click here.

  • EMPLOYER ALERT: New Form I-9 Must be Used By May 7th

    As of May 7, 2013, all employers in the United States will be required to use the new Form I-9 to comply with employment eligibility verification requirements under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986.   The new form adds additional data fields that must be filled out. You may access the new form by clicking on the following hyperlink Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9.  Please note, failure to use the new I-9 form may result in penalties.

    If you have any questions regarding the completion, retention and/or responding to inquiries from any Federal agency regarding Form I-9, please contact Jim Hetlage at 314-621-2939.

  • Missouri Appellate Court Allows Imputed Liability Claims Against Employer Even After Admitting Agency When Punitive Damages Are At Issue

    In 1995, the Missouri Supreme Court adopted the majority view “that once an employer has admitted respondeat superior liability for a driver’s negligence, it is improper to allow a plaintiff to proceed against the employer on any other theory of imputed liability.” McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 826 (Mo. banc 1995). The Missouri Supreme Court qualified its holding, however, noting that:

    it may be possible that an employer or entrustor may be held liable on a theory of negligence that does not derive from and is not dependent on the negligence of an entrustee or employee…. [I]t is also possible that an employer or an entrustor may be liable for punitive damages [that] would not be assessed against the employee/entrustee. See Clooney v. Geeting, 352 So.2d [1216,] 1220 [ (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1977) ]. Finally, it is conceivable that in a contribution action between an employer and employee, the relative fault of those two parties may be relevant. However, none of those circumstances exist here. Those issues await another day.

    Id. Recently, in Wilson v. Image Flooring, LLC, Nos. WD75141, WD 75142, 2013 WL 1110878, 2 (Mo. App. W.D. Mar 19, 2013), the Missouri Appellate Court for the Western District took up the issue of whether a “punitive damages exception” to the general rule barring direct negligence claims against an employer who had already admitted vicarious liability. While many federal courts in Missouri have addressed the question of whether there exists a punitive damages exception to the general rule under Missouri law, no Missouri court had yet addressed this issue. See Kwiatkowski v. Teton Transp., Inc., No. 11–1302–CV–W–ODS, 2012 WL 1413154, at 3–4 (W.D.Mo. Apr. 23, 2012). The Wilson court found that “if faced with the issue now, [the Missouri] Supreme Court would determine that such an exception exists.” Wilson,  2013 WL 1110878, 2. The Wilson Court explained:

    The rationale for the [the Missouri Supreme] Court’s holding in McHaffie was that, where vicarious liability was admitted and none of the direct liability theories could prevail in the absence of proof of the employee’s negligence, the employer’s liability was necessarily fixed by the negligence of the employee. McHaffie, 891 S.W.2d at 826. Thus, any additional evidence supporting direct liability claims could serve only to waste time and possibly prejudice the defendants. Id.

    The same cannot be said, however, when a claim for punitive damages based upon the direct liability theories is raised. If an employer’s hiring, training, supervision, or entrustment practices can be characterized as demonstrating complete indifference or a conscious disregard for the safety of others, then the plaintiff would be required to present additional evidence, above and beyond demonstrating the employee’s negligence, to support a claim for punitive damages. Unlike in the McHaffie scenario, this evidence would have a relevant, non-prejudicial purpose. And because the primary concern in McHaffie was the introduction of extraneous, potentially prejudicial evidence, we believe that the rule announced in McHaffie does not apply where punitive damages are claimed against the employer, thus making the additional evidence both relevant and material.

    Id.

     Wilson v. Image Flooring, LLC

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney, Mark H. Levison, has been selected as one of the Top 100 St. Louisans To Know To Succeed in Business

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Mark H. Levison, has been selected by Small Business Monthly as one of the Top 100 St. Louisans To Know To Succeed in Business. Mr. Levison was selected by a team of editors and community leaders who identified these individuals based on their contributions to the area businesses and the overall
    business community.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces Patrick E. Foppe Named Member

    The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces that Patrick E. Foppe has been named a member of the firm. Mr. Foppe has been with the firm since 2008, and focuses his practice in civil litigation with an emphasis in transportation-related matters including high-exposure claims involving tractor-trailer accidents, wrongful death, products liability, personal injury, premises liability, and general negligence. He holds a J.D. and a B.S. in International Business, summa cum laude, from Saint Louis University.

  • Waiving Co-Pays and Deductibles – Part II

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Winter Newsletter entitled “Waiving Co-Pays and Deductibles.-Part Two.”  CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Winter Newsletter.

  • Lashly & Baer Partner Presented “Key Compliance Issues for 2013”

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, presented “Key Compliance Issues for 2013” at the Healthcare Financial Management Association Greater St. Louis Chapter Annual Legislative Update on February 26, 2013. Click here to download the presentation.

  • Navigating the aftermath of the ‘fiscal cliff’

    Lashly & Baer attorney, Christopher Castellanos, discusses the fiscal-cliff aftermath with the St. Louis Business JournalClick here to view the St. Louis Business Journal article.

  • Resolving Estate, Will and Trust Contests

    Christopher D. Castellanos will be speaking at a CLE seminar on Resolving Estate, Will and Trust Contests, sponsored by the National Business Institute.  He will be speaking on ethical considerations including avoiding conflicts of interest, getting a written retainer and being professional.  In addition, he will speak on gathering evidence including medical records, bank records, tax returns and depositions. The seminar is being held on Monday, March 11, 2013.  To find out more information, visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Takes Part in Washington University School of Law’s Admitted Students Day

    Attorney Christopher D. Castellanos was featured as an alumni panelist at Washington University School of Law’s Admitted Students Day on Friday, January 25, 2013.  The event allows prospective law students to gain insight into the experiences of previous law students during their studies at Washington University.

  • Missouri Courts Examining Possible Exceptions to When a Plaintiff Can Pursue Other Imputed Theories of Liability Against an Employer Even After Respondeat Superior Liability is Admitted

    Missouri follows the majority rule that a jury cannot generally assess a defendant employer’s fault based on imputed theories of liability, such as “negligent entrustment” or “negligent hiring,” after an employer has admitted the wrongdoer was its agent acting within the scope of his/her agency at the time of the accident. McHaffie v. Bunch, 891 S.W.2d 822, 826–27 (Mo. banc 1995). In other words, in cases where respondeat superior liability is admitted, it is generally improper to allow a plaintiff to proceed against the employer on any other theory of imputed or derivative liability. The rationale is that allowing other theories of imputed liability “serves no real purpose,” wastes the time and energy of the court and litigants because the employer’s liability “is fixed by the amount of liability of the employee,” and opens the door to potentially inflammatory and irrelevant evidence. McHaffie, 891 S.W.2d at 826. Importantly, however, the Missouri Supreme Court in McHaffie left open the possibility for several exceptions to the general rule. Id. at 826. For instance, “an employer or entrustor may be held liable on a theory of negligence that does not derive from and is not dependent on the negligence of an entrustee or employee,” or “an employer or an entrustor may be liable for punitive damages which would not be assessed against the employee/entrustee.” Id.. The contours of these possible exceptions to the general rule are the subject to recent appeals in Missouri.

    First, in Coomer v. Kansas City Royals Baseball Corp., WD73984, 2013 WL 150838 (Mo. App. W.D. Jan. 15, 2013), the Missouri Western District Appellate Court held that negligent supervision and training claims, like negligent hiring and negligent entrustment claims, are based on theories of imputed liability. Imputed liability claims involve those which there is no evidence that the “employer’s lack of care” caused a plaintiff’s injuries “in the absence of the negligence by the employee.” Id. Therefore, negligent supervision and training claims, like negligent hiring and negligent entrustment claims, are generally barred when the issue of agency is admitted.

    Second, whether there is a so-called “punitive damages exception” to the general rule is currently before the Missouri Western Appellate Court. See Wilson v. Image Flooring, LLC, et al., WD 751412012 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012). Although never before formally recognized by a Missouri appellate court, many jurisdictions allow a plaintiff to proceed under other imputed negligence theories after respondeat superior liability is admitted when punitive damages are at issue. Likewise, several federal district courts while applying Missouri law have recognized a “punitive damages exception.” See e.g., Jackson v. Wiersema Charter Serv., Inc., 2009 WL 1310064 (E.D.Mo. 2009); Miller v. Crete Carrier Corp., 2003 WL 25694930 (E.D.Mo. 2003); Burroughs v. Mackie Moving Systems Corp.,  2010 WL 576799 (E.D.Mo. 2010); Kwiatkowski v. Teton Transp., Inc.,  2012 WL 1413154, 4 (W.D.Mo. 2012). These federal decisions, though persuasive and authoritative, are not of course binding on Missouri state courts. The ruling in the Wilson case, which is expected this spring or summer, will likely help resolve whether Missouri allows for a “punitive damages exception.”

  • Local Law Firm Gets Top Rankings From U.S. News & World Report and Three Attorneys Also Named in The Best Lawyers in America®

    U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers have released the 2013 Best Law Firms rankings, and St. Louis’ Lashly & Baer, P.C., has been given top marks in the St. Louis region.

    In the National rankings, Lashly & Baer earned “National First-Tier Rankings” in Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants while earning “National Third-Tier” in Health Care Law.

    In the St. Louis rankings, Lashly & Baer earned “St. Louis First-Tier” in Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, while earning “St. Louis Second-Tier Rankings” in Corporate Law.

    In addition to this recognition, three attorneys from Lashly & Baer have been included in the 2013 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  Richard D. Watters, listed in Health Care Law, recently joined a distinguished group of attorneys who have been included inBest Lawyers for 20 years or longer.  Also listed in Best Lawyers were John Fox Arnold in Corporate Law and Kenneth C. Brostron in Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

  • Update to School Violence Issues

    In light of last week’s tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary, we thought it may be helpful to revisit information on “Active Shooter Situations,” which was a part of our presentation at the MSBA Conference in September.

    Lawrence J. Wadsack, attorney with Lashly & Baer, spoke on School Violence Issues as the 2012 MSBA Conference. He spent twenty-six years with the St. Louis County Police Department before attending law school. Prior to the MSBA Conference, he had the opportunity to confer with the police commanders of the Safe Schools Partnership (the “Partnership”), a collaborative effort partnering law enforcement agencies with school districts. Together the Partnership has made progress in strengthening the security and safety of the local school environment. Information supplied by the police commanders provided the opportunity for Larry to present the latest defensive tactics used in “Active Shooter” situations, including “Shelter in Place” and “ALICE.” During the presentation they also discussed the critical importance of training in this area, ideally with the assistance and cooperation of your respective law enforcement agency.

    Click here to review the slides on this issue from his PowerPoint MSBA Presentation. Additional information can also be found on the Safe Schools Partnership website.

  • No Coverage for Penalties Under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

    Karen S. Little, L.L.C. brought a class action against HIAR Holdings for violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) alleging that HIAR violated the act by sending “junk faxes.”  Pursuant to the TCPA, HIAR was potentially liable for statutory damages of $500.00 per fax sent.  Ultimately, Little settled the claim for five million dollars. 

    Columbia Casualty Company refused to defend or indemnify HIAR and filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a judgment holding that it had no obligation to do so.  The trial court, however, found against Columbia and it appealed. 

    On appeal, the Missouri Eastern District Court of Appeals found that there was no coverage.  First, statutory damages under the TCPA are penal in nature and, as penalties, do not constitute “damages” covered by an insurance policy.  The Columbia Casualty policy obligated it to “pay those sums that the insured becomes legally obligated to pay as damages because of [property damage or advertising injury] to which this insurance applies.”  Because the statutory damages under the TCPA were penal in nature they were not “damages” as defined under Missouri law and, therefore, there was no obligation to defend or indemnify HIAR for the claim.

    HIAR argued, however, that it had reached a settlement for somewhere less than the total liability and, therefore, the five million dollars constituted something other than a penalty (the total potential exposure was 6.25 million dollars).  However, even if that was so, the Eastern District Court noted that the exclusion providing that “this insurance does not apply to [property damage or advertising injury] for which the insured has assumed liability in a contract or agreement” and would exclude coverage.  Because HIAR assumed the liability through settlement, this exclusion applied and there was no coverage.

    The case is pertinent to any defendants exposed to statutory penalties imposed under state or federal law.  Depending upon the facts of the case and the statutory language, these statutory awards may well fall outside the definition of damages under Missouri law and, therefore, not fall within the coverage of an insurance policy.

    Columbia Casualty Company v. Little, et al.

  • Nonpermissive Use Exclusion Okay If Included In Definition of Insured, But Not If It Is A Separate Exclusion

    In American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin v. Stinson, the Eastern District Court of Appeals addressed the exclusion from coverage of non-permissive users of a motor vehicle.  In this wrongful death case, Son took the car from Father’s auto dealership without Father’s permission.  Son subsequently crashed into a vehicle driven by Ricky Young, who died as a result of the collision.  American Standard insured the vehicle involved in the crash.  The policy at issue defined an insured person as “you or a relative,” but not “any person using a vehicle without the permission of the person having lawful possession.”  American Standard filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment seeking a declaration of non-coverage on the basis that Son was not a permissive user of the vehicle.  The trial court granted American Standard’s summary of judgment and the wrongful death Plaintiff appealed

    Plaintiff appealed, arguing that the phrase, “any person” as used in the phrase “any person using a vehicle without the permission of the person having lawful possession” was ambiguous.  Plaintiff specifically relied upon the case of Miller’s Classified Insurance Company v. French, 295 SW3d. 524 (Mo. App. Eastern District 2009) in which the Eastern District did find that the phrase “any person,” as used in exclusionary provision of an insurance policy, was reasonably open to different constructions and, therefore, ambiguous.  However, the Eastern District distinguished the instant case by noting that the use of this phrase in the definition of insured was different than the use of the phrase in the exclusionary policy.  An insurance policy is ambiguous when it promises the insured something at one point, but then takes it away at another.  The Eastern District Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of American Standard, finding that the Son was not an insured person under the policy.  The Eastern District seemed to distinguish French because the use of “any person” in a separate exclusion was different than the use of “any person” in the definition of insured. 

    This appears to be a case where the courts have construed potential ambiguity in favor of an insurance company, rather than against it.  The Eastern District seems to be saying that there is a difference in the analysis of language depending on whether the language is in an insuring provision or an exclusion.  If the alleged ambiguity is contained within the initial grant of coverage, there seems to be less of a chance of finding an ambiguity than where the alleged ambiguous phrase is used in the exclusionary portions of the policy.

    American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin v. Stinson

  • Two Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Selected as Top 50 Attorneys in St. Louis

    Kenneth C. Brostron and Kevin L. Fritz were recently selected by their peers as the Top 50 Attorneys in St. Louis. Brostron and Fritz ranked top of the list in the Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers 2012 nomination, research and review process through peer recognition and professional achievement.   Download Press Release

  • Waiving Co-Pays and Deductibles

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer Newsletter entitled “Waiving Co-Pays and Deductibles.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Fall Newsletter.

  • Ten Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Selected as 2012 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Two Selected as Top St. Louis Lawyers, and Two Selected as 2012 Missouri Rising Stars

    Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected ten Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers for the 2012 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers edition. They are John Fox Arnold, Kenneth C. Brostron, Matthew J. Eddy, Kevin L. Fritz, Terrance J. Good, James C. Hetlage, Stephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. WolfKenneth C. Brostron and Kevin L. Fritz have also been selected as two of the Top 50 Lawyers in St. Louis. Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers are selected by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers.  In addition, 2012 Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Patrick E. Foppe and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

  • Christopher D. Castellanos Joins Lashly & Baer, P.C.

    Christopher D. Castellanos has recently joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as Of Counsel. Castellanos holds a J.D. and LL.M. from Washington University School of Law and primarily concentrates his practice in trusts and estates including a wide range of estate planning and probate matters, asset protection planning, and estate and trust administration. He is a member of the American Bar Association, The Missouri Bar, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Download Press Release

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Elected to USLAW NETWORK’s Board of Directors

    Monday, October 22, 2012 – USLAW NETWORK has announced that Kevin L. Fritz of Lashly & Baer, P.C. has been elected to the 2012-13 USLAW NETWORK’s Board of Directors. The announcement was made at the organization’s annual membership meeting held in Washington, DC. For the past two years, Kevin has served as the Chair of USLAW’s Transportation Practice Group.

    USLAW NETWORK is an international organization composed of over 108 independent, defense-based law firms with nearly 6,000 attorneys covering the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Within the U.S.-based firms, there are over 150 offices in 47 U.S. states. USLAW is comprised of AV-rated law firms who are part of the Network by invitation only and are experienced in commercial and business law, employment and labor law, litigation and other business-related areas of law. All firms have substantial trial experience. USLAW member firms provide legal representation to major corporations, captive insurance companies, and large and small businesses across the United States.  Fritz holds a J.D. degree from University of Missouri School of Law.    Download Press Release

  • Students 2012 Updates on School Violence, the Use of Social Media and More…

    On Saturday, September 29, 2012, Lisa O. Stump and Lawrence J. Wadsack presented to more than 100 board members and administrators at the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) Annual Conference in Osage Beach, Missouri.  Their presentation entitled, “Students 2012 Updates on School Violence, the Use of Social Media and More…” addressed legal issues associated with school violence issues, off-campus student conduct, bullying, and an update on student related laws and policies.

    To view the presentation, click here.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Accepts NorthShore Foundation’s Award on Behalf of His Client

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, spoke at the NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Foundation’s 1891 Society Luncheon on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, in Evanston, Illinois. NorthShore Foundation’s was recognizing the generosity of long-time Lashly & Baer client, Mr. Roy F. Kehl, who died in February of 2011.  During his lifetime, Mr. Kehl endowed the Gasteroentology Laboratory at NorthShore’s Evanston Hospital.  Mr. Kehl named NorthShore’s Foundation as the primary beneficiary of his Trust, supported academic medical education, research and indigent patient care. NorthShore named Mr. Kehl a Distinguished Benefactor in recognition of total gifts in excess of $4,000,000, and the award was presented to Mr. Vogelsmeier, as Mr. Kehl’s attorney and advisor.

    Lashly & Baer represented Mr. Kehl for over 50 years, and Mr. Vogelsmeier advised Mr. Kehl on the implementation of his charitable planned giving.  Mr. Kehl was a nationally known organist and church music scholar, and was generally regarded as the world’s foremost historian on Steinway pianos.

  • Buy, Sell, Hold: In Today’s Long Term Care Market

    Lashly & Baer member, Nelson H. Howe, II, along with the Senior Living Forum Affiliated Partners, discussed the long and short term market value for Senior Living Communities including information on HUD financing. The discussion was held on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at Missouri Athletic Club West. To learn about upcoming Senior Living Community presentations, contact Tiffany Walker at tiffanyw@heffins.com.

  • Anti-Fraud Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Should Not Be Overlooked

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer Newsletter entitled “Anti-Fraud Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Should Not Be Overlooked.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Summer Newsletter.

  • EMPLOYERS BEWARE— EEOC targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals discrimination and pregnancy accommodations.

     

    In its Strategic Enforcement Plan, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEOC) has elevated to the status of “national priorities” issues concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA); application of Title VII antidiscrimination provisions to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals (LGBT), and workplace accommodations for pregnancy.  The new initiatives further illustrate the Obama Administration’s unprecedented interpretation of federal employment laws, in that, LGBT are not a protected class under Title VII, as written; and accommodations are not required under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

  • Attorneys’ Fees Counted as Damages For Purposes of Punitive Damages Cap

    The Missouri Supreme Court again analyzed portions of the State of Missouri’s 2005 Tort Reform Bill in a recent employment discrimination decision.  In that decision, the Missouri Supreme Court found that attorneys’ fees should be included in the determination of the “net amount of judgment” that is used to calculate the maximum amount of punitive damages pursuant to Section 510.265, RSMo. 

