Media Items

Danna McKitrick Promotes J. Clifton Smith to Associate

Litigation Group Grows With Addition of New Associate

J. Clifton Smith Attorney at Law

J. Clifton Smith
Attorney at Law

St. Louis, MO – December 3, 2013 – Danna McKitrick, P.C. has announced that J. Clifton “Cliff” Smith has been promoted to associate in the firm’s ligation department. Smith assists in representing individuals and corporations in civil litigation primarily related to public pensions, business law, securities, trusts, entertainment law and intellectual property.

“Danna McKitrick is an ideal place for me to begin my legal career,” said Smith. “Since I started out as a law clerk, I’ve had the benefit of learning from a talented group of attorneys and staff members, all of whom are very approachable and eager to share their knowledge and experience. The work we do is meaningful to our clients and to the St. Louis community as a whole, and I am thankful for the opportunity to do such rewarding work as a young attorney.”

During law school, Smith worked as a law clerk with Danna McKitrick and assisted its attorneys on litigation and other matters in the areas of public pensions (including the Firemen’s Retirement System lawsuit against the City of St. Louis), business law, trusts, and intellectual property.

“Cliff came to us at the recommendation of one of our clients when he wanted to transition from IT work to legal services, and it was a real win for us,” said David R. Bohm, principal and chair of Danna McKitrick’s litigation department. “He started with us as a law clerk while still in law school, and recently passed the bar. We are tremendously happy that he accepted our offer of a position as an associate with our firm. Cliff is tremendously bright, hardworking and conscientious, and has already contributed to several client matters in a meaningful way. We are quite certain that, with experience, Cliff will become a top notch litigator.” Continue reading »

Missouri Supreme Court Denies Transfer in Coinco Legal Malpractice Case

On August 13, 2013, the Missouri Supreme Court denied transfer, bringing to an end this long and high-stakes litigation.  The Missouri Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, had previously affirmed the summary judgment granted by Judge Robert H. Dierker, Jr., in favor of the lawyers and law firms on Coinco’s claims related to a disputed patent, where the attorneys involved had allegedly mishandled patent infringement litigation. Judge Dierker had previously dismissed Coinco’s other patent-related claims based on the statute of limitations, and that had also been affirmed on appeal.

Collectively the claims were for $28 million against the attorneys and law firms who represented Coinco in the original litigation, which began in 1990, and involved multiple Mars patents involving several coin acceptor designs used in vending machines. Coinco ultimately lost its patent-infringement case, paying Mars a total of $27.7 million.

The federal court judge in the underlying Mars v. Coinco case originally ruled in Coinco’s favor when he deemed the Mars’ patent invalid, thus finding no patent infringement by Coinco. However, following reargument, the judge changed his opinion on the validity and deemed the patent valid, which caused the patent infringement claims against Coinco to stand. By “correcting” his previous opinion, the judge ruled in favor of Mars and against Coinco on the merits. Continue reading »

Attorney Misty Watson Discusses Air Travel for Persons with Disabilities

With all of its security precautions, flight delays, connecting flights, etc., air travel for any passenger is stressful. Just imagine the difficulties of air travel for persons with special needs.

Attorney Misty Watson discusses the legal rights of passengers with disabilities with Christine Buck on KPLR11-TV.

Watch the video:

For more information on travel for persons with special needs, read Misty’s blog post “Lessening the Stress of Travel for Travelers with Disabilities.”


Misty A. Watson Honored at 2013 International Women’s Day Celebration

Misty A. Watson Attorney at Law

Misty A. Watson
Attorney at Law

St. Louis, Mo. – April 16, 2013 – Danna McKitrick, P.C. Attorney Misty A. Watson has been recognized by the Washington University Women’s Law Caucus as an International Women’s Day 2013 Honoree. The Women’s Law Caucus celebrated its 40th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day by recognizing Watson and eight others for their volunteer work in the legal community and their contributions to the advancements of women in law.

