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New #MeTooK12 Movement Increases Awareness for Title IX Issues

Author

Jon Allard, Jr.

The #MeToo movement has brought national attention to widespread issues regarding sexual harassment and violence, but one group is often overlooked: school-aged children.  In response, the #MeTooK12 campaign was launched last month to expand the conversation around sexual harassment and violence, including Title IX violations in elementary, middle, and high schools.  People are often unaware or reluctant to admit there is a problem at such young ages, but unfortunately, instances of sexual harassment and violence have no age limit.  Overlooking children in grades K-12 can obviously be harmful, and without proper discipline and age-appropriate conversations, these behaviors can become normalized. 

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Missouri Legislature Currently Working on Tort Reform Measures

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

The second half of Missouri’s 2018 legislative session kicks off today with Republicans planning to push tort reform – legislation designed to reduce the number of lawsuits filed in Missouri. Several bills have been introduced, including bills to: (1) reduce the statute of limitations in personal injury lawsuits, (2) impose a statute of repose in products liability lawsuits, and (3) reduce asbestos filings in the state by requiring transparency in asbestos trust claims.   SB 934 – Reducing Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Claims from 5 to 3 Years Missouri Senator Dan Hegeman, (R)-Cosby, has introduced SB 934 which

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IDPH Ordered to Add ‘Intractable Pain’ as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana

Author

Alexander J. Baker

Cook County Judge Raymond Mitchell recently ordered the Illinois Department of Public Heath to add intractable pain as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana.[1]  The order arose out of plaintiff Ann Mednick’s lawsuit alleging a lack of access to medical marijuana, rather than opioid pills with increased side effects, to treat her osteoarthritis.[2]  This ruling has the potential to greatly expand medical marijuana’s reach within the State. Illinois currently has very strict limitations in terms of what medical conditions fall under qualifying conditions to have access to medical marijuana.  Of those states which have medical marijuana legislation, Illinois falls in

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Bill of Rights Turns 226

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

What is now known as the Bill of Rights was ratified this past Friday in 1791. But the Bill of Rights wasn’t always the “Icon in Use” that it is today.[1] In the beginning, the Bill of Rights was seldom invoked and thought to have little actual power.[2] It was applied only to the federal government and not to the actions of individual states.[3] During the Reconstruction Era, the federal government sought means to guarantee certain fundamental rights to citizens in the resistant southern states. The passage of the 14th amendment in 1868 allowed the courts to incorporate provisions of

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Settlements & Medicare Reporting – An Ongoing Series, Part One: Pinpointing Timeframe of Alleged Asbestos Exposure

Author

Jerome S. Warchol

In certain cases, it may make good business sense to resolve an asbestos claim out of court.  But an omnipresent source of frustration with settlements and the processing of Release documents in asbestos litigation is determining whether the settlement is reportable to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  The stakes in “getting it right” are high.  The responsibility to report does not only fall to plaintiffs – defendants/insurers who fail to properly report risk penalties and reimbursement liability. The short and tortured answer is that if: (a) a plaintiff was a Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary, and (b) one

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Rochester Hires Independent Investigator in Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandal, but is it too Late?

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

When it comes to sexual harassment allegations, some entities are on the forefront of industry “best practices” by promptly hiring independent investigation firms, while others are faced with the consequences of failing to do so.[1] The University of Rochester (UR) is under fire for allegedly mishandling several students’ claims of sexual harassment and retaliation concerning a renowned professor, T. Florian Jaeger.[2] Students at the university have gone to extreme measures to protest the school’s response – or lack thereof – to numerous students’ claims involving Jaeger. Some students staged sit-ins during classes, targeting classrooms near Jaeger, while others protested the

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Dept. of Education’s New Directive Stresses Importance of Independent, Conflict-Free Investigators

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced the withdrawal of Obama-era guidelines regarding college sexual assault and set forth new directives in the Department of Education’s 2017 Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct.[1] The interim guidelines, which remain in effect while the notice and comment period commences, chart a new course for sexual misconduct cases that DeVos purports will “help schools” and “treat all students fairly.”[2] In rescinding the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter[3] and the subsequent 2014 Questions & Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,[4] the new guidelines have removed a sixty-day completion deadline for colleges’ investigations of sexual assault, instead,

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Justice Lucy Billings Appointed NYCAL Coordinating Judge

