20th Anniversary of Baker v. General Motors SCOTUS Argument Recognized

This fall marked the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court argument in Baker v. General Motors, and a news piece that aired this fall on several broadcast affiliates takes a look at this precedential case.  Baker was a Langdon & Emison victory described as influential in the law because it provided an answer to the question of whether expert testimony could be called upon from former employees. 

The piece, which can be viewed via the video clip above, features Bob Langdon and his memories of the case's journey through the lower court and on to Washington.  Baker was argued before the Supreme Court on October 15, 1997.  But it was a long road to reach the nation's High Court, as GM sought to prohibit a former employee's testimony from being allowed in the case due to an injunction from a court in Michigan. 

After working for the auto manufacturer for fifteen years as a vehicular fire analyst, Ronald Elwell sued GM for wrongful discharge. In an eventual settlement agreement reached in a Michigan county court, the parties agreed to a permanent injunction barring Elwell from testifying against GM without its consent, unless subpoenaed to do so by another court or tribunal.

Thereafter, when L&E represented the family of Kenneth Lee Baker in a product liability action, Elwell was subpoenaed to testify on Baker's behalf.  When GM argued that Elwell was barred from testifying under the Michigan court injunction, the Missouri court disagreed and permitted his deposition and testimony.  After suffering an adverse verdict in the Baker case, GM appealed on the basis that Elwell's testimony was illegally admitted.  A federal appeals court agreed with GM, so Langdon & Emison appealed and the Supreme Court granted cert.  The eventual ruling for our firm client was 9-0 from the Supreme Court justices.

Partners Kent Emison and Bob Langdon pictured this summer, after Kent was honored with the Thomas Strong Trial Attorney Award from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

Partners Kent Emison and Bob Langdon pictured this summer, after Kent was honored with the Thomas Strong Trial Attorney Award from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

L&E Obtains Success in Appellate Matter on Behalf of Family

The Missouri Court of Appeals recently decided that the family of a woman who died because she took the wrong medication will get a new trial against the pharmacy on the issue of damages for aggravating circumstances.  The case is Oyler v. Hy-Vee, Inc., WD79742.  Langdon & Emison Partner Michael W. Manners helped lead the appellate team in the matter.  

As reported by Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the Western District cited the pharmacist’s failure to review prescriptions, the receipt of the phone-in order by a pharmacy technician without direct supervision, the failure to counsel the patient upon receiving a high-alert medication and the failure to improve procedures as a result of the death.

“The jury would be entitled to conclude that Hy-Vee’s claim that different practices would not have prevented Ms. Oyler’s death, and its failure to institute the remedial measures suggested by the evidence, exhibited its indifference to, and disregard for, the serious risk of injury to patients like Ms. Oyler,” Judge Alok Ahuja wrote.

According to the news article, a pharmacy technician made several errors taking the phone-in prescription, ordering methotrexate instead of metolazone.  Methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug also used to treat auto-immune disorders. It is classified as a high-alert medication, and when taken daily for more than a week, it can have irreversible, fatal side effects with symptoms manifesting only after the damage becomes untreatable.

Oyler took the medication daily as directed and died Oct. 30, 2013. Her husband and two adult sons filed a wrongful death suit in Buchanan County against Hy-Vee and the medical center. The medical center was dismissed after settlement.  The jury returned a $2 million verdict for the Oylers after Hy-Vee admitted negligence at trial. The trial court reduced the award to $125,000 under applicable damages caps. The court also granted the defendant’s motion for a directed verdict on the issue of aggravating circumstances damages.

The appellate court cited testimony that pharmacist review was particularly important because the store’s computer system lacked a “hard stop” warning used around the country to prevent medication errors. The court concentrated on evidence that the pharmacy allowed technicians, rather than pharmacists, to receive phone orders, and that technicians were allowed to do so without the direct supervision of pharmacists, according to the news report.

