Media Items

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:

Judge Issues Third Injunction Against City of St. Louis Plan to Revise Fire Fighters’ Pensions


As issued by Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis:

Extends Preliminary Injunction Indefinitely Postponing Implementation of Ordinances

St. Louis, MO – January 4, 2013 – Less than a day after a lawsuit was filed to stop the City of St. Louis from proceeding with its most recent pension ordinance, a judge has issued an injunction against the City. The injunction prevents the City from implementing its plan to replace the Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis with another amended, City-controlled retirement system, which was scheduled to go into effect Feb. 1, 2013. This is the third injunction entered against the City in the last year regarding its plan to replace or change FRS.

The injunction was issued without a hearing and was consented to by the City’s attorneys.

“We are pleased that this injunction was entered so quickly and that FRS will continue to operate in the interests of the City’s fire fighters as it has for the past 50 years,” said Dan Tobben, an attorney with Danna McKitrick, P.C., representing FRS.

In his ruling Thursday, Judge Robert Dierker extended an injunction he issued in August against two other City ordinances relating to the replacement of FRS. The City has conceded that portions of those ordinances were probably illegal, and tried to fix the problems with Board Bill 109, which also is now enjoined. Continue reading »

Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis Sues City over Its Firemen’s Retirement Plan


As issued by Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis:

Asks for Temporary Restraining Order, Preliminary Injunction During Litigation, Permanent Injunction on Changes to Existing Plan

St. Louis, MO – January 2, 2013 – After almost a year of hearings in the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen and the Missouri State Legislature, and following two trials resulting in preliminary injunctions being granted in favor of the Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis Board of Trustees (FRS), FRS has filed a lawsuit to stop the City of St. Louis from proceeding with its most recent pension ordinance, Board Bill 109, now known as Ordinance 69353.

In its 37-page petition, the FRS Trustees detail the flaws, contradictions, illegality and unconstitutionality of Board Bill 109, which the Board of Aldermen passed on Dec. 14, 2012.

The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction during litigation to prevent the amendment of city ordinance and any amendment to the existing pension plan, as well as to order the parties to continue to operate under the existing FRS plan during this litigation.

In addition, the lawsuit asks for a declaratory judgment that Board Bill 109 is illegal, unconstitutional, and that it fails to correct the multiple flaws pointed out by Judge Robert Dierker when he issued an injunction against enforcement of Board Bill 12.

FRS requests the court to declare Board Bill 109:

  • Void and invalid as being unconstitutional;
  • Violates Missouri Statutes;
  • Invalid; Board Bill 109 cannot go into effect as a matter of law because the cost study was not in compliance with state law;
  • Unconstitutionally impairs the contractual rights of fire fighters with more than 20 years of service, especially because it allows the City to limit or escape liability;
  • Unconstitutionally violates the contractual rights of fire fighters with less than 20 years of experience, and
  • Contrary to several Supreme Court decisions, including those in prior lawsuits between these parties.

In addition, the lawsuit warns of the potential of a “multiplicity” of new lawsuits should Board Bill 109 take effect.  This is, in part, due to the conflicts and confusion created by Board Bill 109; FRS also will have a different Board of Trustees, be structured in a different manner, and possibly have a different agenda.

BACKGROUND

Preliminary Injunction Against City for Fire Fighter Ordinances Awaiting Final Ruling

The prior lawsuit regarding Board Bill 11 and Board Bill 12, which was joined by Local 73 and St. Louis fire fighters, has revealed many problems with the City’s attempt to wrest control of FRS from the State of Missouri, which currently has jurisdiction of FRS and fire fighter retirement issues.   For example:

  • Ordinance 69183 removed the duty and authority of FRS Trustees to challenge City action relating to FRS and made those that do so civilly liable for costs,
  • Ordinance 69245 was designed to create a new Firemen’s Retirement Plan,
  • Ordinance 69149 invoked the City’s home rule charter as authority to eliminate its guarantee to pay benefits, changed the minimum age of fire fighters to receive benefits, and increased fire fighters’ contribution to their retirement from eight percent refundable to a nine percent non-refundable contribution.

Judge Dierker issued preliminary injunctions regarding Ordinances 69149 and 69245 (Board Bills 11 and 12), after which the City conceded that portions of those ordinances were illegal.

In an effort to address those portions of the ordinances, the City passed Board Bill 109, which reinstated the authority for FRS but froze the accrual of benefits except for the purpose of vesting.

FRS states that the attempt by Board Bill 109 to correct deficiencies in the prior ordinances has created new constitutional and legal violations (as noted above).

The court will set hearings regarding the restraining order and preliminary injunction sought by FRS and its Trustees.

# # #

About FRS:  Established on July 26, 1944 in accordance with Ordinance #43009, the Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis was created to provide a program of security for the welfare of St. Louis City firefighters and their families. On January 1, 1960, the System was revised through enabling legislation by the Missouri Legislature and then by the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis to further ensure the continued security for all active fire fighters, retirees and their families.  The Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis provides retirement, disability, death and survivor benefits to nearly 2,000 active and retired participants and their beneficiaries. FRS supports its membership by maintaining a pension plan that will attract and retain firefighters.  It seeks to maximize investment returns by following a prudent investment policy.

About Danna McKitrick P.C.:  Located in St. Louis, Mo., Danna McKitrick, P.C. delivers legal representation to businesses (emerging to national), insurers, government-related entities, individuals and regarding public pension issues throughout the Midwest. www.dannamckitrick.com  (314) 726-1000

Kara Helmuth Accepted into National Association of Public Pension Attorneys


Danna McKitrick, P.C. has announced that Attorney Kara D. Helmuth has been selected for membership in the National Association of Public Pension Attorneys. NAPPA is a professional organization whose membership is limited to attorneys regularly acting on behalf of public pension plans and in their interest. Helmuth is one of only 15 attorneys in Missouri who are members of NAPPA; only six are in public practice. Three of these attorneys are members of Danna McKitrick: Helmuth, Dan Tobben and Cheryl Beebe-Snell.

A commercial and civil litigator, Helmuth practices primarily in the area of public pensions and legal malpractice. She litigates for the trustees of public pension funds or individual members. Her work includes advising and litigating for the trustees of several public pension funds in Missouri and Illinois. She is admitted to practice in Missouri and Illinois, and has argued before the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri. Continue reading »

Three Danna McKitrick Attorneys Again Selected to Missouri Super Lawyers Lists


Attorneys Joseph R. Soraghan, Jeffrey R. Schmitt, and Sophya Qureshi Raza have been recognized as three of the top attorneys in the state of Missouri by their peers as Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers & Rising Stars 2012.

Super Lawyers named Joseph R. Soraghan to its list as one of the top attorneys in Missouri for the third year in a row. Only five percent of the lawyers in the state are honored by selection to the Super Lawyers list.

“I am very proud to be grouped again among so many lawyers I look up to, including two of my own partners. My thanks to Thompson Reuters and its Super Lawyers organization,” Soraghan said.

Soraghan’s primary practice areas include business law, securities, corporate finance, and alternative dispute resolution. He is a founding director and the secretary of the Missouri Venture Forum. In 2011, the St. Louis Small Business Monthly selected Soraghan as one of the “100 St. Louisans You Should Know.”

Missouri & Kansas Rising Stars selected Jeffrey R. Schmitt and Sophya Qureshi Raza for inclusion on its 2012 list. It is not the first time on the list for either attorney: Schmitt was selected in 2011 and Raza was selected in 2010. Rising Stars recognizes up to 2.5 percent of “the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state — those who are 40 years old or younger, or who have been practicing for 10 years or less,” according to Super Lawyers. Continue reading »