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

It was announced Monday that Justice Lucy Billings has been appointed as the New York City Asbestos Litigation (NYCAL) Coordinating Judge. The official announcement by Acting Administrative Judge, George Silver, provided some insight into the background and experience of Justice Billings: Justice Billings received her B.A. magna cum laude from Smith College and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in 1970 and received her J.D. with honors from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law in 1973. Justice Billings was a staff attorney at Vermont Legal Aid, a Senior Attorney at Utah Legal Services, Director of Legal Support

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Appellate Decision in New York Affects Supplier Liability in Asbestos Litigation

Author

Justin A. Reinhardt

The Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, Third Department, recently handed down a decision that is likely to have a negative impact on defendant former suppliers of asbestos-containing products in New York asbestos litigation. In O’Connor v AERCO Intern., Inc., the Plaintiff was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma alleging that her illness stemmed from exposure to asbestos-containing products while working at the Westchester County Department of Labs and Research (hereinafter, “the lab”). O’Connor v AERCO Intern., Inc., 2017 NY Slip Op 05487 [3d Dept July 6, 2017]. Plaintiff brought suit in the Supreme Court in Saratoga County (4th JDAL) against,

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US Supreme Court: Daimler Personal Jurisdiction Constraints Constant Despite Type of Claim or Business Sued

Author

Candice C. Kusmer

In an 8-1 decision penned by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the US Supreme Court yesterday held that the Daimler due process analysis for determining general jurisdiction over an out-of-state defendant “does not vary with the type of claim asserted or business enterprise sued.”  BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, et al., — S. Ct. –, 2017 WL 2322834 (2017).  In so holding, the Court reversed the Montana Supreme Court’s exercise of general jurisdiction over defendant BNSF Railway in two Montana state court Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) cases. The Court first rejected the Montana Supreme Court’s reliance on FELA statute 45

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  • Editor

  • CANDICE C. KUSMER

    Candice Kusmer enjoys working with several of Kurowski Shultz’s major clients, oversees the firm’s asbestos docket in Central Illinois and handles high-level matters in Madison County. An accomplished writer, she has a passion for writing and leads the firm’s Appellate Practice.

  • Contributors

  • LINDSAY A. DIBLER

    Mr. Dibler has been with Kurowski Shultz since 2002 and is responsible for the firm's substantial St. Louis City and Cook County (Chicago) asbestos dockets. He is one of few defense counsel who have taken verdicts in the challenging defense environment of St. Louis City.

  • JUSTIN A. REINHARDT

    Justin Reinhardt joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2015. He concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and toxic tort defense. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri. He is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

  • KYLER H. STEVENS

    Kyler Stevens has been with Kurowski Shultz since October 2012 and has focused his practice on complex civil litigation, protecting the interests of large and small businesses alike. Mr. Stevens is also active in the defense of schools and municipal corporations in various civil matters.

  • Alexander J. Baker

    Alexander J. Baker joined Kurowski Shultz in 2012. His practice area concentrates on complex civil litigation including the defense of toxic tort and personal injury lawsuits. Mr. Baker also recently tried to verdict a Southern District of Illinois pro bono case regarding First Amendment rights and violations of the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the US Constitution. He is an active member of the St. Clair County and the Illinois State Bar Association.

  • Joshua N. Severit

    Joshua N. Severit, joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2016. Mr. Severit specializes in toxic tort and personal injury. He is a member of the Illinois State and Madison County Bar Associations and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.

  • Jerome S. Warchol

    Jerome S. Warchol is a principal of Kurowski Shultz LLC. Mr. Warchol practices in a variety of areas of law. The majority of his work involves litigating asbestos cases and domestic relations matters. Mr. Warchol is an active member of PROMO and serves as a board member of Lawyers for Equality, a St. Louis-based LGBT bar association.

  • Jon Allard, Jr

    Jon Allard Jr., joined Kurowski Shultz LLC in 2014 after a distinguished public service career as a trial attorney. For 18 years he served as a prosecutor in the St. Clair County Illinois State’s Attorneys’ Office. He served as the Chief of Administration and as the Director of the State’s Attorney’s Crime Prevention Task Force. Mr. Allard has taught extensively in the areas of trial advocacy, capital litigation and courtroom testimony. He has received numerous awards for his efforts as a trial attorney including the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis Prosecutor Award of Excellence.

    Mr. Allard concentrates his practice in Title IX investigations, corporate and criminal investigations and white collar criminal defense as well as toxic tort litigation. He is currently licensed in the State of Illinois and the United States District Court for Southern District of Illinois.