    Section 510.265 limits the amount of punitive damages in most civil cases to the greater of $500,000 or 5 times the net amount of the judgment awarded to the plaintiff against the defendant.  The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that in determining the net amount of the judgment against the defendant, attorneys’ fees should be included.  In other words, actual damages plus any awarded attorneys fees are added together and any appropriate reductions then applied.  This amount is then multiplied by 5 in order to determine the total amount of punitive damages awardable. 

    While punitive damages may not play a significant role in the majority of cases, including attorneys’ fees in the net amount of judgment certainly has the potential to significantly raise the floor on the amount of punitive damages awardable in such cases. 

     Hervey v. Missouri Department of Corrections

  • The Temporary Worker Exception to the Employee Exclusion: In Missouri Referring An Employee Means Furnishing an Employee

    In May 2006, Len Mendenhall interviewed for a job with the Family Center of Farmington, Inc. (“Family Center”).  The Family Center did not hire Mr. Mendenhall, but the Family Center employee who interviewed Mr. Mendenhall informed Jay Walker, the owner of the Family Center, that Mr. Mendenhall would be a good candidate for a job.  Based upon on this recommendation, Mr. Walker hired Mr. Mendenhall to work for him personally at the cattle farm Mr. Walker co-owned with his wife.  Mr. Mendenhall worked at the farm on an as-needed basis and, although he was always paid by the farm, Mr. Walker occasionally asked Mr. Mendenhall to perform tasks for the Family Center.  Mr. Walker also permitted Mr. Mendenhall to use a truck and trailer owned by the Family Center.  This truck and trailer was covered under a Business Automobile Liability Policy (“The Hartford Policy”) provided by Property and Casualty Insurance Company of Hartford and issued to the Family Center.  On March 8, 2007, Mr. Mendenhall was using the Family Center’s truck to haul rock at the farm when the vehicle overturned and he was killed. 

    Mrs. Mendenhall filed a wrongful death suit against the Family Center and the Walkers.  Mrs. Mendenhall dismissed her claim against Mrs. Walker and obtained an $840,000 judgment against Mr. Walker and a $50,000 judgment against the Family Center.  Prior to the judgment, Mr. Walker and Mrs. Mendenhall entered into an agreement pursuant to Section 537.065, RSMo., which provided that any judgment against Mr. Walker would be collected from the proceeds of the Hartford Policy.  Hartford denied any obligation to indemnify Mr. Walker for the claims resulting from Mr. Mendenhall’s death.

    Mrs. Mendenhall subsequently filed an action for equitable garnishment in an attempt to satisfy the $840,000 judgment under the Harford Policy.  The Hartford Policy contained an exclusion from liability coverage for employees of the insured.  The definition of employee specifically included a leased worker, but did not include a temporary worker.  Of importance to the decision is that a “temporary worker” was defined as “a person who is furnished to you to substitute for a permanent ‘employee’ on leave or to meet seasonal or short-term workload conditions.”  The trial court entered summary judgment for Hartford and Mrs. Mendenhall appealed.

    In reversing the decision of the trial court, the Missouri Supreme Court found that the Family Center furnished Mr. Mendenhall to the Walkers for employment.  Therefore, Mr. Mendenhall qualified as a temporary worker and was not considered an “employee” for purposes of the exclusion from liability coverage for employees of the insured.  The Court noted that, in order to furnish an employee, it was not necessary for the Family Center to have an employment or agency relationship with Mr. Mendenhall.  The Court focused on the fact that Mr. Walker did not interview Mr. Mendenhall and relied solely on the Family Center’s referral in making his decision to hire Mr. Mendenhall.  “The Family Center’s referral supplied and provided Mr. Walker with the information he used to hire Mr. Mendenhall on an as-needed basis.  Without the information furnished by the Family Center, a business owned solely by Mr. Walker, Mr. Walker would not have hired Mr. Mendenhall.  It was through the Family Center’s referral that Mr. Mendenhall was ‘furnished to’ Walker as a temporary worker.” 

    As the dissent in this matter noted, this decision has potentially wide-ranging consequences.  First, there is the issue of the Court’s equating the term “refer” with the term “furnish.”  Interpreted broadly, the decision could mean that any time an employee is referred to his or her employer, that employee may qualify as a temporary worker and fall outside of the employee exclusion in a liability policy.  The second issue that arises is whether or not this will inhibit an employee’s ability to obtain a referral from a current or former employer.  Current and former employers may be hesitant to refer employees for fear that they will be deemed to have furnished an employee to another. 

    Finally, under the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Act, “temporary workers” are not covered by their employers’ workers’ compensation insurance.  The finding that employees in situations such as Mr. Mendenhall’s are considered temporary workers for purposes of a liability policy may allow courts to find that they are also temporary workers for purposes of the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Act.  This would mean that they would fall outside the Act and not be eligible for worker’s compensation remedies.  If they are not covered by the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Act, employers may be exposed to tort claims from their “temporary workers.”

    Mendenhall v. Property and Casualty Insurance of Hartford

  • Missouri Supreme Court Strikes Down Cap on Non-Economic Damages in Medical Malpractice Cases

    On July 31, 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Center.  In that case, Deborah Watts filed a medical malpractice action alleging that her son was born with disabling brain injuries because of Cox Medical Center and its associated physician’s medical malpractice.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of Watts and awarded $1.45 million in non-economic damages and $3.371 million in future medical damages.  The Court entered a judgment reducing Watts’ non-economic damages to $350,000 as required by Section 538.210, RSMo.  The judgment also established a periodic payment schedule pursuant to Section 538.220, RSMo.  This periodic payment schedule required immediate payment of half of all net and future medical damages with the other half paid in equal, annual installments over the next 50 years at an interest rate of .26%. 

    All parties appealed.  Watts asserted the cap on non-economic damages provided by Section 538.210, RSMo violated the right to trial by jury and several other provisions of the Missouri Constitution.  She also asserted that the Section 538.220 periodic payment schedule established by the trial court was arbitrary and unreasonable in that it did not assure full compensation due to the low interest rate and the 50 year payment schedule.  Cox cross-appealed asserting that the trial court erred in its immediate award of future medical damages.  Cox asserted that Section 538.220 prohibited a lump sum payment of a portion of future medical damages and, instead, requires that all future medical damages be paid pursuant to a periodic payment schedule regardless of when the need for medical damage payments will arise. 

    The Missouri Supreme Court ruled in Watts’ favor and struck down the cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases as well as in Watts’ favor on the issue of the arbitrariness and unreasonableness of the schedule of periodic payments for future medical damages.  In striking down the Section 538.210 cap on non-economic damages, the Missouri Supreme Court relied on Article One, Section 22(a) of the Missouri State Constitution.  That Section provides, in relevant part, “The right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed shall remained in violate….”  Thus, Article One, Section 22(a) of the Missouri Constitution required the Court to analyze two propositions to determine if the non-economic damage cap violated the state constitutional right to a trial by jury.  The first portion of that analysis is whether Watts’ medical negligence action and claim for non-economic damages was included within the “right of trial by jury as heretofore enjoyed.”  The Missouri Supreme Court found that medical malpractice actions were recognized at common law prior to the adoption of the Missouri State Constitution in 1820 and, therefore, fell into the category of civil cases which enjoyed a right to jury trial prior to the adoption of the Missouri Constitution.  The Supreme Court then analyzed whether the damage caps allowed the right to jury trial to remain inviolate.  The Court specifically found that a jury’s primary function is fact finding, which includes a determination of plaintiff’s damages.  Therefore, like other types of damages, the amount of non-economic damages is a fact that must be determined by the jury and is subject to the protections of the Missouri Constitution’s right to trial by jury.  The Court further stated that an injured party’s right to a trial by jury does not remain inviolate “when an injured party is deprived of the jury’s constitutionally assigned role of determining damages according to the particular facts of the case.”  Thus, the Missouri Supreme Court held that the statute providing for a cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases necessarily and unavoidable violated the right to trial by jury.  In its ruling, the Missouri Supreme Court overruled the prior Missouri Supreme Court decision of Adams by and Through Adams v. Children’s Mercy Hospital, 832 S.W.2d 898 (Mo banc 1992), which had upheld a prior statutory cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. 

    With regard to both parties appeal of the periodic payment schedule set forth by the trial court pursuant to Section 538.220, RSMo, the Missouri Supreme Court denied Cox’ appeal and held that the statute does not require all future medical payments be paid according to the payment schedule.  In other words, the trial court had the discretion to award an initial lump sum payment and schedule periodic payments for the remainder of any future medical damages.  With regard to Watts’ appeal, the Missouri Supreme Court found that the trial court’s use of a .26% interest rate virtually guaranteed that inflation in healthcare costs would result in the child having insufficient funds to pay his future medical costs.  Thus, the periodic payment schedule provided none of the financial security intended by the statute.  Because the jury rendered a verdict of a present value amount of plaintiff’s future damages, the trial court’s use of an inconsistent future damages interest rate guaranteed the jury’s damages award would not actually cover the future medical costs and, therefore, took from the plaintiff the full value of the jury’s award.  Therefore, the Missouri Supreme Court reversed the case and remanded it to the trial court to enter a new periodic payment schedule consistent with the goal of reducing medical malpractice costs and also ensuring that the plaintiff would receive the benefit of the jury’s award for future medical care. 

    The impact of the Watts decision is likely to be felt for a long period of time.  The Missouri Supreme Court not only struck down the latest incarnation of the Missouri cap on non-economic damages, but, essentially, stated that any damages awarded on claims which existed at common law prior to the adoption of the Missouri Constitution cannot be capped by the legislature.  Therefore, the result of the Watts decision is not that the state of the law in Missouri reverts to prior statutory caps, but, instead, is that no cap exists for non-economic damages for medical malpractice claims. 

    Watts v. Lester E. Cox Medical Center

  • EMPLOYERS BEWARE: The Federal Government Wants to “Friend” Your Employees

    The federal government is looking for ways to communicate with your employees. Why, to gain access to disgruntled employees to start regulatory investigations and audits?

    Many federal agency investigations and audits begin with a single disgruntled worker (or union) filing a complaint to the government, often after being terminated. Without the inside mole, i.e., the informant, it is difficult for a government agency to uncover employment law violations. To this end, federal agencies are expanding their outreach to employees, placing businesses at risk for more government investigations and audits.

    The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) just published an “Employee Guide” on the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition to explaining the requirements of the law, it instructs employees on how to file a complaint with the agency. The DOL hosted a webinar explaining the Guide and encouraged participants to publicize the Guide through social media outlets. Likewise, The National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is also adapting its methods to get its message to employees. Despite numerous legal challenges, the NLRB created an interactive webpage describing workers’ rights to engage in “protected concerted activity.”

    The NLRB and DOL both have Facebook pages with thousands of “likes.” The Commissioner of the EEOC, has a Twitter account with more than 1,600 followers; the NLRB has more than 3,700. The DOL has more than 43,400 followers. These numbers prove the agencies are succeeding in getting the attention of U.S. workers.

    Employers should not underestimate the savvy of the government in reaching their employees all in covert effort to initiate audits and investigations; and the end game, of course, is more financial penalties paid to Uncle Sam. Now is the time to look at your policies and practices, before your employees send the government in to do it for you!

  • UIM Insurer Allowed to Intervene After Initial Denial of Coverage

    Consumers Insurance Company provided underinsured motorist (“UIM”) coverage to Bradford Charles.  Charles was subsequently injured in a motor vehicle accident with Christina Ranum.  Charles’ attorney subsequently made a UIM claim on the Consumers UIM policy.  Initially, Consumers denied UIM coverage, but subsequently determined that there may be UIM coverage under its policy.

    After Consumers initial denial of coverage, but before its determination that there may be coverage, Charles filed suit against Ranum and entered into a partial settlement whereby Charles agreed to limit his recovery to Ranum’s policy limits without conceding that his damages were limited to that amount.  Immediately after the settlement between Charles and Ranum occurred, Consumers moved to intervene in the action for the purposes of contesting Ranum’s liability and/or Charles’ damages.  Charles did not object to the motion and the trial court allowed Consumers to intervene.  Charles subsequently filed a Motion for Summary Judgment contending that consumers should not be allowed to intervene because it initially denied coverage and, therefore, forfeited any right it had to defend Charles’ allegations against Ranum.  The trial court eventually granted that Motion for Summary Judgment, finding that Consumers had initially denied coverage, but then changed its position.  This, according to the trial court, resulted in Consumers forfeiting its right to intervene.  The trial count then conducted a hearing at which Ranum did not appear to contest Charles’ case and entered a judgment in favor of Charles in the amount of $350,000.  Ranum had only $50,000 in liability coverage.

    The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District overturned the trial court’s judgment and found that Consumers should have been allowed to intervene.  In doing so, it distinguished between first party and third party claims.  The trial court acknowledged that an insurer may forfeit all of it rights under the contract should it deny coverage on a third party claim.  However, an insurer’s right to intervene in a cause of action when there is litigation which may affect a potential first party claim such as UIM coverage, the insurer’s right to intervene arises out of the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure rather than the insurance contract.  Therefore, even after an initial denial of coverage, Consumers claim that coverage may apply was sufficient to establish that Consumers had an interest in the litigation to justify its intervention.

    This case is important for a couple of reasons.  First, in a potential first party claim situation, an initial denial of coverage will not necessarily prevent an insurer from intervening in underlying litigation against a third party.  Thus, claims representatives should keep in mind that an initial denial of coverage does not necessarily foreclose intervention.  Second, this case also makes clear that an insurer does not have to admit coverage in order to intervene.  The insurer only has to acknowledge that coverage may apply and that the disposition of the underlying litigation may, as a practical matter, impair or impede the insurer’s ability to protect its interests.

    Charles v. Consumers Insurance

  • Attorney Mark Levison Joins Lashly & Baer

    Well-known attorney brings civic leadership and litigation experience to firm – Long-time St. Louis attorney Mark H. Levison recently joined the law firm Lashly & Baer, P.C. Levison, the senior member of the Missouri Bar Board of Governors – currently running for re-election – is known for his significant involvement in civic and legal organizations including the Missouri Bar, the St. Louis Development Corporation, the Urban League of St. Louis, and the City’s Land Reutilization Authority. His experience includes commercial and general litigation, and intellectual property. As a trial lawyer, Levison has helped set legal precedent in several distinct areas.

    Levison also practices in the area of government relations, with a concentration in economic development incentives, real estate and zoning. He has written speeches for local, state-wide and national politicians. Often working behind the scenes he led the successful effort to win the RFPs to bring the two newest casinos to St. Louis City and County. According to James H. Buford, President/CEO of the Urban League of St. Louis, “If you need to get a message across, or you need to get something done in our community, you go to Mark for help.”

    “Mark is a great fit at Lashly & Baer because he has that combination of civic-mindedness, skill in litigation, and experience handling significant projects that has been a hallmark of our firm since we were founded 100 years ago,” said Kenneth C. Brostron, President and Managing Partner of Lashly & Baer. “In fact, Mark’s resume has some similarities to that of our founder, Jacob Lashly. Both served as presidents of various bar associations and on a number of civic boards. And, like Mr. Lashly, Mark is an excellent litigator as well as a thoughtful advocate for the integrity of the law profession.”

    For more than 25 years, Levison has written a nationally syndicated column for and about attorneys and the practice of law, called “Under analysis.” His insightful, often humorous musings on the legal world are published through The Levison Group, a nationwide syndication. Levison is also a frequent speaker on continuing education topics ranging from ethics to real estate to professionalism.

    He is a recognized leader of the organized bar, being one of only two lawyers in the history of the Missouri Bar to serve as president of both the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis and the Trial Lawyers Association of St. Louis and to serve as a member of The Missouri Board of Governors. In his work with the Missouri Bar, he led the Special Committee in revamping the rules that govern how Missouri’s lawyers can advertise their services.

    Levison was also a member of the Missouri Legislature’s subcommittee on the privatization of government services. Early in his career, he served on the staffs of the United States Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C.

    Levison earned his J.D. from Washington University School of Law. He is active in the non-profit St. Louis Internship Program, which Mark helped establish in 1992. He resides in the City of St. Louis with his wife, and has three daughters and two step-sons.

    Click here to download press release.

  • EMPLOYERS BEWARE: Federal Government Eroding State-Law Employment At-Will Doctrine

    The NLRB General Counsel has attacked employers’ use of at-will employment acknowledgments.  The federal government has taken the position that the mere signing of an at-will acknowledgement form is essentially a waiver in which an employee agrees that his/her at-will status cannot change, thereby relinquishing his/her right to advocate concertedly, whether represented by a union or not.  Accordingly to the federal government, such standard at-will acknowledgements premises employment on an employee’s agreement not to enter into any contract, to make any efforts, or to engage in conduct that could result in union representation and in a collective-bargaining agreement, which would amend, modify, or alter the at-will relationship; and, therefore, clearly chill employees who were interested in exercising their Section 7 rights.  

    Employers should consult with their labor counsel to review and revise their current at-will acknowledgments to address this recent and unprecedented attack on at-will employment.

  • Illinois Appellate Court Allows Evidence of Plaintiff’s Lack of Health Insurance

    Typically, evidence of the existence of health insurance is inadmissible at trial. Nevertheless, the Illinois Fifth District Appellate Court recently concluded that such evidence may be admitted in certain circumstances.

    Although a jury in her trial entered a $30,286.46 verdict in her favor, plaintiff Kathryn L. Vanoosting appealed, arguing that she was deprived a fair trial when the trial court refused her testimony that a lack of medical insurance prevented her from seeking medical attention in the years prior to the trial.

    She also claimed that the jury’s $0 award for loss of a normal life was the result of an improper argument made by defense counsel, who referred to her damages request for both loss of a normal life and pain and suffering as “double dipping.”

    The appeals court unanimously concluded that plaintiff’s lack of health insurance was relevant because plaintiff, “did not seek further treatment due to her lack of insurance is of consequence to her claim for future medical expenses and to the rebuttal of defense theory that she no longer has pain and suffering or a need for treatment due to her lack of treatment in the last three years.” The court was mindful of the potential impact that the plaintiff’s financial position may have on the sympathies of the jury, but concluded that the trial court, upon request, could have restricted the evidence to its proper purpose and scope and instructed the jury accordingly.

     

    Vanoosting v. Sellars, 2012 IL App (5th) 110365, 2012 WL 2161580 (Ill. App. 5th Dist., June 14, 2012).

  • Facebook Post Results in Removal of Juror

    Mr. and Mrs. Khoury filed a products liability suit against ConAgra for personal injuries Mrs. Khoury suffered. The day prior to voir dire, the trial court and counsel agreed that the attorneys for the parties would investigate the jury panel members’ litigation history on case.net (Missouri’s online court information system) and determine the following morning whether any of the 80 panel members may have failed to answer questions accurately. This was done and the individual jury panel members were questioned about information found on case.net. The parties subsequently exercised their peremptory strikes and strikes for cause and a jury of 12 plus 4 alternates was empaneled.

