First of Two Big Harris Stowe Verdicts Upheld

In 2015, our client Dr. Shereen Kader, a former professor at Harris-Stowe University, was awarded with a $2.5 million verdict on an employment discrimination claim against Harris-Stowe University. Dr. Kader refused to stand for such appalling discrimination based on nationality and courageously fought her way to justice, resulting in the fourth largest employment discrimination verdict of 2015 on her behalf, according to Missouri Lawyers Weekly. We are honored to continue to assist Dr. Kader through the Missouri Appellate Court process as she continues her pursuit of justice.

In a very similar case in the St. Louis Circuit Court, Beverly Wilkins, also a former instructor at Harris-Stowe University, was awarded up to a $4.85 million verdict against the University. After nine years of working at the University, Wilkins was never promoted and then fired in 2010, with state budget cuts being the reason given. Despite this, Wilkins’ position was replaced with two new instructors. Wilkins claimed that she was fired from the school’s College of Education simply because she is white.

The University appealed the Court’s decision regarding Beverly Wilkins’ verdict. However, the Eastern District Court of Appeals this month affirmed (upheld) the verdict.  We are unaware at this time whether the University will continue the appeals process to the Missouri Supreme Court.

You can read more at: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/instructor-at-harris-stowe-gets-almost-million-in-racial-discrimination/article_a72e6120-e535-597b-b5e8-dedaa64386bf.html

and

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/missouri-appeals-court-agrees-white-professor-at-harris-stowe-was/article_322e6ae3-bb25-5a5b-a12c-abf12e83e987.html

 

Congratulations, Ms. Little

Congratulations to our client Ms. Little.  Approximately two years after her motor vehicle collision and more than a year of litigating her case, Ms. Little saw her claim through to judgment last week.  As result, a Jackson County jury returned a verdict to compensate her for her injuries caused by the Defendant.

Refusing to settle her case and, instead, taking the witness stand is a very courageous thing for any plaintiff to do.  Nonetheless, Ms. Little believed her injuries, caused by the negligence of the Defendant, must be compensated fairly.  As a result, Ms. Little's verdict amounted to more than six times the final offer made by the opposing insurance company before trial.

Missouri Senate Bills Aimed to Gut Employee Rights

The Pitch, a local Kansas City periodical, has published an article about the steps Senate Bills 43 and 45 threaten to take against workers in Missouri.  The rights this potential legislation aims to suppress would have a widespread effect on Missourians.  I believe it is fair to say that there isn't a single Missourian who doesn't have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who would be affected by these changes.  A link to the article is listed below:

http://www.pitch.com/news/feature-story/article/20850681/missouri-republicans-are-on-the-verge-of-gutting-employee-protections

Eric Playter Selected as Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney Under 40

In the aftermath of Playter & Playter's 2015 trial successes, which were led by lead counsel Eric Playter, Eric was selected as a Top 10 Personal Injury Attorney Under 40 for the state of Missouri by the National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys. As part of the award, his name (and eventually his picture) will be posted on the website's Top 10 Under 40 Page for the state of Missouri.  While the majority of attorneys selected this year were from the St. Louis area, Eric was one of only two attorneys in the Kansas City Metro area that received the award.  The other Kansas City attorney, like Eric, is also a former recipient of honors from SuperLawyers.  We want to congratulate Eric for this recognition of his hard work.  You can see Eric's profile and the profiles of the other award recipients at:

http://www.naopia.com/attorneys/attorneys-missouri40.htm

$2.5 Million Verdict Announced as the Fourth Largest Employment Verdict in Missouri for 2015

Missouri Lawyers Weekly, which publishes a weekly newspaper distributed to attorneys throughout the state, published its an annual edition in which it lists the largest reported settlements and verdicts for the entire state of Missouri each year.  The $2.5 million verdict obtained by Playter & Playter for Dr. Shereen Kader was the fourth largest reported employment verdict in the entire state last year.  In addition, the $2.5 million verdict was the forty-third largest reported verdict or settlement in any field last year including but not limited to employment law, personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, contracts, etc.

Congratulations, Dr. Kader

Last week, a St. Louis jury was presented a weeks worth of evidence, testimony, and exhibits before deliberating and rendering a verdict that our client, Dr. Kader, was discriminated against based on her national origin and in retaliation for her requests that her basic human rights be protected by her employer.  As a result, the jury found that Dr. Kader suffered compensatory damages in the amount of $750,000.  In addition, due to the determination that acts of Harris-Stowe State University were outrageous due to evil motive or reckless indifference to the rights of Dr. Kader and others, the jury awarded $1,750,000 in punitive damages.  

We really want to say congratulations to Dr. Kader who has finally been given justice for the egregious acts of discrimination she endured at the hands of the former administration of Harris-Stowe. Her courage and resolve these years are an inspiration, and we hope that she and her family can sleep better now, knowing that our justice system will uphold this country's promises of equality and fairness for all persons regardless of where they are from or what they look like.

