Our litigation attorneys try cases coast to coast and for some of the nation’s largest companies as well as closely held and smaller businesses. Our geographic reach is based on a combination of being trial-tested and industry-focused, with relevant industry knowledge that makes us cost-effective in defending businesses across the country.
Trial-tested: Every year, our trial teams fan out nationwide. These cases run the gamut from products trials in Washington state to motor fuel pricing trials in California; we have handled securities arbitrations around the Midwest and franchise disputes on the East Coast, medical malpractice trials, restrictive covenant cases, breach of contract class actions and intellectual property disputes.
Our litigation group is ranked by Chambers, U.S. News and Benchmark Litigation for achieving trial experience with results. The group is often selected to join with or replace other firms when litigation turns to trial. In the past few years, the group has replaced half a dozen Am Law 100 firms as trial counsel midstream, once it became certain the case would be tried. See our Experience section for details.
"An excellent track record of handling cases across the country. Offers representation in product liability, antitrust and securities cases, with a strong reputation for construction litigation. Acts on behalf of household names in the oil and gas, healthcare and automobile industries.” (Chambers USA, 2016)
Industry-focused: Our team is organized around industry groups supported by unique skill sets to better defend our clients. Whether it is health care, energy, securities, franchise and distribution, medical malpractice or a host of other industries, our litigators know that to defend a client's business practices, they must know the business. The depth of our industry knowledge is recognized in Benchmark Litigation’s description of our Energy group:
"For expertise and knowledge in the oil industry, Greensfelder cannot be beat. … A marked focus on diversity and a regional reputation for providing cost-effective, high quality legal services and routinely delivering optimal results." (Benchmark Litigation, 2016)
Our industry knowledge is reflected in the leadership roles our lawyers take — as heads of committees, on boards and as featured speakers in their respective fields.
Cost-effective: Our combination of trial experience and industry knowledge reduces or eliminates the learning curve, enabling us to zealously defend our clients with cost-effective results. By assigning cases to small, discrete teams of three to five lawyers and paralegals who carry them from start to finish, wasteful time for one lawyer to educate another is eliminated. Associates are deeply involved as well, cultivating the skills that allow them to gain trial experience earlier than their peers at larger firms. Supported by top-line technology, we focus on addressing the client’s business and dispute resolution objectives rather than skimming pocketbooks.
Who we are
We are a diverse group of more than 70 legal professionals recognized regionally and nationally for success in handling complex commercial litigation on behalf of businesses of all sizes. We are:
- Benchmark Litigation’s Missouri Firm of the Year for 2016
- Chambers-ranked regionally for general commercial litigation and nationally for our work in franchising and distribution
- Ranked nationally and regionally by the U.S. News Best Law Firms report
- The 2016 recipient of the Ronda F. Williams Spirit of Diversity Award. The award presented to the litigation practice group recognizes success in the hiring, mentoring and promotion of diverse attorneys.
- Officers in our group are widely recognized individually by organizations including Best Lawyers, Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, Chambers, Leading Lawyers and other national rankings.
The following is a representative sampling of the work our litigators handle. For more detail on specific areas of practice, please see our litigation and industry group subpages.
MOTOR FUEL PRICING/BRANDING
Our role: The firm served as lead counsel in a five-week jury trial defending BP from claims by its dealers that BP had overcharged them for gas and sold them a defective computer system. This was the bellwether trial for claims brought by over 500 present and former ARCO-branded dealers, with claims totaling over $1 billion in damages.
The result: The jury returned a verdict for BP on the motor fuel pricing claim and a token amount of damages on the computer claims. Read more about the case here.
Our role: Our team represented Shell in temperature correction lawsuits filed on behalf of consumers purchasing fuel in states across the country. Several major refiners, distributors and retailers were named in class actions in 28 states over allegations they had failed to take into account motor fuel temperature when pricing for retail fuel sales.
The result: The case settled in 2012.
Our role: In a class action, our team defended Equilon Enterprises/Shell against breach of contract and consumer protection claims over a buy-one-get-one-free ski lift promotion at Shell-branded gas stations. The plaintiffs, originally seeking damages of $100 million, filed the case seeking nationwide class certification, and they sought state-specific classes.
The result: The plaintiffs abandoned their nationwide class, and after Shell filed its opposition to certification of the state classes, the plaintiffs requested mediation. A settlement was reached, subject to court approval, for less than the cost of defense.
Our role: We helped a gas station operator defend against a long-running attempt by minority shareholders to force the company’s dissolution over claims of minority shareholder oppression.
The result: A state appeals court affirmed a trial court’s granting of summary judgment in favor of the company, and the plaintiffs chose not to seek further appellate review.
HEALTH CARE LITIGATION
Our role: A doctor claimed that our hospital client failed to follow its medical staff bylaws during a process that resulted in the hospital revoking his privileges. He sought to keep the hospital from reporting the revocation, as required by federal and state law, and to have the revocation vacated.
The result: The court granted the hospital’s motion to dismiss and entered judgment in the hospital’s favor on all of the doctor’s claims. The decision was affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District. Read more here and here.
Our role: We served as lead counsel in defense of a hospital and two surgeons in a medical negligence case related to multimillion-dollar claims arising out of surgery to repair a pseudomeningeal cyst.
The result: After a two-week trial, the jury sided with all defendants.
Our role: We represented a hospital system facing claims of unfair billing practices from patients with out-of-network insurance, who claimed the hospital was violating Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act.
The result: The hospital’s motion for summary judgment was granted, and the plaintiff’s motion to reconsider was denied.
FRANCHISE BREACH OF CONTRACT
Our role: We successfully defended BP in a breach of contract and pricing case brought by franchisees of BP West Coast Products. The plaintiffs were terminated franchisees who had owned and operated ARCO-branded gasoline stations with AMPM convenience stores in Arizona. Collectively, they sought more than $200 million.
The result: After BP successfully struck a large portion of the alleged damages and obtained a preliminary sanctions order against the plaintiffs for discovery violations, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their claims with prejudice and without any payment from BP.
Our role: Our litigation team successfully defended Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. against a breach of fiduciary duty claim related to an online insurance-needs calculator.
The result: The Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District ruled that the securities broker-dealer selling life insurance neither assumed a fiduciary duty, nor became unjustly enriched, by offering the online tool to a class of consumers.
News & Insights
- May 26, 2017
- May 2017
- March 2017
- November 2016
- October 21, 2016
- May 27, 2016
- March 10, 2016
- February 12, 2016
- December 10, 2015
- November 2, 2015
- October 26, 2015
- August 17, 2015
- November 6, 2014
- May 23, 2014
- November 1, 2013
- June 1, 2013
- February 8, 2013
- Greensfelder earns top-tier national, regional rankings in U.S. News-Best Lawyers 'Best Law Firms' 2013 EditionNovember 1, 2012
- May 7, 2012
- Congratulations to the Construction Practice Group, ranked nationally by U.S. News–Best Lawyers 2011-2012 Best Law FirmsDecember 8, 2011
- Today’s General Counsel, April/May 2017
- Missouri Business, May 1, 2017
- Missouri Lawyers Weekly, April 3, 2017