    Prior to opening statements, counsel for ConAgra informed the court that he had found that one of the selected jurors was “a prolific poster for anti-corporation, organic foods” on Facebook. ConAgra moved for a mistrial or, in the alternative, to strike the juror because of the alleged misconduct and claimed that the juror intentionally failed to disclose information that affected his ability to be a fair and impartial juror. The trial court and counsel for the parties then questioned the juror after which, counsel for ConAgra renewed its motion based upon the juror’s intentional nondisclosure. The trial court denied the motion for mistrial, but sustained the motion to strike. The juror was excused and an alternate replaced him. The jury eventually found in favor of Defendant Con-Agra and Plaintiffs appealed for a number of reasons, including a claim of error in striking the juror after the jury had been empaneled.

     The Western District Court of Appeals found that the striking of the juror for possible bias was within the discretion of the trial court and not a reversible error on appeal. The Western District Court took this opportunity to again remind counsel that any research into a juror’s bias should be brought to the trial court’s attention at the earliest possible moment and should not wait until the case has been submitted to the jury. This case serves as another warning from the courts that attorneys representing parties should make every effort to use all available resources to investigate jurors’ background prior to submitting the case to the jury in order to avoid waiving any claim of bias or prejudice on the part of jurors.

     

    Elaine Khoury and Alex Khoury v. ConAgra Foods, Inc.

  • William E. Buckley Joins Lashly & Baer, P.C.

    Friday, June 1, 2012 (St. Louis, Missouri) – William E. Buckley has recently joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. Buckley holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and focuses his practice in business services, construction, real estate and taxation law. Buckley was formerly with Gallop, Johnson & Neuman, L.C. He is a member of the American Bar Association, The Missouri Bar, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Click here to view the press release.

  • EMPLOYERS BEWARE: More Government Scrutiny of Social Media Policies But With a Little Help on the Way.

    On May 30, 2012, Acting General Counsel to the NLRB, issued a report on social media. The report addresses seven recent cases. In 6 of the 7, it was determined that the employer’s social-media policy was, at least in part, in violation of the NLRA. But in one case, it was determined that the social-media policy complied with the NLRA. Employers who have worried about avoiding the scrutiny of the NLRB over social-media policies no longer need to worry. The NLRB provided a safe-harbor sample policy in its entirety. While substantially weaker than most employers’ policies the policy does nevertheless provide some useful guidelines to follow.

  • Brightening Up A Day

    Margaret M. Mooney is busy planting flowers at the YWCA Metro St. Louis during a beautification project on May 19, 2012.  The landscaping of the YWCA front entry was redesigned in an effort to brighten the day for those working and living at the facility, including women transitioning from homelessness.   The firm is working towards completing 100 acts of kindness during 2012 to celebrate the firm’s centennial.

  • James E. McDaniel Receives BAMSL President’s Award

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012 – James E. McDaniel was honored with the President’s Outstanding Service Award by The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis (BAMSL). Mr. McDaniel received the award at their Annual 2012 Law Day.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Recognized for Pro Bono Services at Special Olympics Missouri Spring Games

    Melissa A. Vighi and Lawrence J. Wadsack were recognized during the Opening Ceremonies of the 37th Annual St. Louis Metro Area Spring Games held on April 28, 2012 for providing pro bono legal services to Special Olympics Missouri.

  • EEOC Rules That Gender-Identity Discrimination Is Covered by Title VII

    According to an opinion issued on April 20, 2012, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) an employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity, i.e., transgender, is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    The EEOC decision will apply to all EEOC enforcement and litigation activities at the commission and in its 53 field offices throughout the country.  Numerous cases are pending with federal courts on whether gender-identity discrimination falls within the protections of Title VII.

  • NLRB “Poster Rule” Put On Hold – Again

    The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a rule requiring most private sector employers to display a poster giving employees notice of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The controversial rule’s effective date was to be April 30, 2012. Its status has been uncertain as the legality of the rule was challenged in federal court proceedings. Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit enjoined enforcement of the NLRB’s “poster rule.” The court’s action came only a few days after a federal court in South Carolina struck down the rule. A federal district court in the District of Columbia had held earlier that the NLRB had the authority to issue the rule but had struck down key enforcement provisions. The rule was scheduled to take effect April 30.

  • DOL Issues: New FMLA Forms

    The Department of Labor finally revised six important Medical Certification Forms used by most employers. The old forms expired on December 31, 2011, leaving a very confusing situation for employers who wondered if it was still acceptable to use an expired form for its FMLA administration. The new forms can be found on the DOL’s website and are: Notice of Eligibility and Rights and Responsibilities, Designation Notice, Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition, Certification of Health Care Provider for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition, Certification of Qualifying Exigency for Military Family Leave, and Certification for Serious Injury or Illness of Covered Servicemember for Military Family Leave. The expiration date on the new forms is February 28, 2015.

  • No Title? No Problem?

    A recent decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri is a reminder that title to personal property is not required to prove an insurable interest in that property.  It serves as an example of the court’s general desire to find insurance coverage when possible and the perils of an insurer relying on one issue to the exclusion of others in determining coverage. 

    Pamela Coke and Ward Ferrell purchased an RV from a seller in Sacramento, California.  The RV was titled in the name of, and therefore owned by, Toy Hon USA, a company owned by Ferrell. Coke and Ferrell then used the RV to travel to various states. They spent thousands of dollars in repair costs on the recreational vehicle, built a building in which to store it, and lived in it while building a house.

    In November 2008, Coke was staying in an RV park in Mesa, Arizona when she decided to drive the RV into a nearby mountain range to spend the night.  While driving, Coke became concerned about the RV’s brakes and pulled to the shoulder of the highway to check out a hissing noise coming from the back of the RV.  While Coke was walking next to the RV, it began to roll and eventually tumbled into a ravine.

    At the time of the accident, Coke and Ferrell had an insurance policy with American Family Mutual Insurance Company which included both comprehensive and collision coverage for the RV. Coke and Ferrell were the named insureds on the policy. They made a claim with American Family for the loss of the RV. 

    American Family denied the claim and filed an action against Coke and Ferrell seeking a declaration of no coverage. Coke and Ferrell responded with counterclaims that include a breach of contract and vexatious refusal to pay. The trial court ultimately entered a directed verdict in favor of American Family due to the lack of title in Coke and Ferrell’s name. 

    The Eastern District Court of Appeals reversed this decision.  In support of its decision, the Court of Appeals noted that, generally, title is not a prerequisite to the enforcement of insurance contract.  Instead, in order to enforce the insurance contract, the insured must have an insurable interest in the property both at the time of the contract was made and the time the loss is sustained.  Such an insurable interest may be unrelated to any title, lien, or possession and may exist due to the possession, enjoyment, or profits of the property as well as other benefits growing out of or dependent upon the property.  The Eastern District further noted that Missouri strongly favors finding an insurable interest and the courts will make every effort to find one in order to sustain coverage. 

    The Court of Appeals went on to note that, in this case, the appellants paid for the RV, paid for repairs to the RV, purchased a warranty for the RV, and built a garage in which to store it.  In addition, there was ample evidence that Coke and Ferrell possessed the RV and utilized it for their personal enjoyment. This was substantial evidence that Coke and Ferrell had an insurable interest in the property.

    This case reiterates a series of Missouri decisions supporting the finding of an insurable interest, when possible.  It also reinforces the fact that Missouri Courts will not look to “legal title” alone as a prerequisite or a dispositive fact on the issue of an insurable interest.  Instead, the courts will look to whether the individuals claiming coverage possessed the property and/or received enjoyment, profits, or other benefits growing out of the property, when determining the existence of an insurable interest.

    http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=52439

  • Southern District Clarifies Foundation For Admission of Medical Bills

    The qualifications of the witness and that witness’s necessary testimony for the admission of medical bills into evidence is an issue frequently addressed by litigants and their attorneys in everything from collection matters to tort claims.  The Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion providing some guidance on the qualifications of a witness to lay the foundation for the admission of those medical bills as well as the type of testimony necessary to sustain the medical bills’ admission.

    Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, filed a collection action against the Reeves family seeking to collect unpaid medical bills relating to the birth of the Reeves’ child.  Only one witness testified at trial, the hospital’s business manager, Roberta Matlock.  Ms. Matlock offered the following testimony:

    • She was employed in the hospital’s business office for 28 years and handled credit, collections, and billing matters;
    • She was familiar with the Reeves’ account;
    • Mrs. Reeves and her child were patients at the hospital;
    • The hospital billed defendants the “ordinary and customary charges” for services and supplies furnished by the hospital;
    • The hospital charges were “fair and reasonable for [its] area” based on her experience working with reimbursements paid by Medicare, private insurance companies, and from studies prepared by independent consultants hired by the hospital to review how its charges align with charges and post by other Missouri hospitals; and
    • The hospital’s charges fall “in the middle end” of that range.

    After this testimony, the hospital offered into evidence the bills for the services and goods it provided to the Reeves.  The Reeves’ attorney made an objection that the witness was not qualified to testify to the reasonableness and necessity of the charges because the witness had not identified herself as a licensed medical professional and that the only evidence was that she works with Medicare and Medicaid and insurance companies and, for the most part, they pay the bills that the hospital sends them.  The court sustained the defendant’s objection and excluded the medical bills from evidence.

    On appeal, the Southern District Court of Appeals reversed the decision. The Southern District found Ms. Matlock qualified to testify about the rates and charges and she laid the necessary foundation for admitting the bills as business records.  The Southern District did note that questions concerning Ms. Matlock’s credibility would be relevant only to the weight the trial court might choose to give the exhibits once they were admitted into evidence.  The Southern District then ordered the trial court to reverse its judgment in favor of the defendants, receive the medical bills into evidence and give them whatever weight the trial court deems appropriate before rendering judgment. 

    This decision clarifies the fact that it is unnecessary to call a licensed medical professional to lay sufficient foundation for the admission of medical bills.  A member of a healthcare provider’s billing staff, assuming they have similar knowledge and qualifications as Ms. Matlock, can provide the necessary foundation for the admission of such exhibits thereby rendering depositions of actual treating healthcare providers unnecessary to obtain this evidence.

  • Managing Your Online Presence

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, discusses social media and the Internet in the April issue of St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine, “Managing Your Online Presence.”

  • Public Bond Issues in Missouri – Does Proposed Legislation Provide Safeguards or Limitations?

    Missouri municipalities should be aware that eight separate bills were recently introduced in the Missouri House regarding the issuance of bonds. The proposed legislation is a response to last summer’s failure by the firm Mamtek to make good on its plan to set up and operate an artificial sweetener factory in Moberly, Missouri. Mamtek missed payment on $39 million in bonds issued by Moberly, resulting in the city likely defaulting on the bonds, the project halting, and the factory not opening. The bond rating of Moberly was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s as a result.

     

    The bills were introduced in the Missouri House with sponsorship by both Republicans and Democrats. For reference, the bills are house bills numbered 1304, 1771, 1772, 1773, 1774, 1775, 1776 and 1859. While these bills apply to all political subdivisions or local governments, the primary focus appears to be municipalities, particularly smaller municipalities. Based on initial reaction to these bills, ongoing discussion, debate and perhaps proposed bill amendments, could center on whether the bills in fact constitute needed oversight of, or undue restrictions on, public entities with respect to their development projects.

     

    Two of the bills, which would add sections to Chapter 67 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, bill numbers 1304 and 1771, respectively would require political subdivisions to obtain voter approval for any new bond issuance, unless repayment of the bonds is to be solely from revenue generated by the project, and also would require advance notice, to be published, and a public hearing, to be held at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing body of the political subdivision. The notice must inform the public that the bond issuance may affect the political subdivision’s bond rating, and that bond default may result in adverse consequences, including reduction in credit rating or increase in cost of future borrowing.

     

    Another two of the bills in turn would add new sections to Chapter 108, Missouri Revised Statutes. Those, bill numbers 1776 and 1773, respectively would require the governing body of any local government issuing any appropriation bonds to provide insurance that repays such bonds in the event of default by the local government, and moreover, would require the underwriter and the rating agency for any bond issued by any municipal or local governing body to investigate the financial status and material business claims of any company or project for which a bond is issued and will benefit.

     

    The other pending bills would impose certain requirements on the Missouri Department of Economic Development when economic development assistance or state or local economic incentives are involved. For example, the Department has to share all information which it may have about a company seeking such assistance or incentives, with all local governments and economic development officials competing for that company’s business, and those local governments and development officials must share any negative information they have about the company with the Department. The Department has to develop a five-star system by which to advise local governments of the Department’s opinion on proposals for economic development incentives. Further, the Department must require applicants for economic development assistance to provide third-party verification of financial information when such information is submitted to the Department. If a company seeking development assistance has been licensed to conduct business in the state less than three years, the Department is to require the key officers of such company to pay fees for any basic criminal and personal financial background check.

     

    Given the publicity and political issues raised by the Mamtek matter, as well as the sponsorship by members of both parties, it appears that these bills at some point will move forward in the House. Assuming that the bills do move forward, political subdivisions and local governments should have a strong interest in tracking the process and being involved in the evaluation, discussion and debate.

  • Coupon Arrangement for Health Care Services Approved by OIG

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Spring Newsletter entitled “Coupon Arrangement for Health Care Services Approved by OIG.”   CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Spring Newsletter.

  • Illinois Supreme Court Fails to Resolve Issue of Secondhand Asbestos Exposure

    On March 22, 2012, the Illinois Supreme Court issued its decision in Simpkins v. CSX Transport. Inc.(Docket No. 110662). The Court had an opportunity to resolve a contentious issue that has split courts across the country, but declined to do so.

    The issue was whether a party owes a legal duty for secondhand asbestos exposure. CSX argued that employers do not owe any duty to a third-party, nonemployee, who comes into contact with its employee’s asbestos-tainted work clothing at locations away from the workplace.

    Unfortunately, the majority’s decision delivered by Justices Garman, Kilbride, Karmeier and Theis did not resolve this substantive question. Instead, the Illinois Supreme Court remanded the case to the Circuit Court in Madison County, Illinois, to allow the plaintiff to amend her complaint with additional allegations that CSXwould have been able to reasonably foresee the spouse’s injury from coming into contact with her husband’s clothing tainted with asbestos while working for CSX.

    The majority’s opinion reiterated that Illinois law recognizes that “every person owes a duty of ordinary care to all others to guard against injuries which naturally flow as a reasonably probable and foreseeable consequence of an act, and such a duty does not depend upon contract, privity of interest or the proximity of relationship, but extends to remote and unknown persons.”

    Justices Freeman and Burke dissented and argued that they would have held that no legal duty is owed for secondhand asbestos exposure as a matter of public policy. The practical effect of the majority’s decision is that in Illinois the courthouse door will remain wide open for an even greater number of plaintiffs to seek damages against defendants they never worked for and whose products they never directly contacted.

    The full opinion can be found at: http://www.state.il.us/court/opinions/SupremeCourt/2012/110662.pdf

  • Seven Lawyers Selected for Super Lawyers Business Edition 2012

    Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected seven Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers for the Super Lawyers Business Edition 2012.  They are John Fox Arnold (Business/Corporate), Kenneth C. Brostron (Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice), Stefan J. Glynias (Business Litigation), James C. Hetlage (Employment & Labor), Stephen G. Reuter (Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice), Michael J. Smith(Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice), and Wendy J. Wolf (Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice). In addition, Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected as the Top 50 St. Louis lawyers.

  • Damage To Your Work And The Duty To Defend – A Case Study

    A recent Missouri lawsuit tested a “damage to your work” exclusion in an insurance policy. This complex case illustrates the danger in an insurer refusing to defend a case where the claim includes damages that may be covered as well as damages that may not.

    Continental Equipment Company hired Cook’s Fabrication and Welding, Inc. to install two mast radial stackers (essentially conveyors to move rocks and gravel from one location to another) at quarries owned by LaFarge North America, Inc.  Greystone, Inc. manufactured the stackers.  After Cook’s completed the installation of the stackers, both collapsed at various times causing damage including impairing the quarries’ ability to continue doing business while the stackers were repaired.  LaFarge and Continental eventually filed a products liability suit against Greystone alleging damages including “lost business, lost business opportunities, lost profits, and expenses.” Greystone filed a counterclaim that included counts against Cook’s for indemnification and contribution alleging that Cook’s negligently installed the stackers. 

    At the time of the stackers’ collapse, Cook’s was insured under a commercial general liability (CGL) policy issued by Mid-Continent Casualty Company.  Mid-Continent initially agreed to defend Cook’s but shortly thereafter withdrew its defense contending that coverage for the incident was excluded by the CGL’s “damage to your work” exclusion.  This clause excluded coverage for any damages in Cook’s work (i.e. the stackers).  Additional litigation ensued and eventually the determination of coverage under the Mid-Continent policy came before the court.  The trial court initially found that the damage to your work exclusion applied and absolved Mid-Continent of any duty to defend or indemnify Cook’s. 

    On appeal, however, the Eastern District Court of Appeals found that the damage to your work exclusion did not apply to all damages claimed.  Because some of the damages claimed were lost profits and the loss of production capacity of the quarries at issue, the Court of Appeals found that the policy coverage did not exclude all damages claimed and, therefore, Mid-Continent had a duty to defend Cook’s in the underlying litigation.  The Eastern District Court of Appeals noted that the duty to defend arises when the facts evidence a claim that is potentially covered and, to be relieved of this duty, an insurer must demonstrate “that there is no possibility of coverage.”

  • Illinois Gives Green Light to Cameras in the Courtroom

    The Illinois Supreme Court’s recent announcement of a pilot program to allow cameras in trial courts has spurred discussions in legal and media circles about how this could impact the outcomes of trials. Some argue that the presence of news or even courtroom cameras could disrupt the case being tried since witnesses may be more hesitant to testify. Others say it gives the public a more accurate account of what goes on in the courtroom. Interestingly, each circuit’s chief judge will decide whether or not his or her courtroom will allow cameras.

    What are the pros and cons of having cameras in courtrooms?  As a trial lawyer for more than 40 years, I can see both sides.  Most of my trial experience is in Missouri courts, where cameras have been permitted for at least 20 years. In Illinois, the Supreme Court and Appellate Court have allowed cameras since 1983.

    The presence of news cameras will likely influence most people’s behavior in a courtroom, including testimony.  Some people will be intimidated by the whole process of being in court, regardless of whether cameras are present. That anxiety is natural, considering most ordinary citizens have little experience giving testimony in front of a judge and jury. Being on camera will probably make many of these folks even more nervous, and they may come across as uncertain or not credible.

    A smaller percentage of people relish the idea of being “on stage,” so to speak. Their behavior and testimony become exaggerated or inflated if they know the cameras are on, particularly news cameras.  This can backfire, though, if the judge or jury sees through the acting and decides the person is not believable.

    Another factor to weigh when thinking about cameras in courtrooms is whether the media will be able to provide more accurate coverage of a trial. Certainly having cameras pointed at witnesses or a defendant could lead to sensationalism in the media coverage, but at the same time, viewers get the opportunity to watch testimony and decide for themselves if they find it convincing.

    Finally, there’s the issue of the attorneys.  Some will preen for the camera and overdramatize their interrogations or opening and closing remarks. We saw this in the O.J. Simpson trial. Sensationalism was rampant in that case because of the celebrity factor, but for local cases in which news cameras are present, we tend not to see this high level of drama.

    Overall, there are many benefits to having access to courtroom video, and for news media being allowed to capture the proceedings in high-profile cases that are of interest to the public (but this is always at the judge’s discretion).  It’s important to note that in prosecutions for sexual abuse there will be no media coverage of the testimony of a victim unless the testifying victim consents. The policy also prohibits media coverage in any juvenile, divorce, adoption, child custody, evidence suppression and trade secret cases.