You can find more information about the trial and comments from Eric Playter in the link below:

http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2015/12/04/harris-stowe-state-university-owes-2-5-million-in-discrimination-suit/

Congratulations, Mr. Thomas

Congratulations to our client Mr. Thomas.  After two years of battling with an insurance company that would not take his injuries seriously, Mr. Thomas saw his claim through to judgment last week.  As result, a Jackson County jury returned a verdict in Mr. Thomas' favor which includes a net recovery of $108,549.96.

Choosing to see this claim through, while knowing that to do so he would be required to take the witness stand, is a very courageous thing for any plaintiff to do.  However, Mr. Thomas has shown an unwavering resolve throughout the litigation of this matter that he had been wronged by the negligence of the Defendant and that he deserved nothing less than complete redress for the damages he sustained.  As a result, Mr. Thomas' net recovery amounts to five times the final offer proposed before trial by the opposing insurance company.

Congratulations to Our Own Eric Playter

While we always love to celebrate big settlements, trial successes, and other legal accomplishments, the Law Offices of Playter & Playter have a much better reason to celebrate this week.  Our attorney Eric Playter and his wife, Audrey, welcomed a new baby boy into the world this week.  Congratulations to his whole family on the birth of Asa Playter!

Using Modern Trends in Estate Planning to Work for You

Oftentimes we get calls from prospective clients asking for us to draft wills to account for what will happen to homes, accounts, personal items, custody of minor, etc. after their deaths.  What many clients are surprised to hear is that there are many options available and, most likely, more suited for their estate planning other than simply drafting a formulaic will.  The beauty of estate planning is that there are options, and the options that are available make it easy to create an estate plan that fits your needs and is much more efficient than a fill-in-the-blank will.

Modern trends in estate planning present a wide range of non-probate transfers which can help you avoid the hefty expensive of probate and attorneys' fees in the future for you and your children.  While wills are oftentimes an important part of that estate plan, there are many non-probate transfers available to you to make sure your money and property pass on immediately upon your death. 

Many people are somewhat familiar with the term Trust (which is a form of non-probate transfer), but there are other non-probate transfers available as well.  For instance, when you place a beneficiary designation on your life insurance, you've just created a non-probate transfer.  If you have accounts with transfer on death (TOD) or payable on death (POD) designations, you're doing it again.  Who knew you were so progressive with your estate planning!?

Nonetheless, there are always good reasons to work with an attorney to get your estate plan best tailored to your needs/wants.  They can help with planning for the transfer of your home, bank accounts, stock certificates, who takes custody of your minor children, who manages the money for them until they turn 18 (or a different age if you should choose), and so much more.

Police Reports and Their Impact on Resolution

Whereas last week, I discussed the importance of being guarded when speaking with the claims representative of another driver following an accident, this week is more about tips when speaking with emergency responders following an accident caused by another.

First and foremost, always be cooperative and courteous when speaking with police who arrive at the scene of an accident.  Understand that police come to the scene to help.  However, to maximize the help they can provide (at least as far as it pertains to being made whole following an accident), you need to communicate with the responding officers.

One of the most important aspects of this communication is accurately describing any injuries you sustained.  What many people don't understand is that a police report that follows an accident can be a key document in either helping you reach a quick resolution without the need to file a lawsuit.  One of the major hangups we see within police reports are due to the injured party not being forthright about injuries they sustain.  If you are hurting, you should communicate that to the police officer (note: this doesn't mean you have to take an ambulance from the scene; it's okay to be hurting and still choose not to request an ambulance).

When asked, many injured parties respond that they are "fine" despite being injured.  The way that translates into a police report is "Driver reported she sustained no injuries."  If, after a night's rest, that stiff neck or bruised knee requires an ER visit or a trip to the chiropractor, you don't want a claims adjustor later saying that you had previously stated you had no injuries or making accusations that you are inventing injuries.  For these reasons, let officers know when you're in pain.

Tips Following a Car Accident

With snowy and icy weather inevitably comes unexpected car accidents.  What you do and say following an accident caused by another can affect your ability to be made whole.  Below are some tips to help you navigate the aftermath of a car accident.

Should you be injured in a car or other auto accident caused by the fault of another, you can anticipate calls from a claims representative for the other driver.  Be cautious when disclosing information to a claims representative.  Always remember that his or her fiduciary duties are to the insurance company.  Meaning, he or she is looking out for the best interests of the employing insurance company and not for you.  His or her job is to help the company to determine the least it can pay to resolve your claim, regardless of whether it is fair to you.  For these reasons, the claims representative is not your advocate.

Thankfully, you always have a right to speak with an attorney prior to resolving your claims.  Even better, most law offices provide free consultations.  Whether its the attorneys at Playter & Playter or another attorney you know and trust, it's never a bad idea to speak to an attorney following a car or other auto accident.