- U.S. Eastern District of Missouri
- U.S. Western District of Missouri
- U.S. Southern District of Illinois
- U.S. Central District of Illinois
- U.S. Northen District of Illinois
- 8th Circuit Court of Appeals
J.D., St. Louis University School of Law, 1995, cum laude
B.A., St. Louis University, 1992, magna cum laude
Paul Petruska is an experienced litigation and dispute resolution attorney who focuses on product liability and transportation matters. Clients who have benefited from Paul's trial experience include heavy equipment manufacturers and companies with litigation related to catastrophic truck accidents, railroad crossing accidents, and FELA liability cases.
His unique background enables Paul to draw from a broad spectrum of experiences and efficiently bring complex matters to a successful conclusion. He began as an associate for a medium-sized insurance defense firm and worked for a boutique litigation firm primarily dedicated to railroad and FELA liability. Later, as a partner at a litigation defense law firm, he defended product liability claims for one of the largest heavy equipment manufacturers in the U.S. He also served as chief trial attorney for a large commercial insurer addressing all areas of liability as a member of the major case unit.
Paul works closely with his clients to help them understand, evaluate and address areas of risk to avoid potential litigation. He is well-versed in liability analysis, data analysis and strategic planning, helping him to accurately assess the best course of action in a given dispute. Paul has disposed of cases through motion practice, obtained defense verdicts in jury-tried cases, and successfully handled appeals. At the same time, he leverages alternative dispute resolution methods to achieve clients' desired results.
Beyond his litigation focus, Paul is also a member of the Estate Planning department, offering a unique dimension to his practice. His litigation background proves beneficial in handling probate and fiduciary litigation. Paul finds fulfillment in assisting clients with strategic and efficient estate planning, contributing to their future well-being.
- Chaminade College Preparatory School, Mock Trial Team Program, Volunteer
- USTA St. Louis, Board of Directors, Vice President – Adults
- Greater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Belleville Planning Committee
- Flance Early Learning Center, Board of Directors
- Pre-Suit Investigation and Defense – For dozens of clients, went to accident scene within hours of a trucking or railroad accident to ensure paper documents, electronic evidence, and employee testimony was preserved for defense in case lawsuits filed. Nearly 50% of the aforementioned pre-suit investigations revealed documents and/or evidence that helped avoid a lawsuit. One example of litigation avoidance was when a receipt was found in the passenger seat of the potential plaintiff’s car, indicating he stopped at a restaurant an hour before the accident to get dinner and had three shots of alcohol.
- Lawsuit Defense – Substantial experience in Missouri state, Illinois state and federal courts defending wrongful death lawsuits in trucking and railroad accidents.
- Jury Trials – Four railroad Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) cases tried to jury verdict.
Catastrophic Property Loss Cases
- Manufacturing facility extensively damaged when a massive pressurized tank exploded (released pressure). Hired a team of experts is six different specialties, ensuring client was prepared to address all damages claims.
- Multi-story building had valve fail causing a flood of six floors, all with multiple tenants. Helped the property owner document the exact cause and quickly put wrong-doers on notice.
- Obtained five defense verdicts from a jury in Ozark County Missouri after a jury trial of tractor damage from contaminated diesel fuel.
- Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss was granted in one of the earliest internet defamation cases. Plaintiff, the owner of nutritional supplement company, filed claims against multiple other nutritional supplement companies alleging they were defaming him personally on an internet message board that was vital to their business. My client was dismissed, partially because of my citation to the MTV show Beavis and Butt-head.
- Motion for Summary Judgment was granted in a heavy equipment product liability cases based on the Illinois strict product liability statute of repose.
- Successfully defended automotive manufacturer in alleged airbag defect case.
- Successfully defended tire manufacturer in lawsuit alleging tire ruptured while SUV was traveling on the highway, causing serious personal injury to the driver.
Automotive Dealership Cases
- Kenneth Bell v. Baldwin Chevrolet, 561 S.W.3d 469 (Mo. Ct. App. 2018) – won a Motion for Summary Judgment at trial on all claims relating to an allegedly defective Corvette. Subsequently won the appeal.
- Motion to Dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was granted by Eastern District of Missouri. Plaintiff alleged she was injured when her car, without warning, moved in her driveway and struck her. Plaintiff brought the claim in federal court alleging diversity jurisdiction and that she was a resident of a state other than Missouri. The Motion to Dismiss was granted because there was uncontradicted evidence that Plaintiff was a resident of Missouri.
- Discrimination Claim Defense – Tried a race discrimination claim in front of jury in the Western District of Missouri federal court. The Judge allowed the submission of multiple years of economic loss, emotional distress and punitive damages. We kept the verdict to $60,000 including attorneys’ fees.
- Pre-Suit Investigation – Upon complaint by employee, we performed the investigation to documents the legitimacy of the complaint, or lack thereof.
- Administrative Defense – Successfully defended discrimination claims in the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Missouri Commission on Human Rights and the Illinois Department of Human Rights.
Small Business Consultation
- Assisted multiple small businesses in applying and obtaining forgiveness for the first Paycheck Protection Program loans in May 2020.
- Assisted multiple shuttered venue operators obtain grants under the Shutter Venue Operator Grant Program, including one client who obtained a grant over $1.5 million.
- Drafted COVID-19 safety policy for multiple small business clients during the early stages of the Pandemic.
News & Insights
- January 19, 2023
- August 18, 2021
- Part B News, June 28, 2021
Seminars & Speaking Engagements
- "Do I Need a Lawyer?" Lunch & LearnCIC & Cortex, December 13, 2022
- “When the OCDC Speaks, Lawyers Listen: What issues were important to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in 2021"St. Louis County Bar Association, March 24, 2022
- “The Need to Be More Productive With Less Budget – Can Technology Help?” webinarAssociation of Corporate Counsel, St. Louis Chapter, October 21, 2021
- "Defense Attorneys' Perspective on Proportionality in Written Discovery and the New Provisions of Federal Rule 30" virtual seminarFederal Bar Association, July 28, 2021
- "The Shuttered Venue Operator and Restaurant Revitalization Fund Grant Programs: How to Help Your Clients Access the Billions Available" webinarFederal Bar Association and MyLawCLE, March 31, 2021
- "COVID-19 Business Relief Opportunities" webinarGreater Belleville Chamber of Commerce, January 28, 2021
- Speaker, “Liability Insurance: What Do You Actually Have and What Should You Really Have in Place to Protect Your Railroad”American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association’s 2012 Convention
- Speaker, “Pathology of Asbestos-Related Disease”National Business Institute seminar, Asbestos: Current Issues and Effective Litigation Tac-tics
- Speaker, “Asbestos: Past, Present and Future”National Business Institute seminar, Asbestos: Current Issues and Effective Litigation Tac-tics
- Speaker, “Corporate Electronic Information Policies: Why You Need One and What You Can Learn From Other’s Mistakes"American Short Line & Regional Railroad Association’s 2010 Annual Convention
- Speaker, “Beware of ERISA Lien Rights Or Your Settlement May Fail"Winter Meeting of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
- Speaker, “Ethics: In Re Silica Product Liability Litigation MDL 1553"National Business Institute seminar, Asbestos: Current Issues and Effective Litigation Tac-tics
- Speaker, “Highlights of Missouri’s Tort Reform Law"The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis’ Bench and Bar Conference
- Speaker, “An Overview of the Different Social Media Platforms"Associated General Contractors of St. Louis Seminar, February 19, 2011
- Panelist, “Intellectual Property, Ethics and Privacy Online"St. Louis Bloggers Guild’s 2nd Annual Interactive Festival
- Speaker, “Beware of ERISA Lien and Medicare Lien Issues That May Arise During Settlement"CLE Presentation for Client
- Speaker, “The Computer Sits Second Chair, How Supportive is Litigation Support Software"Winter Meeting of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
- Speaker, “Courtroom Presentation Strategies: Communicating Your Story to the Jury"The Missouri Bar
- Speaker, “The Use and Misuse of Computerized Exhibits"Special Litigation Conference, National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
- The Illinois Manufacturer, July 2021
- Feast Magazine, January 8, 2021
- Asbestos Take-Home Cases: Liability Depends on State LawAmerican Bar Association Journal, Mass Torts
- April 19, 2022
- March 12, 2021
- February 5, 2021
- December 23, 2020
- Plans, Perks & Pay | Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Blog, November 11, 2020
- Health Care Today | Health Law Blog, November 11, 2020