    Permanent cameras that are installed in many Missouri courtrooms can be helpful because they could allow original testimony to be reviewed in appeals courts, and the video provides a reliable record of the court proceedings should any behaviors or actions come under scrutiny later. Transparency is important, and can result in improvements to the legal system. At times, judges could also release portions of courtroom recordings to the media, which can be helpful as reporters summarize the proceedings.

    Another advantage of cameras is that the public can become more aware of how the judicial system actually works, versus what they see on television dramas and shows such as “Judge Judy.”  Negative perceptions can be corrected, and provide a more realistic picture of the courtroom.

    Those are my thoughts.  What do you think? Should judges allow news media in their courtroom? Why or why not?

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Discuss Balancing Work and Life in Missouri Lawyers Weekly

    Monday, March 5, 2012 – Michael J. Smith and James C. Hetlage discuss balancing work/life in Missouri Lawyers Weekly. The article sheds light on the work/life balance by comparing the West and East coast law firms with Midwest firms.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Obtains Certificate of Need

    On March 5, 2012, attorney Richard D. Watters obtained a certificate of need from the Missouri Health Care Facilities Review Committee on behalf of Bickford Senior Living. Bickford Senior Living received approval to convert its current independent senior living residence, located in Raytown, Missouri, to a 76-bed assisted living facility.

  • John Fox Arnold selected by St. Louis Business Journalas one of the Most Influential St. Louisans

    February 21, 2012 – Lashly & Baer attorney, John Fox Arnold has been selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as one of the Most Influential St. Louisans, Class of 2012. Click here to view the complete list.

  • Stuart J. Vogelsmeier Named 2012 FIVE STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager

    Thursday, February 15, 2012 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier of Lashly & Baer, P.C. was selected as a 2012 FIVE STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager by St. Louis Magazine, in connection with his representation of health care providers and business owners.

  • Patrick E. Foppe Discusses Transportation Regulations with Ladue News

    Friday, February 10, 2012 – Patrick E. Foppe discussed the proposed new government regulations limiting the number of hours that truck drivers can be on the road with Lisa Watson of Ladue News.  Click here to read her article.

  • Missouri Adjusts Fee Schedule For Medical Records

    February 1, 2012 – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has updated the fee schedule for medical records. Missouri state law requires DHSS to adjust the fee annually based on the inflation rate found in the Consumer Price Index. For paper copies, the new maximum fees for copying will be $ 22.01 plus $0.52 per page fee, and a $20.61 fee will apply to records maintained off-site. For electronic copies, the new maximum fees for copying will be $5.15 plus $0.52 per page, and the total fee is not exceed $25.77.

  • U.S. Department of Transportation Announces New Regulations Reducing the Maximum Allowable Hours Truck Drivers May Drive

    In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced new regulations reducing the maximum allowable hours truck drivers may drive. The “hours of service” regulations are designed to reduce driver fatigue and to make sure truck drivers can get the rest they need to operate safely when on the road. Since 1938, the federal government has regulated the amount of hours that a commercial truck driver may drive. The framework for the current “hours of service” regulations has been in effect since 2004 and the new regulations are to go into full effect by July 1, 2013.
     
    The new “hours of service” regulations reduce the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week by 12 hours. Under the current regulations, truck drivers can work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new “hours of service” regulations limit a driver’s workweek to 70 hours, a 15% reduction.

    In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window. The new regulations retain the current 11-hour daily driving limit.

    Further, the new regulations require truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most from 1-5 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the 34-hour restart provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their workweek by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The new regulations allow drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.

    Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the new regulations could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

    While the trucking industry generally supports the current “hours of service” regulations, it is expected to challenge the new regulations in court. The trucking industry will likely argue that the new regulations will increase transportation and shipping costs and destroy jobs. Also, since the current “hours of service” regulations have been in effect, truck related fatalities have decreased by 33% and truck related injuries are down 39%, as compared to all traffic fatalities, which are only down 21%. With positive results under the current “hours of service” regulations, the trucking industry will likely argue that the new regulations are unnecessary at this time. As such, there remains an open question whether the new regulations will survive a court challenge and actually take effect.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Re-Elected Chair of USLAW NETWORK’s Transportation Practice Group for Second Term

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012 ― USLAW NETWORK, Inc. re-elected Kevin L. Fritz Chair of USLAW’s Transportation Practice Group for a second consecutive term.  Fritz is the first person within USLAW to receive a second term.  USLAW NETWORK, Inc. is an international organization composed of over 100 independent, defense-based law firms with nearly 6,000 attorneys covering the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Africa.  Among the U.S. based firms, there are over 150 offices in 47 US states specializing in business transactions and litigation.

  • Provision of Complimentary Transportation Services To Patients: Good Business or Regulatory Nightmare

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Winter Newsletter entitled “Provision of Complimentary Transportation Services To Patients: Good Business or Regulatory Nightmare.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Winter Newsletter.

  • Underinsured Motorist Case Studies

    Two recent Missouri court cases involving uninsured motorists illustrate that courts are willing to analyze specific language of the insurance policies, and that they tend to favor the injured party seeking coverage.

    In the first example, Vernie Long was killed when the F-350 truck he was driving was negligently struck by a vehicle driven by Lucas Dray. The wrongful death beneficiaries sustained at least $450,000 in damages. At the time of the accident, Dray was insured for automobile liability in the amount of $50,000 per person and that sum was paid in settlement to Long’s wrongful death beneficiaries on behalf of Dray, who was then released from further liability.  Long and his surviving spouse had seven insurance policies issued to them by Shelter Insurance Companies, which were in effect at the time of the accident.  The wrongful death class sued Shelter for payment of underinsured motorist (UIM) benefits. The trial court found that the policies were ambiguously worded and allowed “stacking” (use of all of the UIM benefits). Shelter subsequently appealed.

    All the policies had “Other Insurance in the Company” clauses which provided that Shelter’s “total liability under all [its] policies will not exceed the highest limit of any one policy.” The court, however, found that the “Other Insurance” clauses in the Shelter policies created an ambiguity in all the policies. In essence, the “Other Insurance” clause appeared to allow stacking while the “Other Insurance in the Company” clause appeared to disallow stacking.  Because ambiguities must be resolved in favor of the insured, the Missouri Western District Court of Appeals found in favor of the plaintiffs and affirmed a judgment in the amount of $400,000 in damages.

    In another case, Kyle Stewart was seriously injured in a single car collision as a passenger in a vehicle driven by Zachary Tanner. Stewart was insured by Liberty Mutual through a policy with a $100,000 limit for underinsured motorists (UIM) coverage on four separate vehicles.  Tanner was insured by American Standard Insurance Company of Wisconsin through an automobile policy with a $100,000 limit. Stewart obtained a judgment against Tanner for $500,000.  American Standard paid Tanner’s $100,000 policy limit while Liberty Mutual denied Stewart’s claim for payment under the UIM coverage.

    Stewart subsequently sued Liberty Mutual, contending it breached its contract by failing to pay the UIM policy limit of $100,000 on each of the four covered vehicles for a total of $400,000.  Liberty Mutual denied any obligation to make additional payments based upon anti-stacking provisions in the policy.  The trial court eventually granted Liberty Mutual summary judgment on the claim that it owed Stewart an additional $300,000.

    The key to the decision lay in the “Other Insurance” clause language providing that the UIM coverage was excess over any other collectible insurance, which provided coverage on a primary basis.  Because UIM coverage is not primary coverage, stacking would not be allowed.

    Both cases illustrate that courts will give specific effect to the language contained in the insurance policies when analyzing underinsured motorist coverage. Because underinsured motorist coverage is not a coverage required by statute, courts seem to be more willing to specifically analyze the language of the various clauses effecting coverage.  Courts, however, will still follow the general rules of construction in interpreting insurance policies and tend to favor a finding of coverage.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Celebrates 100th Anniversary in 2012

    Saving a bridge, desegregating city schools, and revitalizing downtown are highlights of firm’s history       St. Louis, Missouri (January 4, 2012) – In 2012, the downtown St. Louis law firm Lashly & Baer, P.C. will mark 100 years of service to the St. Louis region. The firm, known for its involvement in civic activities and for handling a number of landmark legal matters, plans to continue its tradition of volunteerism and support of initiatives that benefit downtown St. Louis as well as the entire metropolitan area.

    “For our centennial, we wanted to find a way to reflect our commitment to St. Louis, so we will be renewing and increasing our efforts in community service activities. It’s important for us to know we are making an impact in the city where we live and work,” said Kenneth C. Brostron, President and Managing Partner of Lashly & Baer. “We’re proud of our long tradition of public service and are grateful for the opportunities we have had to make a difference in St. Louis.”

    Many of the firm’s attorneys have been active both professionally and personally in efforts to revitalize downtown St. Louis. In the late 1990s, John Fox Arnold, the firm’s Chairman, took on a leadership role to reorganize Downtown St. Louis, Inc. into a new partnership structure and to create Missouri’s first community improvement district. The Partnership for Downtown St. Louis now actively represents and advocates the interests of residents, business and property owners in all 360 blocks of downtown St. Louis and has helped develop a strong core for the region.

    Over the years, Lashly & Baer has provided counsel to clients engaged in some of the most significant projects in St. Louis including the MetroLink light rail transit system, the St. Louis Convention Center Headquarters Hotel, and the successful effort to transfer jurisdiction of the crumbling, historic McKinley Bridge to the Illinois Department of Transportation for rehabilitation. Arnold tirelessly led each of these projects, and his leadership on the bridge project led his fellow attorneys to dub him “the man who saved the McKinley Bridge,” according to Brostron.

    The firm is also well respected for its work on behalf of the Board of Education for the City of St. Louis in the desegregation case that began in 1972 and brought about equal education opportunities for city students and hundreds of millions of dollars for new and renovated schools in the city.

    Other noteworthy cases for the firm include a 1932 lawsuit involving the Moon Motor Car Company, a Brooklyn National League Baseball Club case in 1946, and the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority in 1954 that expanded downtown development.

    “We are very proud of the firm’s accomplishments over the past 100 years and look forward to the next 100,” said Brostron. “It is exciting for all of us to be a part of such a great milestone.”

    The firm was founded in downtown St. Louis in 1912 and led by Jacob M. Lashly. Lashly was considered one of Missouri’s most outstanding trial lawyers and served as President of the American Bar Association and The Missouri Bar. His brother, Arthur, and later his son, John H. Lashly, joined the firm. The firm’s other namesake, David Baer, Jr., joined in 1982.
    Today, Lashly & Baer has 43 lawyers who practice in diverse areas such as health care, government, banking, transportation, education and employment. The firm has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers as one of the “Best Law Firms in America,” and its leadership team of Brostron, Arnold, and Richard D. Watters has been named on the list of “Best Lawyers in America” for many years. In addition, Watters was named 2011 St. Louis Best Lawyers Health Care Lawyer of the Year.

    The firm is housed in a former bank at 714 Locust Street, built in 1917 and later converted into law offices when the firm purchased the building in 1978. The firm took great pains to retain the building’s original architectural features, including walnut paneling, the continued use of the teller windows and a magnificent bank vault that is now used as the law library. The thick metal doors and imposing locking mechanisms along with armored walls make this library, and the firm, one of a kind.

    “We like the idea of staying connected to St. Louis’ past, and to our firm’s history, but at the same time we always look forward,” Brostron said. “We’re planning for a future that allows us to continue to represent the needs of our region and clients in a positive way. We’re committed to staying downtown and supporting the city’s growth and success for many years to come.”

    Download Press Release

  • Can You Trademark the Rally Squirrel?

    Many St. Louis Cardinals’ fans believe the Rally Squirrel was a driving force behind the team’s recent World Series victory.  The squirrel made his debut while running onto the field during one of the Cardinals’ post-season games, making national news. This now famous rodent served as a humorous mascot throughout World Series play.

    Producers of Cardinals memorabilia immediately began to use images of the Rally Squirrel on a variety of merchandise, from t-shirts to hats to water bottles. But disagreements quickly arose when some groups tried to trademark it.  So who owns the Rally Squirrel name?

    Several entrepreneurs are determined to obtain the trademark.  This battle is not just among St. Louisans, but now has become nationwide as an entrepreneur in Florida has applied for the trademark.  Obtaining the trademark would provide the “owner” with benefits, such as recognition and financial compensation for past and future uses of the name from the time of the “owner’s” first use. 

    Investigating who first coined the term “Rally Squirrel” will be difficult as it was used by dozens of people in the media, vendors and, of course, thousands of fans. In order to obtain this trademark, a person must be able to prove they created the phrase. After an application has been sent in, other parties have a limited time to contest it. One rumored party that may contest applications for the trademark is Major League Baseball.

    Obtaining a trademark is a long process and could possibly take a year to complete, which has many people questioning if it’s really worth all the trouble.  A year from now, will anyone really care about the Rally Squirrel? The winner of the trademark may not even care, especially if there is no financial gain to be made. On the other hand, who wouldn’t want bragging rights for naming the little guy who helped spur the Cardinals to victory? Even an organization as powerful as the MLB would enjoy the recognition.

  • Physician Assistant Supervision and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse Forms

    The law has recently changed in Missouri regarding who can prescribe controlled substances. Mid-Level practitioners such as Advanced Practice Nurses and Physician Assistants can now prescribe certain controlled substances so long as certain criteria are met and certain steps are taken. We have revised our Physician Assistant Supervision form and our Advanced Practice Registered Nurse forms to take these recent changes into account. Our forms set out the criteria that must be met in Missouri before a Physician Assistant or Advance Practice Nurse can lawfully prescribe controlled substances. Please contact Carolyn M Kopsky or Richard D. Watters at (314) 621-2939 if you would like a copy of these forms for a nominal fee.

  • An Oral Insurance Contract?

    Most people, perhaps even most insurers, would contend that oral insurance contracts do not exist. The following case, however, demonstrates the courts are willing to find oral insurance contracts when there is sufficient evidence.

    Mark and Shelly Lagermann owned property in Wayne County, Missouri, that included a mobile home and an out building they referred to as “the garage.” In the fall of 2008, they began shopping their insurance coverage around, calling local agents, and getting quotes. Mrs. Lagermann spoke to Jeff Parker, an agent for Farm Bureau Town & Country Insurance Company of Missouri. Parker came to the Lagermanns’ property several times and, according to Mrs. Lagermann, told her that “basically this policy covers everything from wind and rain to civil unrest” and he referred to it as the “best policy.” Mrs. Lagermann then informed Parker that the Lagermanns had decided to purchase the policy proposed and Mr. Lagermann went to Parker’s office to complete an application. The application did not reference any particular exclusions or levels of coverage.

    During the effective dates of the policy issued by Farm Bureau, an ice storm occurred and the garage roof collapsed under the weight of the snow and ice. The Lagermanns filed a claim with Farm Bureau and Parker dispatched an insurance adjuster to survey the damage. Farm Bureau informed the Lagermanns that their policy did not provide coverage for losses due to the weight of ice and snow. Farm Bureau further explained that the Lagermanns had only purchased “level 1 protection” which did not insure perils arising from damage due to ice and snow. The Lagermanns sued.

    The trial court found the Lagermanns’ testimony to be more credible than that of Parker’s. In addition, the trial court found that Farm Bureau had never forwarded a copy of the insurance policy to the Lagermanns prior to the loss and that they were not informed of the existence of different levels of coverage until after they had filed their claim for damage to the garage. The trial court ruled in favor of the Lagermanns. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment finding that an oral contract of insurance can be created if the following five elements are present:

    1. Subject matter to be insured;
    2. the risk insured against;
    3. the amount of coverage; 
    4. the duration of the risks; and 
    5. the premium.

    The evidence established all of these elements, thereby creating an oral contract of insurance.

    This case offers a couple of lessons for insurers. First, agents with the authority to bind coverage can create an oral contract on behalf of an insurer. Thus, agents should be careful when making casual statements describing broad levels of coverage. Second, insurers should make it a priority to provide their insureds with a full and complete copy of their insurance policy immediately upon approval of the insured’s application and receipt of premium payment. While it is not necessarily clear that this would have avoided the result in this case, it certainly would have put the insureds on notice that there were certain exclusions in the policy which would avoid coverage for certain types of losses.

  • Playing With Fire: Insurer Disregards Its Investigation of Loss And Pays The Price

    This interesting case arose out of Farm Bureau Town & Country Insurance Company of Missouri’s refusal to pay a property claim after a fire loss.

    While out of town for work, Troy Myers received a phone call advising him that there had been a fire at his home. When he arrived home, he found it to be a total loss. He immediately reported the loss to his insurance agent. Claims representative Peter Hall contacted Myers and arrived at the site the following day. Farm Bureau also retained an expert to determine the cause and origin of the fire. This expert concluded that the fire was not suspicious and that it had originated from a junction box that was struck by lightning.

    Myers was in a relationship with Molly Brawley, and they had a daughter. At the time of the fire, Brawley had moved out and was not living with Myers.

    After the fire, Myers and Brawley moved back in together in a camper trailer for a few weeks. Brawley, however, left again and took their daughter with her. This time, she told Myers that he would never see the daughter again. Myers told Brawley that, once he received the fire insurance proceeds, he would hire an attorney and obtain custody of the daughter. Subsequently, Brawley called the State Fire Marshal’s office and the arson hotline to report that Myers started the fire.

    Hall asked Myers to provide a sworn statement concerning his personal property claim, which Myers did. Myers was aware of Brawley’s accusations against him and explained to Hall that he believed Brawley to be vindictive and that they had a child together who was the subject of a custody dispute. After Myers provided a sworn statement, Hall refused to speak with Myers about the claim and did not return phone calls. Farm Bureau eventually denied Myers’ claim and he filed suit.

    At the end of the trial, the jury found in favor of Myers and also found that Farm Bureau’s denial of this claim was vexatious, or without reasonable cause or excuse. Therefore, he was able to recover his attorney’s fees as well as the damages he sustained. On appeal, the Southern District Court of Appeals affirmed and found that there was more than sufficient evidence to justify a finding of vexatious refusal to pay. The Court noted that the evidence included the following: (1) Brawley was the only witness who testified against Myers, that her testimony was inconsistent, and that the trial judge found her to be one of the least credible witnesses the judge had ever seen; (2) Farm Bureau disregarded its own expert’s opinion that the fire was accidental in origin; and (3) Hall never investigated whether Brawley had a motivation to lie in order to deprive Myers of the funds he needed for the custody dispute.

    Insurers can take away a number of lessons from this case. First, ignore your expert at your own peril. Once Farm Bureau had retained an expert who found the cause to be non-suspicious in origin, it was at a severe disadvantage in defending its decision to deny Myers’ claim. Second, keep communication with the insured open and get both sides of the story. It appears that Farm Bureau chose to believe Brawley’s story without fully investigating it. This is true even after its insured advised Farm Bureau that Brawley had a reason to fabricate her allegations against him. Jurors, who are all insureds of some type, do not like to think that their insurer would refuse to communicate to them about a loss, and Farm Bureau would have been in a much better position had its claims representative kept dialog open with its insured.

  • Federal Government Outlaws Hand-Held Cell Phone Use by Truck and Bus Drivers

    On Wednesday, November 23, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”), along with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, announced a joint final rule that prohibits interstate truck and bus drivers from using a hand-held cell phone while operating their vehicle.