In November 2000, Mike Manners was appointed by Missouri Governor Roger Wilson to serve as a Circuit Court Judge with the 16th Judicial Circuit, Division 2 in Independence. Judge Manners received such prominent distinctions as the Theodore McMillian Judicial Excellence Award from the Missouri Bar, and “Best Circuit Judge in the State” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly. The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association bestowed him with its Joseph E. Stevens, Jr. Aspire to Excellence Award for his service as a judge in 2012.  Prior to his appointment, Mike spent 24 years as a trial attorney with the firm that eventually became Welch, Martin, & Albano.

Mike has been a frequent lecturer at educational forums for trial judges and continuing legal education programs for attorneys. Having served as president of both the Eastern Jackson County Bar Association and Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Mike is committed to serving the legal profession and his clients.

Michael W. Manners

Michael W. Manners

L&E Named a Top Tier Personal Injury Firm for Sixth Year in a Row

Langdon & Emison has once again been ranked in the “Best Law Firms’ by U.S. News – Best Lawyers," for the category of personal injury litigation for plaintiffs.  The 2018 edition will include L&E as one of the top plaintiff's firms in the areas of both product defect litigation and personal injury.

The rankings are based on a thorough evaluation process, including both client and attorney evaluations, peer review and data provided by law firms.  Langdon & Emison has been listed as a "Tier One" personal injury firm for each of the last six years. 

Kent Emison and Bob Langdon this summer at the MATA Annual Convention, when Kent was presented the Thomas Strong Trial Lawyer Award for 2017.

Kent Emison and Bob Langdon this summer at the MATA Annual Convention, when Kent was presented the Thomas Strong Trial Lawyer Award for 2017.



Fall 2017 Newsletter Released

Langdon & Emison has released its newest edition of its quarterly newsletter, available for free download here on our web site.  Our firm newsletter is mailed out to attorneys and clients nationwide, and intends to educate a general audience about issues in plaintiff's personal injury litigation, as well as consumer hazards in contemporary society.

This Fall 2017 issue covers such issues as: 

  • Tire detreads;
  • Bair Hugger defects;
  • defective products in trucks;
  • fuel-fed fires;
  • negligent hiring by trucking companies;
  • appellate victory for plaintiff's team on behalf of injured Marine;
  • statistics released on truck, bus wrecks in America; and,
  • the AIEG truck seminar in Chicago.

To become a regular subscriber to our print newsletter, you can reach us at langdonemison.com/contact and a free copy will be mailed to you every three months.  

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FMCSA Releases 2017 Guide to Large Bus and Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released its 2017 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics

The guide is a compilation of data from the overall state of the industry to enforcement activity.  The Pocket Guide incorporates and replaces the one-page data summaries, “Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts,” which were published occasionally over the past 10 years.  

According to NHTSA data, which was part of the reporting in this 2017 guide, there were more than 6.9 million wrecks in the U.S. in 2015, the latest year captured in this current round of data



Bob Langdon, Brett Emison Speak at AAJ Annual Convention

As part of the American Association for Justice's programming of substantive sessions at its Annual Meeting in Boston, Partners Bob Langdon and Brett Emison, spoke on aftermarket vehicle defect litigation.  The audience of the nation's top plaintiff's attorneys was treated to a presentation on the dangers of recreational vehicles, limousines, ambulances, police cruisers and other modified vehicles.

Aftermarket vehicle defects often aren't identified and lawsuits aren't pursued, resulting in a missed opportunity to obtain the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. For more than three decades, clients and referring attorneys across the country have worked with Langdon & Emison attorneys in identifying and litigating aftermarket vehicle cases.   Bob and Brett have worked on aftermarket vehicle cases for a combined 45 years in practice, and bring a wealth of industry knowledge to the topic of how to identify the defect and how to show that a vehicle's alteration contributed to an automobile's lack of safety.

According to the AAJ, "Trial attorneys are committed to ensuring that all people—individuals, families, patients, workers and consumers—can seek justice in our nation’s courtrooms.
  The AAJ is the preeminent organization in America trying to fight for that right. Trial attorneys seek a balanced civil justice system, and the AAJ advocates for tough laws to hold industries and corporations accountable when they withhold information that can harm or kill.  Both Bob and Brett are members of the AAJ's Leaders Forum.