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Overview

Derek’s practice focuses on complicated, prominent litigation involving federal and state regulatory statutes, governmental immunities, constitutional rights, consumer class action litigation and the False Claims Act.

Derek represents clients at all stages of litigation, including pre-settlement negotiations, dispositive motion practice, trials, arbitrations and appeals.

A majority of Derek’s clients are private and public colleges and universities that face lawsuits from students, faculty, and contractors, as well as regulatory enforcement actions from the U.S. Department of Education and equivalent state agencies. Related to his litigation practice, Derek assists colleges and universities in minimizing litigation risk by ensuring compliance with varied requirements of federal and state regulations, with a special emphasis on Title IX of the Higher Education Act (sexual harassment) and Clery Act (campus crime reporting). 

Derek’s compliance practice includes policy and practice audits, policy drafting, and providing training and guidance to key personnel and students. Derek represents a number of higher education institutions with nursing, medical, or other allied health schools.

As a former federal appellate law clerk and appellate practitioner, Derek also has extensive appellate experience and maintains a substantial appellate practice. He has briefed and argued cases before both federal and state courts of appeal. He frequently consults on state and federal appellate cases, where clients seek his knowledge.


Industries

Services

Recognition

  • Ingram's, 40 Under Forty, 2017
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2009; Business Litigation, 2013-2017

Education

  • J.D., University of Kansas School of Law
      • Order of the Coif
      • Rice Scholar
      • Kansas Law Review, articles editor, 2005-2006
  • B.A., University of Kansas
    • with highest distinction
    • Phi Beta Kappa

Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Kansas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • Federal Bar Association
  • Kansas Bar Association 
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)

Clerkships

  • The Hon. Paul J. Kelly Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Experience
  • Represented former superintendent and principal of school district in case involving $1 million negligence claims brought by injured student. Obtained summary judgment in favor of clients in ground-breaking application of the Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Liability Protection Act and successfully defended case on appeal before the Missouri Supreme Court.
  • Defended private liberal arts colleges against lawsuits brought by students alleging wrongful expulsion. Efficiently resolved cases through settlements favorable to clients.
  • Assisted private university in investigating ramifications of data-breach and complying with state reporting requirements.
  • Represented private, religiously-affiliated college in internal proceedings to terminate tenured faculty member for conduct inconsistent with college’s mission statement and religious principles.
  • Represented private nursing school and private university in response to investigations by U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) following allegations by students of sex and race discrimination. Cases were successfully resolved with “no cause” findings by OCR.
  • First-chaired arbitration involving claims against school district by injured teacher. Obtained complete judgment in favor of school district.
  • Drafted comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies for private and public colleges and universities to ensure compliance with Title IX, the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Provided follow-up training to Title IX coordinators and investigators regarding policy application and investigation techniques.
  • Provided training to college and university security officials and administrators regarding Clery Act reporting requirements and Clery Geography.
  • Negotiated and drafted employment contracts for school district superintendent and college president.
  • Represented Missouri Department of Insurance in bench trial seeking recovery of looted assets. Obtained $2 million judgment in favor of client and defended case on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with favorable results.
  • Represented publicly traded company in civil rights and consumer protection lawsuit filed by state attorney general arising from securitization and sale of subprime mortgages and obtained dismissal in client’s favor.
  • Represented publicly traded company in complex commercial litigation arising from sale of mortgage-backed securities. Obtained dismissal in client’s favor.
  • Counsel for public utility in lawsuit against state officials seeking to enforce utility’s rights under equal protection and commerce clauses of U.S. Constitution. Obtained favorable settlement for client.
Community Leadership
  • Catholic Education Foundation of Northeast Kansas, Board of Directors, 2010-present
  • St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas, Board of Directors, 2017