    According to FMCSA, drivers who violate the restriction will face federal civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense and multiple offenses could result in disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle.

    Trucking companies that allow drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving will face penalties as high as $11,000.

  • Rate-A-Judge Websites: Helpful or Not?

    Whether we like it or not, we are living in the age of technology. Many professionals turn to the Internet to conduct research on clients, co-workers, and even potential new hires. Internet research has become a way of life, and in this new age, you can go online and rate your doctor, plumber, roofer and now even your judge.

    Many of these “rate-a-judge” websites have comment boards where you can ask questions and people will respond with their thoughts and opinions. Many of the opinions posted are by lay people who have come face-to-face with the judge in a courtroom, and definitely have opinions to share. While these sites seem as if they may be helpful, the credibility of the comments is suspect. I’ve seen posts accusing a judge of “receiving money under the table” or favoring women in their rulings. It’s hard to know if the statements that are made are true, or the result of an emotional reaction.

    Some of these rating sites only allow ratings on a numerical scale without comment. Therefore, there is no way to know the types of cases the judge is receiving ratings on. It is also impossible to determine whether a judge is being rated by an attorney, a party, a juror, or a witness and whether the person performing the rating was on the side of the plaintiff or the defendant, or the winner or loser.

    If you’re truly interested in understanding a judge’s reputation or mindset, it’s probably best to do your research by looking for news coverage about his or her cases, reading the judge’s written opinions, most of which are available online, and discussing the judge with attorneys who regularly appear before the judge. On the other hand, if you want some entertaining reading, try the ratings websites (see examples below). It’s always interesting to see how people react to a court ruling.
    http://www.therobingroom.com/JudgeListing.aspx
    http://www.robeprobe.com/worst_judges.php

  • Local Firm Gets Top Rankings From U.S. News & World Report

    Friday, November 11, 2011 – U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America® have released the 2011 Best Law Firms rankings, and St. Louis’ Lashly & Baer, P.C., has been given top marks in the St. Louis region.

    In the St. Louis rankings, Lashly & Baer earned “St. Louis Tier 1” in Health Care Law, Land Use & Zoning Law, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, while earning “St. Louis Tier 2” in Corporate Law and Labor Law – Management. In addition, Lashly & Baer earned “National Tier 3” in Land Use & Zoning Law.

    In addition to this recognition, three attorneys from Lashly & Baer have been included in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  Richard D. Watters, listed in Health Care Law, recently joined a distinguished group of attorneys who have been included in Best Lawyers for 20 years or longer.  Also listed in Best Lawyers were John Fox Arnold in Corporate Law and Kenneth C. Brostron in Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.

  • Jurors Selected in Michael Jackson Case Pass Facebook Scrutiny

    Facebook continues to play a role in the courtroom.  It’s a well-known fact that attorneys frequently cull social media sites for evidence that could strengthen a case, but now some are using these tools to screen potential jurors. 

    Attorneys on both sides of the trial of Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s doctor, Googled prospective jurors to see if they had blogged or posted any opinions on the case.  The lawyers checked jurors’ social media sites, hoping for access to posts that might give clues about their private thoughts, attitudes, and prejudices. 

    At what point does this type of research become overkill? How valuable is this information for attorneys?  As a litigator, obviously I’m happy to have as much background as possible on prospective jurors.  At the same time, obtaining this information during jury selection can be difficult logistically.  In the Michael Jackson case, attorneys spent several days on jury selection, not several hours.  However, depending on the jurisdiction, attorneys generally have only several hours total for the jury selection process and could have dozens of candidates to consider.  There’s simply not enough time to search for and review information from social media sites for every prospective juror. 

    Cost was apparently not an issue in a high-profile case such as Murray’s.  However, clients may not find the expense required for this extra research to be cost effective.  In addition, there’s no guarantee that doing the research is going to result in having the ideal slate of jurors.  Too many factors go into jury selection, and many of these are subtleties that cannot be viewed on a Facebook profile, but rather need to be observed in person, such as body language and tone of voice. 

    We suspect that social media will continue to be a factor in jury selection, but on a limited basis and most likely in high profile or high stakes cases.  In the meantime, we’ll continue to hone our skills of observation, drawing conclusions based on what can be seen in the real world, as well as the virtual one.

  • Legal Workshop for the Missouri School Counselor Association

    On Saturday, November 5, 2011, Lisa O. Stump and Lawrence J. Wadsack presented to the Missouri School Counselor Association.  The Workshop addressed legal and ethical issues associated with student records and confidentiality issues, college letters and recommendations, residency/custody issues, and bullying, as well as emerging technology and student conduct including cyberbullying, sexting, the use of smartphones, and social media.

  • Doctors Admit to Overtreating Patients

    According to a recent survey, more than 40 percent of 627 primary care doctors said they “overtreat” their own patients, often ordering unnecessary tests or prescribing unneeded treatments. The reason for overtreatment? Physicians are worried about medical negligence lawsuits filed by patients who believe they were improperly treated. Specifically, if the physician does not order these unnecessary tests and a patient is diagnosed later with an injury or illness that was missed, the patient often sues with accusations such as “failure to diagnose” or “failure to treat.” 

    Last year patients filed 9,894 medical malpractice claims nationwide, which resulted in payouts of more than $3 billion. In Missouri alone, patients filed 155 claims, with payments of over $50 million.

    This fear of malpractice litigation has resulted in increased costs for emergency care and has put stress on other aspects of health care. The San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that emergency room physicians think liability reform is the key to cost savings in health care.  This action would reduce the pressure on physicians to perform unnecessary tests or admit patients to the hospital when they could be monitored in the office.

    At Lashly & Baer, we often see cases where the plaintiff alleges that a doctor’s failure to order a particular test or treatment resulted in his or her injury.  For example, we represented a defendant in a medical negligence lawsuit involving a patient who was treated for what was believed to be a common kidney infection, but turned out to be a rare spinal infection.  The patient’s symptoms were consistent with a kidney infection and the doctor followed the appropriate standard of care for the diagnosis.  He did not order additional more invasive studies since the symptoms were consistent with the diagnosis.  A later MRI determined that the patient had a spinal infection.  In the lawsuit the plaintiff argued that an earlier MRI would have diagnosed the condition, which would have resulted in less pain and suffering for the patient.

    Although the initial diagnosis turned out to be incorrect, our defense was to show that the proper standard of care was used when treating the patient based on the patient’s symptoms. The doctor provided the best care for the patient based upon these symptoms and determined that proceeding with additional tests would potentially endanger the patient since more invasive tests could have further injured the patient.  Ultimately our client was dismissed.

    Unfortunately, lawsuits are part of a physician’s practice. We advise our clients that doctors and hospitals should always do what they believe is best for the patient, follow the appropriate standard of care, and not focus on possible lawsuits. Patients should ask their doctor questions if they are concerned that more testing or treatment should be done for their complaints.  It’s also critical that doctors and hospital staff document these conversations, especially writing in the record why further tests were not ordered and what was told to the patient.  Proper documentation is critical for protection in negligence cases and will tremendously improve the odds of prevailing in a lawsuit.

  • 2012 OIG Work Plan Provides Compliance Focus For Providers

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Fall 2011 Newsletter entitled “2012 OIG Work Plan Provides Compliance Focus for Providers.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Fall 2011 Newsletter.

  • Can family histories put your company into the dark ages?

    From our work with clients, most companies aren’t paying enough attention to a recent law regarding genetic information discrimination.  In some cases, what a company might think of as ‘standard operating procedure’ could in fact be a violation of an individual’s rights to privacy and be subject to a detrimental lawsuit. 

    Under Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), it is illegal to discriminate against employees or applicants because of genetic information.  So what counts as “genetic information?”  As it turns out, quite a lot.  Information about genetic tests of both the employee/applicant and his/her family members, family medical histories, a request for or receipt of genetic services, or participation in clinical research that includes genetic services, are all covered under the definition of genetic information.

    Because the law took effect less than two years ago many companies are still unaware of it or its potential risk exposure to legal action.  It becomes imperative to educate your human resource departments on the nature of the law and ensure that any pre-screening or hiring activities are reviewed for compliance.  Unawareness of the law isn’t a defense, so make sure you have the facts.

  • Nine Lawyers Selected as 2011 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and Three Selected as 2011 Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars

    Monday, October 24, 2011 – 2011 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected nine Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers who were nominated by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers.  They are John Fox ArnoldKenneth C. BrostronKevin L. FritzStefan J. GlyniasJames C. HetlageStephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith,Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf. In addition, Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected as the Top 50 St. Louis lawyers. 2011 Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Mark R. FeldhausPatrick E. Foppe, and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

  • 2012 OIG Work Plan Issued

    The Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Health & Human Services (the “OIG”) released its Fiscal Year 2012 Work Plan on October 5, 2011. The Work Plan identifies new and ongoing reviews and activities that the OIG plans to pursue in the next 12 months. Although the actual Work Plan is over 175 pages, it is well-organized, and easy to review. Here are some key areas of emphasis:

    Home Health Services

    • Review of missing or incorrect patient outcome and assessment data.
    • Review of compliance with coverage and coding requirements, including requirements that patients must be homebound, need intermittent skilled nursing care, physical or speech therapy, or occupational therapy, be under the care of a physician, and be under a plan of care that has been established and periodically reviewed by a physician.

    Hospitals

    • Review of Medicare claims to determine which types of facilities, such as SNFs or rehabilitation facilities, are more frequently transferring patients with certain diagnoses that were coded as being present when patients were admitted.
    • Review of hospital same-day readmissions.
    • Review of Medicare claims for inpatients stays for which the patient was transferred to hospice, and examine the relationship between the hospital and the hospice provider.
    • Medicare payments for patients with other insurance coverage.

    Nursing Homes

    • Review of SNF implementation of Medicare Compliance plans as part of their day-to-day operations.
    • Review of nursing homes’ emergency plans and emergency preparedness.

    Hospices

    • Review of hospice marketing practices, and their financial relationship(s) with nursing facilities.

    Medical Equipment and Supplies

    • Review of credentials of providers submitting custom-fabricated orthotic and prosthetic claims.
    • Frequency of replacement of supplies for durable medical equipment.
    • Review of payments for home blood glucose testing supplies, diabetic testing strips and lancets, to identify questionable billing practices.

    Physicians

    • Review of physician-owned distributors of spinal implants, especially those distributors that provide spinal implants to hospitals.
    • Review of place of service coding errors.

    Other Providers and Suppliers

    • Review of increase in Part B imaging services payments.
    • Review of appropriateness of payments for sleep studies.
    • Review of dialysis facilities.

    Providers are urged to review the actual Work Plan at http://oig.hhs.gov/reports-and-publications/workplan/index.asp.

  • Damages Agreements with Plaintiffs Become A Little More Dangerous for Insurers

    The Missouri Supreme Court recently issued a decision making it more difficult for insurance companies to contest 537.065 agreements.  In Shmitz v. Great American Assurance Company (Mo. S. Ct. Case No. SC91098), the parents of Christine Ewing brought a wrongful death suit after she died as a result of injuries she sustained after falling while climbing a portable rock wall.  Marcus Floyd owned and operated the rock wall during a minor league baseball game.  The parents brought suit against Floyd and Columbia Professional Baseball (“CPB”), the owner of the minor league baseball team at whose stadium the death occurred.

    CPB was insured by Virginia Surety Company and Great American Assurance Company.  Virginia Surety’s policy was primary with coverage of $1,000,000 and Great American’s policy provided excess coverage of $4,000,000.  Both insurers received notice of the claim, but denied a duty to defend based upon a policy exclusion in Virginia Surety’s policy. 

    Section 537.065 of Revised Statutes of Missouri allows an insured to enter into an agreement with a plaintiff limiting recovery to any available insurance proceeds after an insurer has denied coverage.  CPB and the parents entered into such an agreement.  The parents then proceeded to a bench trial which resulted in CPB being found liable and a judgment entered in the amount of $4,580,076.00.  The parents then filed an equitable garnishment action to garnish the policy limits of the policies issued by both Virginia Surety and Great American. 

    Virginia Surety subsequently settled with the parents, but Great American continued to defend the case on a number of grounds, including, on the basis that the 537.065 agreement was in an unreasonable amount (i.e. the verdict amount was unreasonable).  Great American relied on prior case law indicating 537.065 settlements must be in a reasonable amount and that the amount of the judgment was not reasonable. 

    The Missouri Supreme Court disagreed with this defense finding that the reasonableness test applied only to settlements, rather than judgments.  Because the parents had not settled with CPB for a specific amount and, instead, tried their case to the court, Great American was no longer able to contest whether the amount of the judgment was reasonable. 

    Prior to this decision, insurers and defense counsel may have assumed that they would be able to contest the reasonableness of any judgment obtained pursuant to a 537.065 agreement.  Such, however, is not the case.  Therefore, assuming a plaintiff and an insured enter into a 537.065 agreement and allow a court to determine the damages rather than stipulate to the amount of the settlement, an insurer will be unable to contest the amount of the judgment in subsequent proceedings to collect the judgment.

    See Schmitz v. Great American Assurance Company (Missouri Supreme Court Case No. SC91098)

  • Social Networking – A friend or enemy for businesses?

    Social media is not a fad. It serves as a driver of the shift in our society to a life lived online. Companies are no longer questioning whether they should have a social media presence, but rather what type of presence would work best for their business.

    There’s an interesting dichotomy between the advantages of social media for driving a business, and the use of social media by employees and its detriment to a business and its reputation.

    So how can employers protect themselves and their business while utilizing social media for the myriad of advantages that it can offer?

    Having a written policy in place that realistically outlines the rules for social media in the workplace is critical. Because technology is evolving at an incredible rate, the policy must be consistent with changes in the marketplace and thus, reviewed regularly by a business’ legal counsel and updated on a frequent basis. As technology continues to race forward, the way in which people use technology will also change, compelling business to monitor their employees’ business use of social networks.

    It’s also worth noting that employees are only human, and in general, humans tend to do foolish things from time to time. For example, we’ve seen significant cases where school districts are facing difficulties with their staff members and inappropriate use of social media to interact with students. This is especially troubling for parents, as some instances have resulted in sexual impropriety verdicts. School districts have a difficult task on their hands as they determine how to write and manage school policies dealing with social networks.

    The benefits of social media for a business can be plenty, but employers should use caution and common sense to ensure that its purposes are clearly defined and focused.

  • Students 2011: Bullying, Smartphones, Sexting and More…

    On Saturday, October 1, 2011, Lisa O. Stump and Lawrence J. Wadsack presented to more than 200 board members and administrators at the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) Annual Conference in Osage Beach, Missouri.  Their presentation entitled, “Students 2011: Bullying, Smartphones, Sexting and More…” addressed legal issues associated with emerging technology and student conduct including cyberbullying, sexting, the use of smartphones, and social media.  Download Handout

  • Typographical Error Does Not Make Insurance Policy Ambiguous

    While a typographical error may make you cringe, the blunder may not have negative legal implications according to a decision by The Court of Appeals for the Western District of Missouri. The court held a typographical error in an insurance company’s liability policy did not make the policy ambiguous.
     
    The case started as a wrongful death suit when a passenger who was involved in a car accident died as a result of injuries.  The victim’s daughter filed suit against the driver to recover damages.  After a trial the circuit court entered a judgment against the driver for $175,000.

    However, the insurance company refused to pay more than $25,000, which was the policy’s per-person limit of liability for bodily injury claims.  The plaintiff then argued that because the insurance company’s policy contained a typographical error that identified both the bodily injury and property damage coverage as coverage A, instead of bodily injury as A and property damage as B, the policy was ambiguous.  She argued that this ambiguity in the policy resulted in no limits for the bodily injury coverage rather than the $25,000 per person policy limit.

    Luckily for the insurance company, the Court of Appeals disagreed with the decision and reversed it stating that an ambiguity exists only “when there is duplicity, indistinctness, or uncertainty in the meaning of the language in the policy. Language is ambiguous if it is reasonably open to different constructions.” The Court of Appeals reasoned that the typographical error was clearly an error and that there was no way the policy could be rendered to read as limitless even with the mistake.  This decision is surely a relief to insurers as human errors inevitably do happen.

    See Mendota Insurance Company v. Ware, (Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, Case No. WD72766).

  • Illinois Supreme Court Continues to Reject Post-Sale Duty to Warn

    Today, the Illinois Supreme Court in Jablonski v. Ford Motor Co. (Docket No. 110096) held in part that a manufacturer has no duty to warn its customers of risks first known after a product has left its control. A continuing duty to warn may be imposed if at the time the product was manufactured the manufacturer knew or should have known of the hazard. Nevertheless, the Court did say that a post-sale duty to warn could be recognized in the future in Illinois.

    In this case, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed a $43 million general verdict awarding compensatory and punitive damages to the plaintiffs in an automotive product liability case. The court concluded that the plaintiffs’ negligence claims either lacked evidentiary support, or, in the instance of a claimed post-sale duty to warn, were not legally viable.

  • Federal Safety Group Preparing to Issue Rule on Cell Phone Use in Commercial Vehicles

    Last week I attended the Illinois Trucking Association’s Annual Meeting. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Administrator, Anne Ferro, spoke to the attendees outlining many of the items that the agency is currently working on.

    Administrator Ferro told members that FMCSA is on track to release a final rule on the Hours of Service Regulation by the end of October. Ferro also indicated that FMCSA will be proposing a rule in a month or so that will address “hand-held” cell phone use in commercial motor vehicles, which is in contrast to the National Transportation Safety Board’s recent recommendation to eliminate all cell phone use in trucks.

    Check back for updates. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we learn of any new developments.

  • Accountable Care Organizations – How Providers are Impacted

    Health care providers are trying to wrap their heads around the complexities of new requirements for coordinating care for Medicare patients – Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). The federal government is still finalizing the regulations for this new model, which is part of the Affordable Care Act and takes effect in 2012.

    ACOs use a shared savings model to reward integrated or coordinated groups of providers that deliver quality care at a reduced cost, while continuing to be paid by Medicare on a fee for services basis.

    The ACOs can be made up of physicians, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, hospitals, and joint ventures and partnerships of these providers. Existing physician groups can become ACOs, as can hospitals, and medical groups can also collaborate with hospitals and other providers to form an ACO.

    What do these changes mean for providers? Although the final regulations may answer some questions, certain issues stand out:

    • ACO costs will be measured against the average per capita Medicare costs for “assigned” patients. If an ACO achieves cost savings, by controlling utilization, the ACO may receive a share of the government’s cost savings.
    • There will be some natural tension between hospitals, specialists and primary care physicians. Some believe that ACOs will attempt to limit hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and diagnostic tests.
    • Measuring “quality” will be complex and difficult.
    • An ACO will require significant investment in infrastructure, such as information technology. Without hospital participation in an ACO, potential participants may not have the capital to form an ACO.
    • The assignment of Medicare patients to an ACO is based on whether the patient’s primary care physician is an ACO participant. Success of an ACO will necessarily depend on having a large number of primary care physician participants.
    • There will continue to be significant antitrust, anti-kickback, Stark and tax exempt organization issues to analyze, which may hinder the rapid formation of ACOs.

    Our health care practice at Lashly & Baer will continue to monitor the regulations as they are finalized, and analyze the potential winners and losers in the world of ACOs.

  • Resources To Help You Grow: Are you looking to build or expand a Senior Living Community?