Watson was honored for her work as a volunteer lawyer at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (LSEM).  Watson is the co-founder of the Guardianship and Older Adult Life Planning Project (GOAL Planning Project), a new project offered by LSEM in conjunction with Washington University School of Law. The GOAL Planning Project provides legal assistance for those seeking guardianship over another individual and assists individuals age 60 and above with preparing life planning documents, such as wills, living wills, or durable powers of attorney, and medical care directives. Individuals must qualify financially for assistance through LSEM.

Past honorees include: Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court; Jean Carnahan, former U.S. Senator; Robin Carnahan, former Missouri Secretary of State; and Hon. Catherine Perry, Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri. Continue reading »

Attorney Matthew R. Fields Moves Practice to Danna McKitrick

St. Louis Law Firm Expands Insurance Defense Practice, Adds Toxic Tort Defense

Matthew R. Fields Attorney at Law

Matthew R. Fields
Attorney at Law

St. Louis, Mo. – March 5, 2013 – The law firm of Danna McKitrick, P.C. has announced that Matthew R. Fields has joined the firm as its newest principal. Fields joins Danna McKitrick’s litigation practice, where he focuses on toxic tort litigation, defending claims of harm to health or damage to property allegedly caused by product exposure, particularly asbestos.

Fields’ practice includes insurance defense and commercial litigation. His trial experience includes jury trials to verdict in favor of his clients. He also has tried successful multimillion dollar cases involving issues such as personal injury, contractual disputes, and fraud.

“Danna McKitrick is proud to have Matt Fields join our litigation team,” said Dan Tobben, principal and head of the litigation practice. “The work he is doing in the area of toxic tort litigation expands our litigation practice into a new service area. We have a strong insurance defense team, and Matt’s experience will add even greater depth.”

Due to his extensive tort litigation and insurance defense experience, Fields has become a frequent speaker and author on topics relating to tort litigation as well as managing complex insurance coverage cases and mastering the art of effective depositions. Continue reading »

Kevin E. Myers is Newly Elected Principal at Danna McKitrick, P.C.

Law Firm Promotes Insurance Lawyer

St. Louis, Mo. – February 12, 2013 – The law firm of Danna McKitrick, P.C., is pleased to announce the election of Kevin E. Myers to the position of principal, effective February 1, 2013. Myers advises and represents clients in matters involving insurance coverage and disputes over policy analysis. He also represents individuals, insurers and businesses in tort and contract matters throughout Missouri and Illinois, with a concentration in insurance coverage, extra-contractual and bad faith litigation.

“Kevin is an excellent lawyer,” said Dan Tobben, principal and head of litigation at the firm. “Kevin is very bright and hard working. He is committed to zealously representing his clients, and understands the need to do so in a cost-effective manner. These traits, along with his extensive experience in representing insurance companies and tort defendants, help Kevin to consistently obtain the best results possible for his clients. We are extremely pleased and proud that he has agreed to become a principal in our firm.”

When asked why he joined Danna McKitrick, Myers stated,

“I like the challenge of examining complex issues from many angles and finding solutions in areas of law that are constantly changing, which I regularly get to do at Danna McKitrick. I’ve found that close attention to detail and rigorous logical analysis have been the two most important tools in my practice, whether in advising a client as to the rights and duties under a contract or insurance policy or in formulating an argument for a brief in a trial or appellate court,” said Myers. “Working at Danna McKitrick provides the opportunity to test my opinions, analyses and strategies by collaborating with a number of attorneys bringing multiple perspectives to an issue and come to the best conclusion for the client.”

Prior to joining Danna McKitrick, Myers practiced at a litigation firm in St. Louis. He is admitted to the bar in Missouri and Illinois, as well as the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Seventh and Eighth Circuits, and the U.S. District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Northern and Southern Districts of Illinois. He is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Missouri Bar, the St. Clair County Bar Association, and the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers.

