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Overview

The most satisfying aspect of JR’s practice is stepping in when clients don’t know what to do next, taking up a matter they can’t deal with on their own, and resolving it together.

JR has advised and defended Fortune-100 companies, contractors, financial institutions, property owners, manufacturers, construction and real estate companies, commercial landlords, employers, nonprofits, startups, railways and others. His emphasis focuses on litigation, where he has handled to successful resolution and verdicts in state and federal courts:

  • Contract claims
  • Business torts
  • Toxic tort
  • Product liability
  • Fraud allegations
  • Class action defense

Taking his legal skills and a desire to support others outside the office, JR is also involved in a variety of pro bono work, including helping found a nonprofit that is curing food deserts in Kansas City.


Industries

Services

Recognition

  • Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Commercial Litigation, 2022
  • Missouri Bar Pro Bono Wall of Fame, 2016-2017, 2019

Education

  • J.D., University of Missouri School of Law
    • Journal of Dispute Resolution, Editor-in-Chief
  • B.S., University of Central Missouri
    • History and Political Science
    • cum laude

Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court, District of Kansas

Professional Memberships and Certifications

  • American Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (KCMBA-YLS)
  • Lawyers Association of Kansas City (LAKC-YLS)
  • Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC)
Featured Experience

Standard Real Estate Development Proceeding Becomes an Unlikely Hurdle and $1M Fraud Award

A California-based real estate developer bought commercial property in Grandview, Missouri, and initiated a customary eviction in 2018 against several commercial tenants, including a personal care services salon. Multiple tenants appeared before the court. The salon operators listed on the lease informed the Court the lease signatures were not their signatures, they had never signed the lease and the lease was not valid. After initially denying eviction proceedings, the Court agreed to re-open the case on the basis of suspected fraud. During the next three years, JR conducted discovery and named additional defendants to the case, including other tenants and the former sellers of the property. In 2020, JR obtained a favorable settlement between the seller and our developer client during Zoom mediation amidst the pandemic. In April 2021, three years after initial eviction proceeding, JR represented the developer before the Circuit Court of Jackson County, during a 2-day bench trial, which found the evidence of lease fraud was undisputable, ruling against the salon tenant with an award to our client of ~$750,000, as well as an $150,000 award against another set of tenant defendants identified during discovery.


Additional Experience
  • Assisted with utility and manufacturer dispute involving more than $100 million in damages and lost profits.
  • Obtained favorable dismissal of claims and motion to compel arbitration in manufacturer dispute.
  • Routinely represent start-ups and nonprofits with regulatory compliance and litigation.
  • Represented national franchise by managing millions of pages of ESI production in multi-million dollar trademark infringement case.
  • Assisted with representation of nationals candy manufacturer with defense of slack-fill claims under Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA).
  • Represented large financial institution regarding wrongful holdover of commercial properties following foreclosure.
  • Second-chaired bench trial in complex business dispute involving mechanic liens, landlord-tenant issues, and reclamation of collateral.
  • Obtained multiple wins in bench-tried commercial landlord-tenant disputes, including award of special and liquidated damages.
  • Represented national mortgagor with repeated actions brought by pro-se plaintiffs: was granted motion to dismiss in federal court, summary judgments in state court and successfully assisted with appeal of case to Missouri court of appeals.
  • Obtained more than 20 favorable judgments for replevin, recovery of collateral and possession.
  • Obtained summary judgment for employer in case involving gender discrimination, wrongful retaliation and unlawful whistleblowing. Assisted with obtaining favorable settlement in separate and related case involving gender discrimination, wrongful retaliation and tort claims against same client.
  • Team member that assisted with representation of large Kansas City employer in multiple FLSA class actions cases.
  • Managed hundreds of litigation files for national financial institution in dispute involving national fraud conspiracy.
Outside the Office

JR scans The New York Times bestseller list for reading material and dabbles in creative writing. Khaled Hosseini, best known for “The Kite Runner,” is a favorite author. The memoirs “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff and “Educated” by Tara Westover are his top recent reads along with Yuval Noah Harari’s “Sapiens.”

Community Leadership
  • Kanbe's Market, co-founder, secretary, board member (nonprofit focused on eliminating food deserts in Kansas City)
  • LAKC Young Lawyers Section (YLS):  director and board president (community-focused bar organization with flagship event providing holiday celebration for shelter families)
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association YLS, public relations chair
  • Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, committee member and Stephen C. Metzler protégé

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