    Lashly & Baer partner, Richard D. Watters, along with the Senior Living Forum Affiliated Partners, will be discussing all aspects of building or expanding a senior living facility including CON process to get a new facility approved and initial licensing, financial opportunities and hurdles in the senior living business, alternative financing, Medicare/Medicaid issues, insurance due diligence when acquiring a facility, selecting a general contractor and trends in design, and electronic medical records solutions. The discussion will be held on Wednesday, October 5, 2011 from 5:15pm to 8:30pm at Missouri Athletic Club West. If you would like to attend this informative discussion, please email Tiffany Walker at tiffanyw@heffins.com.

  • Computing Damages is Unclear Under Missouri Tort Reform Act

    In 2005, Missouri passed a Tort Reform Act, which, among other things, affected the way a plaintiff can present medical bills to a jury. In the past, a plaintiff could simply show the total amount charged by the provider for the medical services. Under the Act, the legislature created a rebuttable presumption that when determining damages, the value of the healthcare is the amount paid for the medical services, not what was initially charged. Most often, Medicare and medical insurance companies reduce the amount of the medical bills, which can affect the value of a case.  

    The Act’s language has caused much confusion within the trial bar. The Missouri Supreme Court in Deck v. Teasley, SC90628 (2010), recently held that if a plaintiff can present substantial evidence that the amount billed is a better indicator of the value of the medical services, then the jury should be presented with not only the amount paid but the amount charged.

    Although section 490.715 of the Tort Reform Act was intended to limit medical damages to amounts paid to providers, Deck v. Teasley makes it considerably easier for plaintiffs to recover the amount billed for their treatment. The state legislature now has some work to do if they want to restore the law to its original intent.

  • Other Insurance Clause Creates Ambiguity in Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    Ambiguity in insurance policies is always a hot topic and decisions by Missouri courts can make insurers and those who bring lawsuits against them unsure of what outcome to expect.

    For example, Donna Ledbetter was injured when a Dodge pickup operated by Danny Harris collided with the vehicle she was driving.  Harris was covered by a Cornerstone National Insurance liability policy with limits of $50,000 for injuries sustained by any one person in a motor vehicle accident.  Ms. Ledbetter brought suit against Harris and settled her case for the Cornerstone policy limits.

    At the time of the accident, Ledbetter had an insurance policy with Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company.  Ledbetter made a claim for underinsured motorist coverage for the terms of her policy which provided $50,000 in UIM coverage on each of her four covered vehicles. Ledbetter claimed that she could stack these coverages for a total UIM coverage of $200,000.

    Hartford filed a motion for summary judgment and prevailed on the basis that the Harris vehicle was not an underinsured motor vehicle as defined in the Hartford policy.  The Hartford policy defined underinsured motor vehicle as “A land motor vehicle or trailer of any type to which a bodily injury liability bond or policy applies at the time of the accident but its limit for bodily injury liability is less than the limit of liability for this coverage.”  Hartford contended that, because the Cornerstone policy’s liability limits were $50,000 and the Hartford UIM limits were $50,000, the Harris vehicle was not considered an underinsured motor vehicle under the Hartford policy.  The trial court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of Hartford.

    The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District of Missouri, however, reversed the trial court’s decision.  The Court of Appeals found that the other insurance clause in the Hartford policy created an ambiguity.  The other insurance clause in the Hartford policy contained the following provision:  “Any insurance we provide with respect to a vehicle you do not own shall be excess over any collectible insurance providing such coverage on a primary basis.”  The Southern District stated that reading the other insurance clause in conjunction with the underinsured motorist coverage provisions could result in an interpretation of the policy such that it provided UIM coverage.  Specifically, the policy could be read to mean that underinsured coverage was excess to amounts recovered from the tortfeasor and also could be interpreted to mean that the other insurance clause prevailed over the preceding and apparently conflicting language contained in the policy’s definition of underinsured and limits of liability sections.  Thus, the Southern District found that the Hartford policy did provide underinsured motorist coverage under the terms of its policy and reversed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of Hartford.

    It’s an interesting case that seems to find ambiguous an otherwise straight forward definition of underinsured motor vehicle.

    See Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company v. Ledbetter, (Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District, Case No. SD30891).

  • Protecting Your Bottom Line: New Illinois Workers’ Compensation Law Seminar

    Lashly & Baer partner, Andrew G. Toennies, spoke on Protecting Your Bottom Line: Everything you NEED to know about the New Illinois Workers’ Compensation Laws that changed as of September 1, 2011. The educational seminar was held on Friday, September 23, 2011 from 8am to 10am at the Holiday Inn in Fairview Heights, Illinois.

  • Mandatory Arbitration Clause Undergoes Stress Test in Massage Therapy Case

    What started out as a client’s relaxing session at a local massage therapy office ended up as a headache for the therapist and the risk retention group (“RRG”) insuring her business in Missouri.   In a recent ruling, the Missouri Court of Appeals held that arbitration clauses are not enforceable in insurance policies issued by a RRG, just as they have been found to be unenforceable in other types of insurance policies.

    In this case, a licensed massage therapist was covered by a professional liability insurance policy when the massage table on which she was treating a client collapsed, causing the client to fall. The client sued the therapist for her personal injuries. The insured therapist sought coverage under an insurance policy issued by a RRG who ultimately denied coverage and refused to provide a defense in the underlying personal injury suit.

    The insured filed a breach of contract action against the RRG, seeking damages in the amount of the attorney’s fees incurred as a result of the failure to defend. Defendant filed a motion to compel arbitration seeking to invoke a mandatory arbitration clause in the insurance policy.  The trial court denied the motion, finding that the insured cannot be compelled to arbitrate because Missouri law prohibits mandatory arbitration clauses in insurance contracts.

    Although the Missouri Court of Appeals recognized that contractual arbitration clauses are generally enforceable in cases involving interstate commerce under the Federal Arbitration Act, the case turned on an exception to federal preemption under the McCarran-Ferguson Act, which allows states to regulate the business of insurance.  In confirming the lower court’s ruling, the Court of Appeals upheld the applicability of McCarran-Ferguson and also declined to extend to the RRG protections otherwise not available to insurers under the federal Liability Risk Retention Act.

    Once again, a Missouri court has re-emphasized the general rule that arbitration clauses cannot be used in insurance policies, and broadened it to include risk retention groups.  If the case is further appealed, it is unlikely that the Missouri Supreme Court will carve out an exception to this general rule.

    Sturgeon v. Allied Professionals Ins. Co., Case No. ED 94605 (Mo.App.E.D.) (Decided March 8, 2011).

  • Three Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Selected in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012

    Three lawyers from Lashly & Baer, P.C. were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012 (Copyright 2011 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.). They are John Fox Arnold  (Corporate Law), Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law-Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation-Defendants); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law).

  • Section 537.065 Agreements and Other Things That Go Bump in the Night

    There are things in this world that have the ability to cause significant losses for insurers—hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and catastrophic injury claims are just a few. In the insurance business in Missouri, one of those things is a Section 537.065 agreement. In practice, these agreements essentially have the effect of allowing a degree of cooperation between a claimant and an insured and can result in significant damage awards against an insured, which the claimant then attempts to force the insurer to pay.

    The agreements are specifically authorized by Section 537.065, RSMo. and arise after an insurer denies coverage to its insured. Pursuant to such an agreement, the insured then essentially agrees not to contest any claim made against the insured in exchange for the claimant’s agreement not to execute on any assets of the insured other than the proceeds of an insurance policy.

    The worst part about most 537.065 agreements is that insurance companies usually don’t hear about them until a claimant is seeking recovery under a policy for a judgment obtained without the insurer’s involvement. By then, it is too late to go back and defend the claim on the merits. The good news is that Section 537.065 agreements can, for the most part, be avoided or minimized with the application of sound legal knowledge, good claims handling, and some prior planning.

    Claims adjusters first need to be aware that these agreements exist and the extent to which they can result in damages far greater than expected. Second, insurance companies need to make sure they are certain of their coverage position and the facts supporting a denial of coverage before immediately rejecting a claim for a seemingly obvious reason. This can be difficult in some cases and may require the insurer to defend a claim under a reservation of rights, thereby protecting the insurer against the parties entering into a 537.065 agreement. During the defense under a reservation of rights, coverage can be further investigated.

    Finally, to minimize the potential for an erroneous denial of coverage and the insured entering into a Section 537.065 agreement, an insurer should ensure that its claims personnel are trained not only to investigate the facts relevant to defending a claim on the merits, but also the facts upon which a coverage determination can be made.

  • Risks on the Job Can Put Nurses in Jeopardy

    Nursing can be a thankless job. It’s often stressful, can be physically and mentally demanding, and requires a certain amount of fortitude when helping patients or family members in times of emotional and physical pain.

    I’m a nurse myself, although I no longer practice. I still hold my nursing license but work as an attorney in the area of medical malpractice and nursing licensure. Perhaps I’m biased, but nurses are among the most dedicated, hard-working groups of people I know. But nurses, like the rest of us, are human, and at some point will make errors on the job. They can be held liable, just like doctors and other health professionals, for negligence. A nurse’s license can be investigated if a patient or family has made a complaint about them or if they’ve been terminated from their job. The Missouri State Board of Nursing has the authority to impose discipline in the form of censure, probation, license suspension, or revoking the license.

    It’s important that nurses protect themselves from the repercussions of mistakes made on the job. One recommendation I can make to nurses who are facing disciplinary procedures by the state nursing board is to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An attorney can help the nurse through an investigation and/or negotiate an appropriate “punishment,” whereas a nurse on his or her own might end up with a disciplinary action that is overly harsh for the circumstances.

    It’s better to retain a lawyer at the beginning of an investigation than the end. Nurses should seek advice before making a statement or submitting a written response to the board. Nurses should try to develop a relationship with a qualified lawyer they could call in the event that a problem comes up. Scrambling at the last minute to find someone is not the best approach.

    I encourage nurses to find an attorney who is familiar with the nursing board and its standards. Ask for a meeting with that person so you can hear about their background and experience. If you’re comfortable with the attorney, you can keep his or her contact information for future reference.

    Hiring a lawyer to defend oneself in a disciplinary action can be an expensive proposition. Depending on their personal circumstances, nurses may consider obtaining insurance to cover legal costs. Whether or not they have insurance, nurses need to know that in the long run, consulting an attorney is a smart move that can help protect their nursing career.

  • OIG Takes Critical Look at Certain Joint Ventures

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer 2011 Newsletter entitled “OIG Takes Critical Look at Certain Joint Ventures.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Summer 2011 Newsletter.

  • Margaret M. Mooney Selected as Chair-Elect of the YWCA Metro St. Louis.

    August 16, 2011 – Lashly & Baer attorney, Margaret M. Mooney, was recently chosen as Chair-Elect of the YWCA. She will begin her 2 year term as Chair in March 2012. The YWCA’s mission is to work for eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

  • Victory in Supreme Court

    Friday, July 29, 2011 – Michael J. Smith and Tricia J. Mueller recently prevailed before the Missouri Supreme Court resulting in the dismissal of their client with prejudice from a medical malpractice suit. Plaintiff had originally filed his cause of action for wrongful death on the last day of the three year statute of limitations. Instead of naming Smith and Mueller’s client, however, Plaintiff merely identified the Defendant as John Doe with an allegation that John Doe was a healthcare provider who had provided care to the decedent. Plaintiff subsequently amended his Petition purporting to substitute Smith and Mueller’s client for John Doe. Smith and Mueller effectively argued to the Court that Plaintiff’s description of John Doe was insufficient and that the substitution of Defendant did not relate back to the date Plaintiff first filed suit. This resulted in the Court holding that the statute of limitations expired.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Obtain Defense Verdicts for Highway Technologies, Inc.

    On July 13, 2011, Stephen L. Beimdiek and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner obtained defense verdicts in favor of Highway Technologies, Inc. in the Circuit Court of Buchanan County, Missouri following seven days of trial.

    In the case of Janet Peterson and Linda Lambright v. Progressive Contractors, Inc. and Highway Technologies Inc., the Plaintiffs sought damages for the wrongful death of their mother, Virginia Winslow, and for personal injuries to Janet Peterson.

    The case stemmed from a single vehicular accident in a construction zone on the Pony Express Bridge in St. Joseph, Missouri on September 23, 2007. Plaintiff Janet Peterson’s daughter, Tiffany Peterson, was driving the car. Janet Peterson and her mother, Virginia Winslow (“Decedent”), were passengers. The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission had contracted with Progressive Contractors to repair the expansion joints on the bridge. Progressive then entered into a sub-contract with Highway Technologies to provide temporary traffic control devices for the construction areas.

    During the course of the construction work, the right lane of the bridge was closed to traffic. Plaintiffs claimed that while driving across the bridge, Tiffany Peterson thought she needed to enter the closed right lane to get to the exit located just past the end of bridge. She drove between two cones closing the right lane and around a temporary concrete barrier before ending up in an exposed hole in the bridge deck where Progressive was performing its expansion joint repair work. The car came to rest on the remaining rebar at the bottom of the hole.

    The Plaintiffs claimed that the temporary traffic control devices on the bridge failed to comply with the plans developed by The Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission and the standards set-out in the Manual for Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), and that the traffic control set-up was otherwise dangerous and caused the accident by failing to direct and keep motorists out of the construction zone.

    Plaintiff Janet Peterson suffered a fractured elbow in the accident. Plaintiffs’ decedent, Virginia Winslow, sustained injuries, as well, including an abdominal wall hematoma and the rupture of a pre-existing abscess in her abdomen, which resulted in e. Coli infected pus being released into her abdominal cavity. Decedent underwent emergency colon re-section surgery and was hospitalized for seventeen days before being discharged. Approximately four months later, however, Decedent suffered a heart attack and was re-admitted to the hospital. At that time, she was found to have a bloodstream infection (sepsis), which doctors later discovered to be caused by e. Coli. Within three days, the decedent developed septic shock, suffered another heart attack, and died.

    Plaintiffs alleged that their mother’s death was caused by the car accident. Plaintiffs claimed that following the accident, e. Coli organisms that had been released into their mother’s body from the ruptured abscess had become sequestered in either the abdominal wall hematoma or a pre-existing aortic graft, and eventually made their way into her bloodstream and caused her to develop sepsis, which then led to her heart attack and ultimately her death. Susceptibility tests done on the e. Coli organisms during both hospitalizations showed the e. Coli organisms to be nearly identical.

    Defendants claimed that the traffic control in place on the bridge provided a reasonably safe road for the motoring public, that they complied with the traffic control plan developed by the State, and that the accident was caused by the negligent driving of Tiffany Peterson. Defendants further claimed that the decedent’s death was the result of a pre-existing medical condition, and not the result of any injuries she sustained in the accident.

    Plaintiffs’ last settlement demand prior to trial for both claims was $950,000.

    At trial Plaintiffs asked for $1,000,000 for the wrongful death of their mother and $500,000 for Janet Winslow Peterson’s injuries.

    The Jury deliberated for approximately 50 minutes before returning verdicts in favor of Defendants on both claims.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Receives Levee Stone Award

    The 2011 John H. Poelker Levee Stone Award will be presented to John Fox Arnold at the Partnership for Downtown St. Louis’s Annual Membership Luncheon on Tuesday, June 28th.  The recipient of this annual award is recognized for their leadership, extraordinary vision and personal commitment in advancing the revitalization of downtown St. Louis.

  • Injuries to Unauthorized Passengers in Trucking Accidents Pose Unique Issues

    Patrick E. Foppe and Kevin L. Fritz have co-authored,  “Injuries to Unauthorized Passengers in Trucking Accidents Pose Unique Issues,” USLAW NETWORK, Inc. Magazine, Spring-Summer 2011. View the above link to read a PDF copy of this article.

  • Lashly & Baer Wins for La Quinta Inns and Suites

    Stephen L. Beimdiek recently won a defense verdict from a St. Louis County jury on behalf of La Quinta Inns and Suites in a premises liability suit. The Plaintiff claimed she slipped and fell on a slippery substance/wet tile located outside the front entrance of a La Quinta. The Plaintiff sustained a fractured ankle and lateral epicondylitis (elbow injury) from her fall. She claimed that La Quinta failed to keep the area where she fell clear, failed to inspect the area frequently enough such that it could have discovered the slippery substance that she claimed was on the tile, and failed to warn that the tile was wet to the extent it had rained earlier. The Plaintiff incurred approximately $21,000 in medical bills for the treatment she received following her fall, claimed that she had continuing problems with both her ankle and her elbow, and asked the jury to award her $70,000.

    La Qunita denied that any dangerous condition existed on the tile and maintained that to the extent the tile was wet, it was from a recent rain and the Plaintiff should have anticipated that the tile would have been wet.

    After deliberating for approximately 1 hour the jury found in favor of La Quinta, and judgment was entered on its behalf.

  • Lashly & Baer Supports the Launch of Client’s New Website

    Lashly & Baer secured Multi-State Service Mark filings for our client, Nicole Benoist Edgerton, to support the launch of her company’s new website – minipinkbook.com, an online guide to boutiques, restaurants, beauty services and attractions. The website will be available in July beginning in four cities – St. Louis, Nashville, Kansas City and Atlanta. Along with a curated list of the best each city has to offer, Mini Pink Book will also include trends, products and insights from stylish personalities. Click here to view the recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and more about Nicole and Mini Pink Book.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Obtain Two Certificates of Need

    On May 9, 2011, attorneys Richard D. Watters and Margaret Scavotto secured Certificate of Need approval for Black River Community Medical Center, a 3-bed community hospital in Poplar Bluff, MO and Springfield Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, a 66-bed assisted living facility dedicated entirely to treating individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

  • Face To Face Encounters Change Home Health Services

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011 – Lashly & Baer Partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, published an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Spring 2011 Newsletter entitled “Face To Face Encounters Change Home Health Services.” CLICK HERE to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view the Spring 2011 Newsletter.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Clients William Richard and David Zar Recognized for Ultrasound Imaging With Smartphone

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. clients, William D. Richard and David Zar, have been recognized multiple times for their development of coupling USB-based ultrasound probe technology with a smartphone. Most recently, they were awarded the 2011 Best Mobile Health Innovation by the Global Mobile Awards.  In addition, Zar was featured on Good Morning America on February 15, 2011 to demonstrate the smartphone application.

  • Jury Sides With Big Tobacco In Historic City of St. Louis v. American Tobacco

    Friday, April 29, 2011 – Lashly & Baer, representing Missouri Hospitals, presented their clients case to a jury in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. After a dozen expert witnesses and dozens of hospital administrators presented for more than 9 weeks in this historic case, the jury announced a 9 to 3 verdict for the Defendants.  The jury members, while finding that the hospitals proved that cigarettes are defective and unreasonably dangerous, were not convinced that the hospitals were overall damaged in treating sick smokers.

  • The Future of Medicine

    Lashly & Baer Health Care Attorney, Richard D. Watters, discussed “The Future of Medicine” with Mike Castellano (CEO of Esse Health), Dr. John Hubert (President of Mercy Clinic), and Dr. Michael Rau (Chairman of Patients First Health Care) at a seminar held at the Saint Louis Zoo on Friday, April 29, 2011.  The health care leaders discussed their different group practice models and how they are prepared to meet the challenges of health care reform.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Speak at 2011 MoASBO Spring Conference

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011 –  Lisa O. Stump, and Rhonda A. O’Brien presented at the 2011 Missouri Association of School Business Officials Spring Conference.  Programs were entitled “Disclosure of School District Information,” and “Cafeteria Plans.”  Click on the presentation title to download.