Myers earned his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law, where he was the executive editor of the Saint Louis University Public Law Review. He graduated summa cum laude from Saint Louis University with a B.A. in Russian studies and political science.

Successful Legal Malpractice Litigation Leads to Award for Attorneys Dan Tobben and Kara Helmuth

In recognition of receiving a summary judgment and prior dismissal on claims worth $28 million, Missouri Lawyers Weekly honored Danna McKitrick, P.C. Attorneys Daniel G. Tobben and Kara D. Helmuth, along with the rest of the defense team, as “Missouri Attorneys Securing the Largest Defense Verdicts in 2012” at the 2013 Missouri Lawyers Awards.

In June 2012, Tobben and Helmuth were part of a team that successfully represented an attorney against a legal malpractice lawsuit brought by Coin Acceptors, Inc.

In Coin Acceptors Inc. (“Coinco”) v. Haverstock, Garrett & Roberts et al., Judge Robert H. Dierker Jr. granted summary judgment in favor of the lawyers and law firms on the claims related to one of the disputed patents where the attorneys involved had allegedly mishandled patent infringement litigation. The claims related to alleged malpractice concerning a different patent were previously dismissed by Judge Dierker due to the expiration of the statute of limitations.

Collectively the claims were for $28 million against the attorneys and law firms who represented Coinco in the original litigation, which began in 1990, and involved multiple Mars Inc. patents on two coin acceptor designs. Coinco ultimately lost its patent-infringement case, paying Mars a total of $27.7 million. Continue reading »

James M. Heffner Elected Principal at Danna McKitrick, P.C.

Real Estate and Banking Attorney Promoted by Law Firm

St. Louis, Mo. – January 16, 2013 – The law firm of Danna McKitrick, P.C., is pleased to announce the election of James M. Heffner to the position of principal, effective January 1, 2013. A transactional lawyer, Heffner concentrates his practice in banking and finance, corporate, and real estate law.

“James came to our firm as a law clerk, and it has been a great experience to work with him and watch him grow into such a strong lead attorney,” said Ron Danna, senior principal and co-founder of the firm. “His representation for his clients is thorough, thoughtful, and strategic. We are proud to have him as a member of our firm.”

In addition to his law practice, Heffner co-chairs the firm’s marketing committee and mentors younger attorneys in the firm.

“I am very pleased to be elected as a principal of Danna McKitrick. When I was given the opportunity as a law clerk to join the firm, I knew this was a firm where I would be able to gain the experience necessary to become the attorney I wanted to be,” said Heffner. “From day one, they have encouraged me to grow my practice, and have provided me with the indispensable resources, support and tools I needed.”

Admitted to the bar in Missouri and Illinois, Heffner is also admitted in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri. He is a member of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Missouri Bar and the Illinois State Bar. Heffner is a frequent speaker for real estate law CLE’s and seminars.

Heffner serves on the Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center Development Board and the Webster Groves Board of Adjustment. He is a graduate of Leadership Clayton and was the recipient of the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Corporate Achievers Leadership Award.

Heffner obtained his J.D. from Saint Louis University School of Law and his B.A., with honors, from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He also earned a German Proficiency Certificate from the Universität Tübingen.


Patrick Murphy, Attorney and CPA, on “Fiscal Cliff” Legislation

Attorney and CPA Patrick J. Murphy updated KPLR News anchor Christine Buck on the “fiscal cliff” and what the last-minute legislation passed by the Senate and the House means to businesses and individuals – now and down the road.

Click below to watch the interview:



Attorney Misty Watson on Planning for the Care of Your Pets

People love their pets, and often treat them as they would their own children.

However, as estate planning attorney Misty Watson has observed, difficulties arise when a pet owner is no longer able to care for a pet – and no legal provisions have been made for the care of the pet.

See below for recent interviews Watson provided on planning for the care of your pet if/when you are no longer able: