Angela Higgins has practiced law since 2002. Experienced in all phases of litigation, her practice is dedicated to insurance coverage, commercial litigation, product liability, class action defense, and appellate practice.
Having started her career at two of the largest and most successful international firms based in the U.S., Angela learned to handle high-stakes, high-profile, complex litigation for Fortune 100 companies. She now brings her experience and insight to obtain first-class results for clients in a more cost-effective and efficient environment.
Angela is editor of the firm’s Insurance Law and Drug and Device Law blogs. She writes and edits blog posts on topics and developments of interest to insurance carriers and drug and device manufacturers, with a particular focus on Missouri and Kansas law.
•Obtained a trial verdict for a defendant crop-spraying company on a breach of contract counterclaim in an amount more than six times greater than the plaintiffs’ recovery on their claim.
•Obtained an appellate victory enforcing settlement of a plaintiff’s claim.
•Obtained a preliminary writ of prohibition in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District, in a product liability action against a non-resident defendant on the basis of lack of personal jurisdiction, after which plaintiff voluntarily dismissed our client.
•Obtained dismissal of a mass tort claim against a dental acrylic manufacturer based on lack of personal jurisdiction and forum non conveniens.
•Obtained plaintiff’s voluntary dismissal, without payment, of a medical device action following motion practice on Reigel preemption and parallel claims issues.
•Represented an international pharmaceutical company in appeals involving personal jurisdiction, including the filing of a petition for certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.
•Regularly manages declaratory judgment actions on insurance coverage matters.
•Acts as local and supervising national counsel in matters within her scope of practice, including matters at the state and federal level, multi-district litigation, and individual and class action litigation.
•First- and second-chair jury trial experience, as well as experience with bench trials, arbitrations, administrative hearing practice, and other formal and informal tribunals.
•Manages e-discovery and large-scale document productions. Favorably resolves claims through settlement.
Publications & Presentations
•Writing a Reservation of Rights: A North American Compendium (Kansas Chapter). DRI Defense Library Series (2014).
•Contributing commentator, Lawyers React to High Court's Generic-Drug Liability Ruling, commenting on the Court's decision in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. v Bartlett. (Law360, Lexis/Nexis, June 2013).
•2010 Developments in Kansas Product Liability Law, American Law Firm Association International
•Severance and Removal of Claims, ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Section Newsletter (Summer 2010).
•2007 Transportation Law: Answers to Questions Every Transportation Company Needs to Know (co-author, Kansas and Missouri Chapters), American Law Firm Association International Compendium (2007).
•Responding to Employee Requests for Modification of the Workplace: Do You Have to Give the People What They Want?, KANSAS CITY BUSINESS JOURNAL, Law Day Supplement (May 6, 2005); reprinted in ST. LOUIS SMALL BUSINESS MONTHLY (June 2005).
•Comment, Else We Are Condemned to Go from Darkness to Darkness: Victims of Gender-Based War Crimes and the Need for Civil Redress by U.S. Courts, 70 UMKC LAW REVIEW 677 (Spring 2002).
•Note, Do Unto Thy Neighbor: In Support of a Conditional Privilege to Warn Neighbors of a Suspected Child Molester after Schmitz v. Aston, 69 UMKC LAW REVIEW 471 (Winter 2000).
•Enforcement of Letters of Intent and the Duty to Negotiate in Good Faith, Commercial Litigation Committee Meeting, DRI Annual Meeting (Oct. 2014).
News & Events
Higgins Comments on High Court's Generic-Drug Liability Ruling
06.26.13 Angela Higgins' commentary on the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 ruling in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. v. Bartlett was included in a Law 360 article (Lawyers React To High Court's Generic-Drug Liability Ruling) regarding the significance of the ruling, which prohibits a user of a generic drug from bringing a state-law design defect claim against the manufacturer because the manufacturer cannot change a generic drug's design under federal law...
Higgins Article to be Published in ABA Newsletter
07.01.10 Angela Higgins has written an article on severance of multiple claims in a complex tort case and removal to federal court, which will be published in the Summer 2010 edition of the ABA Tort and Insurance Practice Section Newsletter.
BSCR Attorneys Prepare and File PLAC Amicus Brief with Missouri Supreme Court
06.03.10 At the request of the Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC), Tom Rice, Angela Higgins and Bryan Mouber prepared and filed with the Missouri Supreme Court an amicus brief on behalf of Ford Motor Company. The primary focus of the amicus brief addressed whether Missouri law on proximate cause allows a plaintiff to argue in a product liability case that she would not have purchased the product in question (five years before her accident) had the manufacturer provided her with adequate warnings about the product's safety performance during an accident.
Higgins Named Member of Firm
02.02.10 The firm congratulates Angela Higgins who became a Member of the firm effective January 1, 2010. Angela has been practicing law since 2002, after earning her law degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law...
BSCR Obtains Appellate Victory for Insurer
BSCR obtained an appellate victory in the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Southern District, enforcing plaintiffs’ agreement to settle after they had refused to sign settlement papers...
Jury Verdict Obtained for Client in Crop Damage Case
BSCR obtained a jury verdict in favor of our client, Northwest Fertilizer, Inc. after a week-long trial. The case involved a misapplication of an herbicide on corn crops that damaged a portion of plaintiffs' corn crop. Plaintiffs claimed that damage from the herbicide was widespread throughout a substantial portion of the farm while Northwest Fertilizer claimed the damage was isolated and any remaining damage was the result of other causes for which it was not responsible...
Summary Judgment Obtained for Electric Match Manufacturer in Product Liability Case
BSCR obtained summary judgment on behalf of an electric match manufacturer, in three related product liability cases. The cases arose out of a 2005 explosion at a fireworks plant in Crestline, Kansas...
Drager v. PLIVA USA, Inc.: Fourth Circuit Explicitly Rejects “Stop Selling” Attempt to Avoid Generic Preemption
02.19.14 Drager is a well-reasoned opinion on preemption issues. The opinion also presents a clearly-articulated analysis of the implications of plaintiffs' claims against generic manufacturers, correctly noting that the essence of these claims is that the manufacturer should exit the market, an argument that the court emphatically rejected.
Thompson v. Allergan: Further Eroding Alternative Feasible Design in Drug Cases?
02.12.14 The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri has recently issued an opinion, relying on Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. Inc. v. Bartlett, that arguably takes us a step closer to the eradication of alternative design claims directed at branded drugs.
Utilizing the Kansas Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act
11.27.13 Kansas has joined a majority of states in passing the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA), which is codified at K.S.A. 60-228a. The UIDDA replaces the arcane practices of commissions and letters rogatory with a more straightforward approach to obtaining discovery from third parties in states outside the jurisdiction of the court where your case is pending.
Courts Struggle to Understand the “Stream of Commerce” Theory of Personal Jurisdiction Over Product Manufacturers
08.21.13 Asahi and Nicastro provided no clear guidance regarding the scope and application of the stream of commerce theory of personal jurisdiction, leaving a conflict of decisions amongst the many different federal and state courts decisions.
Mutual Pharmaceutical v. Bartlett: Hope for an End to Alternative Feasible Design in Drug Cases?
07.24.13 While Bartlett is expressly limited to the generic drug context, it presents a tantalizing glimpse of the Court's potential receptiveness to similar arguments regarding supposed feasible safer alternative design in the context of branded pharmaceuticals.
Insurance Reservation of Rights Letters in Kansas
07.17.13 A reservation of rights letter informs the insured of the carrier's potential defenses to coverage under the policy. The following is a brief overview of some of the requirements for ROR letters in Kansas.
The Effect of Recall on PMA Medical Device Preemption
07.02.13 Recalls (and manufacturers' unwillingness to issue them) are frequently in the news these days. We are often asked to analyze the effect of a product recall upon claims and liability. It is apparent that a recall (or, perhaps, a refusal to conduct one) tends to lead to increased litigation. But does a recall result in increased liability?
Missouri Allows the Formation of Rent-A-Captive Insurers
06.19.13 New Missouri laws taking effect on August 28, 2013 will allow the creation of rent-a-captive insurers and revise existing captive insurance laws to be more favorable to captive formation. This marks an aggressive move by Missouri to muscle in on the captive insurance market.
Insurance Reservation of Rights Letters in Missouri
06.05.13 A reservation of rights letter informs the insured of the carrier's potential defenses to coverage under the policy. The following is a brief overview of some of the requirements for ROR letters in Missouri. As always, please contact a licensed and qualified attorney for recommendations specific to your circumstances...
Missouri Court of Appeals Applies All Sums Doctrine and Reinstates $62M verdict Against Lloyd's of London
04.19.13 On April 16, the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Eastern District reinstated a jury verdict against Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's of London for $62.5 million under various excess liability policies issued to Doe Run Resources Corporation (Doe Run), a lead mining and smelting company operating in St. Francois County, Missouri, related to environmental remediation efforts by the company.
Collective Liability and Product Identification in Kansas
04.10.13 The necessity of product identification is one area where there is a scarcity of reported case law, but clear indications that Kansas requires plaintiffs to identify the specific product that caused their alleged harm. No reported Kansas case has ever adopted a collective liability theory like enterprise liability, alternate liability, or market share liability.
The Empty Chair Defense is Not Available in Missouri
03.21.13 Although our blog's primary focus is on recent developments in the law, the issue of whether an empty chair defense is available comes up often enough that we believe a brief primer on the issue is worth posting for our readers' general reference. Missouri does not allow a jury to make a finding of the comparative fault of persons or entities that are not defending at trial, including settling defendants.
Recent Missouri Western District Appellate Case Restores Prior Law that Authorizes Exclusion of Co-Employee Claims Under Auto Liability Policies
03.13.13 Auto liability carriers often field claims by one employee of an insured policyholder against another employee. It has long been a rule in Missouri that one employee is not liable to the other except for intentional conduct or...
Missouri's Equitable Garnishment Practice: Hope for Reversing Course?
03.04.13 This is the fourth and final post in our series about Missouri's equitable garnishment statute. As discussed in our prior posts on this topic, 379.200 is currently applied in circumstances never intended by the legislature or the early case law, contrary to well-established fundamentals of equity jurisprudence, and with tremendous burdens falling primarily upon auto liability insurers who operate in the state...
The Burdens Imposed by Missouri Equitable Garnishment Practice
01.07.13 Aside from the technical and traditional objections to allowing a proceeding in equity where garnishment at law is appropriate, Missouri's equitable garnishment statute imposes a number of burdens upon insurers and insureds alike. As discussed in our prior posts on this topic, the current state of practice with respect to Missouri's equitable garnishment statute is inconsistent with both the legislative intent and the early history of opinions construing the statute, and today we will explore some of the unnecessary harm that results from more recent jurisprudence...
What happened to the equity component of Missouri's equitable garnishment statute?
12.21.12 Equity is a jurisprudential concept brought to America by the English colonists, and traces its roots and defining principles back centuries to the time when the King or Queen of England ruled over the courts at law, and the church administered justice in equity. The fundamental premise of equity is that an equitable remedy will not be available if the plaintiff has a cause of action at law...
Raiders of the Obsolete Statute: Equitable Garnishment in Missouri
12.10.12 Imagine the intrepid archaeologist who reaches through a century's worth of cobwebs to grab a long-sought relic, only to be chased from the temple by a rolling stone ball of doom. You will have some appreciation for the absurdity of Missouri's equitable garnishment action, a curious relic of an era that predates modern insurance law, and which is fraught with peril for insurers...