  • Legal Issues Related to Purchasing

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, will be speaking at the Institute for Supply Management St. Louis upcoming educational event on “Legal Issues Related to Purchasing” on Tuesday, April 19, 2011. Mr. Vogelsmeier represents one of the largest health care group purchasing companies in the Midwest, and regularly counsels clients on purchasing, leasing and licensing of products and technology in the health care area.

  • Melissa Vighi Selected by Commercial Real Estate Women for Member to Member Business Award

    March 18, 2011 – Lashly & Baer attorney, Melissa A. Vighi, was selected by the St. Louis chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women to receive their annual Member to Member Business Award. Visit Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) St. Louis for more details.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Wins for District Hospital

    February 28, 2011 – Judith C. Brostron recently won a victory for her client in the Supreme Court of Illinois in a case of first impression interpreting the statute of limitations for public entities. Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Jersey Community Hospital District and a doctor almost two years after plaintiff’s injuries occurred. The Circuit Court dismissed the Complaint against the hospital under the one-year statute of limitations for public entities. Plaintiff appealed arguing that the 2003 amended version of the Tort Immunity Act applied because plaintiff’s injuries arose out of patient care. The Supreme Court held that plaintiff’s injuries for sexual assault by the physician did not “arise out of patient care,” and therefore the one-year statute of limitations applied.  View the complete opinion 109738 at http://www.illinoislawyernow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/109738.pdf.

  • John Fox Arnold selected by St. Louis Business Journal as a Most Influential St. Louisan

    February 28, 2011 – Lashly & Baer attorney, John Fox Arnold was selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as a Most Influential St. Louisan. Click here to view the complete list.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Win Summary Judgment for IPC International Corporation

    February 17, 2011 – Stefan J. Glynias and Sarah J. Hugg recently won summary judgment for their client IPC International Corporation in a wrongful death case filed in the City of St. Louis. Summary judgments are infrequently granted because they decide the case without the necessity of the expense and time for a trial. The Plaintiffs alleged that IPC was negligent in its provision of private security services, and that such negligence led to the shooting death of their family member. A thorough investigation of Plaintiffs’ claims and extensive discovery, revealed that the decedent’s death was the result of a premeditated, targeted assassination that was carried out despite the presence of witnesses and armed police officers. Accordingly, IPC’s conduct could not have been the proximate cause of the Plaintiffs’ injuries. The Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis agreed, and entered judgment in favor of IPC, dismissing Plaintiffs’ claims against IPC with prejudice and denying Plaintiffs leave to amend their Petition against IPC.

  • Stefan J. Glynias Served as Panelist at MUSIC Annual Meeting

    Stefan J. Glynias served as a panelist at the 2011 Missouri United School Insurance Council (MUSIC) Annual Meeting on January 27, 2011. Topics were discussed in detail regarding school administration, liability in connection with construction contracts, among other legal topics pertaining to school districts.

  • Key Compliance Issues for 2011

    Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, spoke at the Health Care Financial Management Association St. Louis Chapter Winter Meeting on January 21, 2011, on Key Compliance Issues for 2011. Click here to access the presentation.

  • Attorney, Kevin L. Fritz, Elected Chair of USLAW NETWORK, Inc.’s Transportation Group

    January 6, 2011 – USLAW NETWORK, Inc. elected Kevin L. Fritz Chair of their Transportation Group. USLAW NETWORK, Inc. is a national organization composed of over 65 independent, defense-based law firms with over 4,000 attorneys covering the United States and Latin America. Among the firms, there are over 150 offices in 48 U.S. states specializing in business transactions and litigation. Fritz holds a J.D. from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law.

    Download Press Release Here

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Named St. Louis Health Care Lawyer of the Year

    Tuesday, November 16, 2010 – Best Lawyers, the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, has named Richard D. Watters as the “St. Louis Best Lawyers Health Care Lawyer of the Year” for 2011. Steven Naifeh, president of Best Lawyers, says, “We continue to believe – as we have believed for more than 25 years – that recognition by one’s peers is the most meaningful form of praise in the legal profession. We would like to congratulate Richard D. Watters on being selected as the ‘St. Louis Best Lawyers Health Care Lawyer of the Year’ for 2011.” Richard D. Watters was also selected by his peers for the 20th straight year for inclusion in The Best Lawyers of America® 2010. He has also been selected in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers each year since 2005, including Top 50 Lawyers in 2007, and Top 50 and 100 Lawyers in 2005. He earned his J.D., cum laude, from Saint Louis University School of Law.

  • No-Charge Pre-Authorizations: Good Business or Legal Minefield?

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier published an article, “No Charge Pre-Authorizations: Good Business or Legal Minefield?” in the Fall 2010 issue of Gateway Gatherings, which is the newsletter of the Greater St. Louis Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. Click here to download a copy of the article, or visit the HFMA – St. Louis website to view Gateway Gatherings.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Discusses Cyberbullying on KTRS

    Thursday, October 21, 2010 – Lisa O. Stump discussed cyberbullying with McGraw Milhaven on KTRS on October 21, 2010.

  • Protecting Your Assets in Times of Crisis

    Tuesday, October 19, 2010 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier published the article, “Protecting Your Assets in Times of Crisis” in the October-November 2010 issue of St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine, which is the official publication of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society. The article is based on a presentation Mr. Vogelsmeier gave to the SLMMS Spring Continuing Education Seminar in April 2010.  Click here to download a copy of the article, or visit the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society website to view St. Louis Metropolitan Medicine.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Wins Summary Judgment for Mine Safety Appliances Company

    Monday, October 18, 2010 – Annie Bode Callahan won summary judgment in favor of their client in a complex product liability case. The plaintiffs claimed that respiratory protection products manufactured by Mine Safety Appliances Company caused or contributed to cause Robert Savage to develop silicosis, an occupational lung disease. Aggressive defensive of the lawsuit during extensive discovery revealed that Mr. Savage’s silicosis was sustained and capable of ascertainment more than five years prior to the filing of the lawsuit, and therefore the plaintiffs’ claims were barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The United Stated District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri agreed, and entered judgment in favor of MSA. Robert and Ruth Savage v. Mine Safety Appliances Company, 2010 WL 4000620 (E.D. Mo.)

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Discusses the Use of Certificates of Need for Hospitals

    Friday, October 15, 2010 – Lashly & Baer attorney, Richard D. Watters, discusses a proposed three-bed hospital in Poplar Bluff, Missouri in the St. Louis Business Journal.  Click here to read the article.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney, Lisa O. Stump, Discusses Cyberbullying on KSDK

    Monday, October 11, 2010 – Lisa O. Stump appeared on the KSDK NewsChannel 5 at noon with Kathleen Berger discussing cyber bullying and what laws are in place to protect children.  View the KSDK interview in the archives of KSDK.com.

  • Lashly & Baer Lawyers Selected for 2010 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, and Rising Stars

    October 2010 – 2010 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected eight Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers who were nominated by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers. They are John Fox ArnoldKenneth C. BrostronKevin L. FritzJames C. HetlageStephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf2010 Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars has selected Mark R. FeldhausPatrick E. Foppe, and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner as top young lawyers in Missouri and Kansas.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Credited for His Role in Revitalizing Downtown St. Louis

    Friday, October 8, 2010 – Lashly & Baer attorney, John Fox Arnold, co-chaired the 1999 revitalization plan for downtown St. Louis.  Click here to view article by the St. Louis Business Journal.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Welcomes Two New Associates

    Thursday, September 30, 2010 – Rebecca M. Christensen and Cecelia K. Carroll have joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as associates. Rebecca M. Christensen holds a J.D. from Washington University School of Law and practices in the area of litigation. She is a 2004 graduate of Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Religion. She is a member of American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, and the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis. Cecelia K. Carroll holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and practices in the area of toxic tort litigation. She is a 2004 graduate of Trinity University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with minors in Spanish and Economics. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, Women Lawyers’ Association, and Lawyers for Equality. Download Press Release

  • Matthew S. McBride Named Up & Coming Lawyers

    Monday, September 28, 2009 – Matthew S. McBride was selected as Missouri Lawyer’s Weekly Up & Coming Lawyers for standing out for their dedication to learning, teaching and improving their communities. Awards presentation will be held on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at The Champion Club at Busch Stadium.

  • Local Firm Gets Top Rankings From U.S. News & World Report

    Thursday, September 16, 2010 – U.S. News & World Report and The Best Lawyers in America® have released the inaugural 2010 Best Law Firms rankings, and St. Louis’ Lashly & Baer, P.C., has been given top marks in the St. Louis region.  This marks the first time that a comprehensive ranking of law firms has been published.

    In the St. Louis rankings, Lashly & Baer was listed as “Tier 1” in Health Care Law, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, while earning “Tier 2” in Corporate Law.

    In addition to this recognition, three attorneys from Lashly & Baer have been included in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.  Richard D. Watters, listed in Health Care Law, joins a distinguished group of attorneys who have been included in Best Lawyers for 20 years or longer.  Also listed in Best Lawyers were John Fox Arnold in Corporate Law and Kenneth C. Brostron in Medical Malpractice Law and Personal Injury Litigation.

    Download Press Release

  • Education Associations Publish Cyberbullying Article

    September 15, 2010 – Two statewide education associations have published an article by Lashly & Baer attorney Lisa O. Stump on the responsibilities of school districts in reporting and handling cases of cyberbullying. The Missouri Association of School Psychologists printed the article in its September 2010 newsletter, as did the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals.  To download the article, click here.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorney Discusses Cyberbullying on KMOX Radio

    Thursday, August 12, 2010 – Lisa O. Stump appeared on the Hancock and Kelly Show on KMOX Radio AM 1120 discussing cyberbullying, tips on handling a potentially harmful social media encounter, and the responsibility of teachers and schools.  Listen to the KMOX interview by clicking here.

  • Six Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Recognized Super Lawyers – Corporate Counsel Edition

    September/October 2009 – Margaret M. Mooney has been selected for inclusion in the Super Lawyers – Corporate Counsel Edition for Civil Litigation Defense. In addition, Judith C. BrostronKenneth C. BrostronStephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith, and Wendy J. Wolf have been selected for Personal Injury Defense: Medical Malpractice. Inclusion in Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers indicates those lawyers who were nominated by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers.

  • Stark Law Refresher

    Stuart J. Vogelsmeier submitted an article in the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Greater St. Louis Chapter Summer 2010 Newsletter entitled “Stark Law Refresher.” Click here to download a copy of the article or visit the HFMA Greater St. Louis Chapter website to view their Summer 2010 Newsletter.

  • Lashly & Baer Client Gets $215,000 Property Tax Refund

    Thursday, July 15, 2010 – Lashly & Baer attorney, Michael D. Regan, successfully appealed a commercial property tax assessment on behalf of the owner of an apartment complex in St. Louis County.  The decision of the Missouri State Tax Commission reduced the assessed valuation of the property by more than 50% and will result in a tax refund to the client of approximately $215,000.

  • Lashly & Baer Attorneys Win Jury Verdicts for SLUCare and US Bancorp

    June was a successful month for the litigation section of Lashly & Baer. Stephen G. Reuter and Stephen L. Beimdiek both achieved winning results in the St. Louis City Circuit Court for their clients, SLUCare and US Bancorp.

    In a medical malpractice case, Mr. Reuter won a jury verdict in favor of SLUCare. The patient’s family alleged that a doctor at the Saint Louis University Liver Transplant Center should have evaluated the patient for a liver transplant sooner. The patient was referred to St. Louis for liver transplant evaluation by a physician in Arkansas. The SLUCare Hepatologist diagnosed autoimmune hepatitis, an element of the patient’s liver disease which had not been worked-up before referral. He attempted treatment of this, but the patient failed to follow doctor’s directives. Her liver disease progressed and ultimately the doctor did determine she would need a liver transplant. However, due to Medicaid rules, the evaluation and transplant surgery would have to take place in Arkansas, where the patient lived. The woman died six weeks after the transplant evaluation began in Arkansas. Mr. Reuter and his experts took the position that the diagnosis of autoimmune hepatitis was correct and that the treatment, when taken, was working. The patient’s non-compliance prevented further improvement and postponement, for years, the need for transplant. The defense also questioned why the Arkansas Liver Transplant Center did not complete the evaluation in the six weeks following their initial meeting with the patient. Experts testified at the trial that a transplant evaluation could be completed within one to two weeks. The jury deliberated for 53 minutes before returning their verdict. (Stephanie Daniels et al v. Saint Louis University)

    A jury also found in favor of Stephen L. Beimdiek’s client, US Bancorp, in a “slip and fall” civil suit. The plaintiff, an 81-year old man, said he slipped and fell on a patch of ice outside a US Bank facility in St. Louis while waiting for the bank to open. Mr. Beimdiek argued that the bank’s premises had been treated for snow and ice removal and the plaintiff fell because he failed to take ordinary care. After deliberating for 45 minutes, the jury at the Saint Louis City Circuit Court agreed in favor of US Bancorp, finding the plaintiff 100 percent at fault.  (Gerald Meyer v. US Bancorp)

    Download Article

  • CMS Launches Website on Electronic Health Records Incentive Programs

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has launched a special website about Electronic Health Records (EHR) incentive programs. The Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals and eligible hospitals as they adopt, implement, upgrade or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology. The programs begin in 2011. The link to this website is: http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms/. Providers who are interested in EHR incentive payments should contact their Lashly & Baer attorney, or any attorney in our Health Care practice.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Obtained Two Certificates of Need from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee

    On July 12, 2010, attorneys Richard D. Watters and Margaret Scavotto of Lashly & Baer, P.C. obtained 2 certificates of need from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee:

    • Vision Ventures, LLC and Chesterfield Senior Care, LLC received approval to build Chesterfield Senior Care, a 51 bed assisted living facility to be built in Chesterfield, with faith-based, intergenerational assisted living care for seniors, as well as memory care.

    • FSP-Ballwin, LLC and Amberton Senior Living Services, LLC received approval to build FSP-Ballwin Senior Living, a 98-bed assisted living facility that will provide assisted living services, including memory care, to seniors in the Ballwin area.

  • Confidentiality of Student Records

    On Friday, June 11, 2010, Lisa O. Stump presented to school board members, superintendents, and board secretaries at the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) Leadership Summit on the topic of the Confidentiality of Student Records including the requirements under the 2009 amendments to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  Download Presentation

  • Lashly & Baer Prepares Guide to Missouri Nursing Law

    Attorney Richard D. Watters, along with law clerks Timothy M. Cronin, Rebecca A. Murphy and Kristin J. Steinkamp, compiled and annotated the Annotated Guide to Missouri Nursing Laws and Regulations, 1st Edition including Nursing Practice Act, Collaborative Practice Law, Board of Nursing Rules & Position Statements and Other Nursing-Related Laws & Rules (2009).

  • Midkiff v. Mine Safety Appliances Company, 2010 WL 1687123 (E.D.Mo.)

    Michael J. Smith and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner won a summary judgment in favor of their client in a complex product liability case. The plaintiff claimed that he developed the occupational lung disease of silicosis, and alleged that the defendant’s respiratory protection products were to blame. After aggressively defending the claims and sifting through thousands of pages of documents, Lashly & Baer attorneys discovered information that made clear that the plaintiff did not bring his lawsuit in a timely manner. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri agreed, and entered judgment in favor of MSA.

  • Old Dogs; New Tricks

    Friday, May 21, 2010 – After nearly a half century, one of Lashly & Baer’s members, Charles E. Valier, returned to the classroom to sit for a Master of Liberal Arts degree in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.  Charlie was selected by his classmates to speak on their behalf at the Graduation Recognition Ceremony on May 19, 2010.  His classmates had, however, urged him not to share his personal, first-hand recollections of the Schism in the Swiss Reform Church in 1588, which is the subject matter of his Dissertation.

  • Lashly & Baer is a Proud Sponsor of the KIDS’ Chance

    May 3, 2010 – Lashly & Baer is a proud sponsor of the KIDS’ Chance national conference which was held in St. Louis on April 30, 2010 and May 1, 2010. Missouri KIDS’ Chance hosted the conference with delegates attending from the 26 member states with KIDS’ Chance chapters. KIDS’ Chance is a charitable organization providing scholarships to children whose parents are severely injured or deceased due to work-related accidents.

    The mission of Missouri KIDS’ Chance is “to improve the educational choices of children whose families have sustained an economic loss. The loss must have been a result of a serious injury or death caused by an accident or injury which has been found to be compensable under Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law.” Eric Christensen, a Lashly & Baer attorney, serves on the Board of Directors of Missouri KIDS’ Chance.

  • Managing and Preserving Your Assets

    Stuart J. Vogelsmeier spoke on Saturday, April 17, 2010 at the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society’s Spring CME Program on “Protecting Your Assets in Times of Crisis.”

  • Nursing Mothers Get Unpaid Breaks in Health Care Law

    Friday, April 9, 2010 – While employers are trying to quickly understand their current and future health insurance obligations and costs under the newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, other little-known provisions of the Act are coming to light. One of these provisions is the Nursing Mother Amendment, which adds to the Fair Labor Standards Act a requirement that all U.S. employers covered by the FLSA allow nursing mothers to take unpaid breaks to express breast milk.

    The Nursing Mother Amendment, which appears in Section 4207 of the PPACA, is effective immediately.  Under the Amendment, all FLSA-covered employers have two obligations: First, an employer must permit a “reasonable break time” for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for the first year of the child’s life. These breaks must be given “each time such employee has need to express the milk.” The Amendment does not define “reasonable,” nor does it identify the number of breaks that must be given during a work day. Instead, the number and duration of the breaks appears to be dictated by the amount of time and frequency the mother claims to need to express the milk.  Read more…

  • HIPAA, HITECH, and the accessibility, security and privacy of Electronic Medical Records

    Thursday, April 8, 2010 – Richard D. Watters will be speaking at the 20th Annual Coming Together in Advanced Practice Nursing Conference sponsored by the Missouri Nurses Association, which is scheduled to take place at the Holiday Inn Select, Columbia, Missouri, on April 15 & 16.  Mr. Watters will be speaking on the topic of HIPAA, HITECH, and the accessibility, security and privacy of Electronic Medical Records.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Receives Approval for a 32-Bed Expansion for Client

    March 2, 2010 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. client Crystal Oaks, a skilled nursing facility in Crystal City, Missouri, has received approval for a 32-bed expansion for rehab services.  Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorneys, Richard D. Watters and Margaret Scavotto, represented Crystal Oaks before the Missouri Health Care Facilities Review Committee on January 11, 2010, at which time the project received approval.  Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, is providing counsel to Crystal Oaks on corporate and financing issues related to the project.

    Click here to view article published in the St. Louis Business Journal.

  • Social Networking Websites In The Public Workplace What’s Legal; What’s Not

    2/25/2010            Download Article

    What restrictions can you impose as a public employer on an employee’s use of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogging, etc.? Social networks have become part of many people’s day-to-day work. Approximately 54% of large employers block social networks completely at work, while 19% of large employers limit employee access to social networking websites to business related activities. The rapid growth of online social networks is blurring the lines between professional and private lives.

    The use of social network sites is not a fad. In 2010, Gen Y will outnumber Baby Boomers, and 96% of them have already joined social networks. Everyone from government agencies to Fortune 500 Companies is engaging in use of social network sites, and so are their employees. Government agencies are harnessing social media websites to reach out to constituents. For example, cities use Twitter and Facebook to keep residents up to date on street closures, events, and other issues. Universities and local public school districts are taking cues from their students and are jumping onto social networking websites. School districts set up Twitter and Facebook accounts to break news about upcoming events or to publicize their achievements. Social websites make it easier and faster to reach a larger and more diverse audience. (more…)

  • Federal Government Pursues Defendants For Medicare Lien

    2/25/10            Download Article

    A new case, U.S. v. Stricker, was filed on December 1, 2009, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. In the suit, the United States seeks reimbursement of conditional payments made by Medicare on behalf of some 907 beneficiaries, all plaintiffs in a previously settled lawsuit. This Stricker case is significant in that it is the first case in which the United States has brought claims against all parties, in a single action, to seek reimbursement for the conditional payments made by the Medicare program for the medical care provided to personal injury plaintiffs. Reimbursement is sought not only from the plaintiffs and their counsel, but from the defendants and their insurers. Likewise, it appears the government is seeking reimbursement not only for conditional payments made prior to the settlement, but perhaps for conditional payments made post settlement as well. The underlying case was a consolidated action wherein multiple plaintiffs claimed injuries resulting from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) from a chemical plant in Alabama. It was settled for $300 million in 2003. (more…)

  • RICO Obstacle Removed For Business Owners

    February 25, 2010 – RICO is a powerful cause of action which may be used to protect your interests against the entities which have defrauded you or your business. One bar to its use in Missouri and certain other states was a requirement that you, the plaintiff, relied upon the misrepresentations of the parties which caused you harm. This same requirement, however, did not exist if the same cause of action was filed by the United States Attorneys’ office as a criminal matter. This conflict has been resolved by a recent United States Supreme Court decision.

    The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 – 1968 (“civil RICO”) provides that “[a]ny person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.” As such, it is a powerful piece of legislation.

    Download Article

  • John Fox Arnold selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as a Most Influential St. Louisan

    February 19, 2010 – Lashly & Baer attorney John Fox Arnold was selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as a Most Influential St. Louisan.

  • EMPLOYER BEWARE: Employers Face Increased Wrongful Discharge Claims

    February 9, 2010 – Recent rulings from the Missouri Supreme Court gives Missouri employers cause for concern. On February 9, 2010, in three separate opinions, the Court continued to erode the employment at-will doctrine and kept course with its recent pro-employee holdings. For the first time, the Missouri Supreme Court expressly adopted the cause of action for wrongful discharge based on the public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine. The Court ruled that an at-will employee may not be terminated for: (1) refusing to violate the law or any well-established and clear mandate of public policy as expressed in the constitution, statutes, regulations promulgated pursuant to statute, or rules created by a governmental body; or (2) reporting wrongdoing or violations of law to superiors or public authorities, i.e. whistle-blowing. Read more.

  • Tort Un-Reform in Illinois

    On February 4, 2010, the Illinois Supreme Court again held that noneconomic damages caps are unconstitutional in the State of Illinois. Click here to learn more about the Illinois ruling or pending Missouri case.

  • James C. Hetlage and Michael D. Regan of Lashly & Baer, P.C. Settle Condemnation Case for $410,000

    January 25, 2010 – The Missouri Highways and Transportation paid Lashly & Baer’s clients $410,000 for the acquisition of approximately seven acres of flood plain land for the expansion of Highway 141 in St. Louis County, Missouri. The Department of Transportation had originally offered the property owner approximately $50,000 for the acquisition of approximately 2.5 acres of the parcel and proposed to leave the property owner with two unusable remnants after the taking. The property owners were able to negotiate a settlement, after presenting expert testimony at the condemnation commissioners’ hearing, that entailed a taking of the full seven-acre parcel of flood plain and recovery of $410,000. The property owners were represented by James C. Hetlage and Michael D. Regan of Lashly & Baer, P.C.

  • Obtained Five Certificates of Need from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee:

    On January 11, 2010, attorneys Richard D. Watters and Margaret Scavotto of Lashly & Baer, P.C. obtained 5 certificates of need from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee:

    • Flint Hill Care and Rehabilitation Center received approval to build a 240 bed skilled nursing facility in St. Charles County.
    • Vintage Park of St. Joseph and Vintage Senior Living, Inc. received approval to add 45 assisted living beds to its existing campus of assisted living and independent living apartments in St. Joseph, Missouri.
    • St. Luke’s Episcopal-Presbyterian Hospital obtained approval to acquire a Siemens Artis Zeego angiography system for use in a hybrid operating room capable of performing both surgical and minimally invasive endovascular procedures.
    • Crystal Oaks Long Term Care and JMH Diversified Health Care received approval to expand the Crystal Oaks skilled nursing facility by adding 32 beds for short-term rehabilitation and Alzheimer’s care.
    • Patients First Health Care, LLC received approval to replace its existing MRI with a Siemens 1.5 T Magnetom Espree open bore MRI system.
  • Making the Case for Uniform Law in Missouri

    An article written by John Fox Arnold, “Making the Case for Uniform Law in Missouri,” was published in the December 2009 issue of the St. Louis Bar Journal.  Mr. Arnold has represented Missouri in the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws since 1973.  During his tenure, he has served as a member of more than a dozen drafting and review committees including the drafting of the Uniform Securities Act, the Uniform Partnership Act, and the Uniform Commercial Code Article 2 (Sales), Article 2A (Leases), and Article 8 (Investment Securities).

  • Judith C. Brostron Wins Appeal on Dismissal of Illinois Public Entity Hospital

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009 – In a matter of first impression (Kristin Kaufmann v. Jersey Community Hospital, et al.), the Appellate Court considered the interpretation of the statute of limitations applicable to public entity hospitals. The case involved alleged sexual assault by a physician while the plaintiff was a patient at the hospital. The Court determined that the doctor’s actions did not “arise out of patient care,” therefore, the 1-year statute of limitations rather than the longer 2-year statute of limitations of the amended statute applied to the public entity hospital.
    Lashly & Baer partner, Judith C. Brostron, won the appeal on dismissal.

  • Three Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Included in The Best Lawyers in America

    Wednesday, November 25, 2009 – The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. is proud to announce that John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law), Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law; Personal Injury Litigation); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law) have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

  • Certificate of Need Obtained For A Hybrid Endovascular Suite With A Three-Dimensional Neurological Biplane

    Monday, November 16, 2009 – Attorneys Richard D. Watters and Margaret Scavotto of Lashly & Baer, P.C. obtained a certificate of need from the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee, which will enable Saint Francis Medical Center to build a hybrid endovascular suite with a three-dimensional neurological biplane. This suite will enable Saint Francis Medical Center to provide life-saving minimally invasive procedures to patients in rural Missouri who suffer an aneurysm.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Selected as 2009 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers

    Monday, November 2, 2009 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected eight Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers, who were nominated by their peers, as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers. They are John Fox Arnold, Kenneth C. Brostron, Kevin L. Fritz, Stefan J. Glynias, James C. Hetlage, Stephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith and Richard D. Watters.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Clients Recognized for Ultrasound Imaging With Smartphone

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. clients, William D. Richard and David Zar, have been recognized for their development of coupling USB-based ultrasound probe technology with a smartphone. This portable ultrasound probe technology can be used by medical personnel in remote areas of developing countries. Richard, Associate Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University developed the lower-power probe electronics design. Zar, Research Associate in Computer Science and Engineering at Washington University, wrote the phone software and firmware for the probe. Richard and Zar have been recognized in the Fall Washington University Magazine, and have appeared on CNBC, Lashly & Baer partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier, represents Mr. Richard and Mr. Zar.

  • Midsize law firms find opportunity in recession

    Friday, October 16, 2009 – Kenneth C. Brostron was quoted in the St. Louis Business Journal as saying, “I was told several years ago that there was no place for a midsized firm, I didn’t agree with that then and still don’t. Our net number of lawyers has gone up in the last couple of years.” Article can be viewed by subscribers at here.

  • Kevin L. Fritz and Patrick E. Foppe of Lashly & Baer, P.C. Settle Case for $16 Million

    Thursday, October 15, 2009 – Defendants involved in the production of the Brett Michael’s “Rock of Love Bus” series televised on MTV and VH-1 paid William and Colleen Wiley $16,000,000.00 in a recent St. Clair County, Illinois settlement. The case arose from a September 26, 2008 accident involving a crew member of 51 Minds Entertainment, LLC, a Hollywood production company, who fell asleep and crossed the southbound lanes of I-57 near West Frankfort, Illinois. The accident left the Wileys of Tallahassee, Florida seriously injured. The driver did not possess a valid driver’s license and tested positive for marijuana use after the accident. The Wiley’s had sought punitive damages against the driver’s employer for wrongfully retaining and supervising the driver. The Wileys were represented by Kevin L. Fritz, Patrick E. Foppe and Lashly & Baer, P.C., which has offices in St. Louis, Missouri and Belleville, Illinois.

  • Lashly & Baer attorney will be presenting on Social-Networking Websites

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009 – James C. Hetlage will be presenting “Social-Networking Websites in the Workplace: What’s Legal; What’s Not” at the Missouri School Boards’ Association Annual Convention in Osage Beach, Missouri from October 22 – 25, 2009.  The MSBA Annual Convention is the largest annual gathering of public school policymakers in Missouri.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. teams with Servpro to Support Backstoppers

    Tuesday, October 13, 2009 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. was a sponsor of the 1st Annual Servpro Golf Tournament to Benefit the Backstoppers on October 12, 2009 at Old Hickory Golf Club, which raised over $10,000 to benefit Backstoppers. “Servpro was honored to support Backstoppers,” said Servpro of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills/Fention/South Ballwin owner Jeff Chestnas. “Backstoppers are there for the families who have lost loved ones. These men and women put their lives on the line every day to serve our community. We want to support these families,” Chestnas added. “Our business partners like Lashly & Baer, P.C. helped make this tournament a success,” said Sandy Chestnas, owner of Servpro of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills/Fenton/South Ballwin. “We are grateful for their support.”

    Servpro is the nation’s leading provider of emergency clean-up and restoration services. Lashly & Baer, P.C. partner, Stuart J. Vogelsmeier provides legal services to Servpro of West Kirkwood/Sunset Hills/Fention/South Ballwin.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Acknowledged by American Bar Association for Continued Support

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. has been recognized by the American Bar Association for making the ABA membership a top priority.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Named one of the Best Law Firms for 2009/2010 by Small Business Monthly

    St. Louis Small Business Monthly has named Lashly & Baer, P.C. one of the Best Law Firms in 2009.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces Nancy R. Vidal Named Partner

    Thursday, July 16, 2009 – The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces that Nancy R. Vidal has been named partner. Ms. Vidal has been with the firm since 2005, and her primary practice includes defending health care providers and health care institutions in medical malpractice litigation. She holds a JD and Health Law Certificate from Saint Louis University, a Masters of Science degree from the University of California, and a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, magna cum laude, from Saint Louis University.

  • Margaret Scavotto Featured in Volunteer Spotlight at Washington University

    Summer 2009 – Margaret Scavotto was featured in the Washington University Alumni Volunteer Spotlight for her efforts to contribute and stay connected to Washington University.

  • Stuart J. Vogelsmeier Named 2009 FIVE STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager

    Monday, March 2, 2009 – Stuart J. Vogelsmeier of Lashly & Baer, P.C. was selected as a 2009 FIVE STAR: Best in Client Satisfaction Wealth Manager by St. Louis Magazine, in connection with his representation of health care providers and business owners.

  • Top St. Louis Leaders – St. Louis Business Journal

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. attorney John Fox Arnold was selected by the St. Louis Business Journal as a Top St. Louis Leader. View article.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Named Go-To Law Firm

    Monday, January 5, 2009 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. has been named a Go-To Law Firm for In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 Companies by American Lawyer Media’s Corporate Counsel magazine. Lashly & Baer, P.C. was nominated by a Fortune 500 client in the area of litigation.

  • Three Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Included in The Best Lawyers in America

    Monday, December 29, 2008 – The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. is proud to announce that John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law), Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law; Personal Injury Litigation); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law) have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

  • Nine Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Selected as 2008 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers

    Tuesday, October 28, 2008 – 2008 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected nine Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers who were nominated by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers. They are John Fox ArnoldJudith C. BrostronKenneth C. Brostron, Stefan J. Glynias, Margaret M. MooneyStephen G. Reuter, Michael J. Smith, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf. In addition, Kenneth C. Brostron has been selected as the Top 50 St. Louis lawyers.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Adds One New Associate

    Monday, September 22, 2008 – Anne B. Callahan has joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as an associate. Callahan holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and practices in the area of litigation. She is a 2002 graduate of Trinity University, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Economics, and a Minor in French and Environmental Studies.

  • Kevin L. Fritz Named Officer of USLAW NETWORK, Inc.’s Transportation Group

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008 – Kevin L. Fritz, a partner with the law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. was recently named an officer of the USLAW NETWORK, Inc.’s Transportation Group. USLAW NETWORK, Inc. is a national organization composed of more than 60 independent firms in 45 states with over 3,500 attorneys.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces Matthew S. McBride Named Partner

    Tuesday, September 2, 2008 – The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces that Matthew S. McBride has been named partner. McBride has been with the firm since 2005 and engages primarily in litigation throughout the state and federal courts of Missouri and Illinois with an emphasis on commercial litigation and corporate law issues. McBride holds a J.D. from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and is a 1995 graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, in Finance and Banking.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces Opening of Belleville Office

    Monday, August 4, 2008 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. announces the opening of an office in Belleville, Illinois at 20 East Main Street. The firm’s main office is in downtown St. Louis, Missouri at 714 Locust Street.

  • Gov. Blunt Appoints John Fox Arnold as Chair of St. Louis County Election Board

    Thursday, June 12, 2008 – Gov. Matt Blunt has appointed John Fox Arnold as chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners. Mr. Arnold is returning to the commission having previously served as its chairman. Mr. Arnold, 70 of St. Louis, is Chairman of Lashly & Baer, P.C. Mr. Arnold served as chairman of the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners from 1981-1985. He holds a bachelor’s degree and bachelor of laws degree from the University of Missouri School of Law. His appointment is subject to Senate confirmation for a term ending on January 10, 2009.

  • McDaniel Receives Senior Lawyer Award from Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis

    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 – James E. McDaniel, current president of the St. Louis Bar Foundation, was Awarded the William L. Weiss Award by the Board of Governors of The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis under the auspices of the Senior Lawyers Committee, in grateful recognition of his long and dedicated service to the organized Bar. Mr. McDaniel has over numerous years of involvement and participation rendered distinguished leadership and guidance to lawyers and significant service to the public, as did William L. Weiss.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Adds Two New Associates

    Tuesday, April 22, 2008 – Patrick E. Foppe and Sarah J. Hugg-Turner have joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as associates. Foppe holds a J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and focuses his practice in the areas of toxic tort litigation and transportation law. He is a 2004 graduate of Saint Louis University with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Administration. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Madison County Bar Association, the St. Clair County Bar Association, and the River City Professionals. Hugg holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School and practices in the areas of litigation, premises liability, business litigation, personal injury defense, and labor and employment. She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Illinois State Bar Association, and the St. Louis County Bar Association.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Names Chair of Private Business Group

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008 – Lashly & Baer, P.C. named Michael D. Regan Chair of the firm’s Private Business Group.

  • Three Lashly & Baer, P.C. Attorneys Included in The Best Lawyers in America

    The law firm of Lashly & Baer, P.C. is proud to announce that John Fox Arnold (Corporate Law), Kenneth C. Brostron (Medical Malpractice Law; Personal Injury Litigation); and Richard D. Watters (Health Care Law) have been selected by their peers for inclusion in the 13th edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Announces John Fox Arnold’s Recent Short-Term Appointment by the Center of International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria

    John Fox Arnold was selected by the Center for International Legal Studies in Salzburg, Austria, in cooperation with law faculties in Eastern Europe and the former states of the Soviet Union, for a short-term appointment as a visiting professor to acquaint students and junior faculty of the host institution to particular areas of common law legal systems. He joined the Faculty of Law of the Azov Regional Management Institute of the Zaporizhya State University in Berdyansk, Ukraine, to conduct a short seminar on business law during the fall term of 2007.

  • Nine Lashly & Baer, P.C. Lawyers Selected as 2007 Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers

    Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers has selected nine Lashly & Baer, P.C. lawyers who were nominated by their peers as being in the top 5% of Missouri and Kansas lawyers. They are John Fox Arnold, Judith C. Brostron, Kenneth C. Brostron, Stefan J. Glynias, Margaret M. Mooney, Stephen G. Reuter, Charlie E. Valier, Richard D. Watters, and Wendy J. Wolf. In addition, Kenneth C. Brostron was listed in the Top 100 Missouri and Kansas lawyers; and Kenneth C. Brostron and Richard D. Watters were listed in the Top 50 St. Louis lawyers.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Adds New Associate

    Margaret C. Scavotto has recently joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as an associate. Scavotto holds a J.D. from Washington University School of Law and focuses her practice in the areas of corporate law, health care law, and estate planning. Before joining Lashly & Baer, P.C., Scavotto clerked for the Honorable Kenneth M. Romines on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District. She is 2002 graduate of Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, and the Illinois State Bar Association.

  • Richard Watters profiled in St. Louis Business Journal’s – Partners in Healthcare

    Richard Watters, Lashly & Baer, P.C.’s Chairman of the Health Law Practice was profiled in St. Louis Business Journal’s Partners in Healthcare section.  View profile here.

  • Citizens for Modern Transit, July 2007

    Lashly & Baer, P.C. has been listed as one of St. Louis’ Best Workplaces for Commuters by Citizens for Modern Transit. The Firm has met the E.P.A.’s national standard for the Best Workplaces for Commuters Program based on the Firm’s transportation benefit program.

  • Missouri Bar Association’s Annual Medical Malpractice Continuing Legal Education Seminar

    Michael J. Smith was an invited speaker at the Missouri Bar Association’s Annual Medical Malpractice CLE Seminar. This year’s seminar was entitled “The Defense of Medical Malpractice Cases After Tort Reform.” Mr. Smith spoke on the topics of closing argument and jury instructions.

  • Lawrence J. Wadsack Panelist on Legal Ramifications of Providing Alcohol for Minors

    Lawrence J. Wadsack was invited to speak at Marquette High School’s Parent Night workshop entitled “Those Who Lose the Most” regarding underage drinking and the consequences of serving alcohol to minors. Mr. Wadsack spoke on the liability of providing or allowing alcohol at after-prom parties and all underage/minor parties.

    View Suburban Journals article entitled Prom night perils: Schools focus on safety education featuring a reference to Mr. Wadsack’s as a panelist.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Adds New Member

    Matthew J. Eddy has recently joined Lashly & Baer, P.C. as a member. Eddy holds a J.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and concentrates his practice in various areas of civil litigation including wrongful death, personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability, toxic torts, and general negligence. Eddy is a 1989 graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Finance. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, and Defense Research Institute.

  • Lashly & Baer, P.C. Referenced in St. Louis Commerce Magazine

    Linda F. Jarrett’s St. Louis Commerce Magazine article in February 2007 edition profiles Attorneys And The Firms That Recruit Them and includes quotes from Kevin Fritz of Lashly & Baer, P.C.

  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly, 21 M.O.I.W. 111

    Top Defense Verdicts of 2006

    Anna Carmi v. Brent V. Stromberg M.D., et al.

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