John handles business and complex litigation, including contracts, insurance coverage, employment law, products liability, and Uniform Commercial Code cases, environmental and environmental insurance coverage litigation, CERCLA contribution actions, toxic torts, intellectual property, insurance defense, and personal injury litigation. He was lead counsel in numerous jury and bench trials in state and federal courts in Arizona, California, Iowa and Illinois; including a three-month environmental insurance coverage case involving soil and groundwater contamination caused by chlorinated solvents, BTEX compounds, and PAH's; a UCC breach of warranty suit involving more than $20 million in damages due to defective nitrocellulose lacquer; intellectual property litigation over computer software trademarks and copyright, petroleum pumping equipment and direct vent gas fireplaces; product liability litigation involving destruction of a foundry; toxic tort litigation concerning chronic low-level manganese exposure; and environmental litigation over manufactured gas plant sites and leaking underground storage tanks. John has handled at least 32 jury trials, and more than 50 non-jury trials and countless evidentiary hearings.
John's professional experience also includes representing financial institutions and lenders with a wide variety of matters in legal proceedings in state and federal courts, including bankruptcy court matters. Past clients include: CIT Group Inc.; McMorgan & Company; Arizona Laborers, Teamsters And Cement Masons Local No. 395 Pension Trust Fund; Arizona Laborers, Teamsters and Cement Masons Local No. 395 Defined Contribution Pension Trust Fund; Arizona Operating Engineers Defined Benefit Pension Trust Fund; Arizona Operating Engineers Defined Contribution Pension Trust Fund; Arizona State Carpenters Pension Trust Fund; Arizona State Carpenters Defined Contribution Pension Trust Fund; Data Sales Co.; First National Bank of Muscatine, Iowa; and First National Bank of Gordon, Nebraska.
John's employment law experience includes, but is not limited to, handling numerous wrongful discharge, discrimination, harassment and retaliation matters involving administrative complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Arizona Attorney General's office, as well as employment-related litigation in state and federal court.
John is experienced in electronic case management, electronic discovery and electronic trial presentation, including:
•Consulting with clients prior to suit, or at the initiation of litigation, to develop policies and procedures essential for preservation of evidence and complying with state and federal rules regarding the preservation and production of electronic evidence;
•Identification and retrieval of potentially-relevant electronic evidence, including cost-benefit analysis of various methods and tools for identifying and retrieving e-data;
•Electronic production of evidence, including analysis of the format for production (e.g., native, .tiff or other formats);
•Analysis and implementation of cost-effective, case-specific solutions to meet preservation obligations;
•Litigation involving electronic evidence, including taking and defending depositions of IT personnel and third-party e-discovery vendors, and discovery motion practice involving e-discovery, spoliation of evidence and technology issues; and
•Use of Summation, PowerPoint, Trial Director and other electronic legal tools for discovery, case management, arbitrations, mediations, motions and trials.
•Selected as a 2014 Top-Rated Lawyer in Personal Injury Defense Law by The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazine and Martindale-Hubbell
•Awarded the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating, AV Preeminent (AV is a registered certification mark of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies)
•Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA ), Deposition Skills: Arizona Program (November 2012)
•Appearance on KPNX (Phoenix NBC affiliate) to discuss legal issues.
•Presentations to the American Bar Association Insurance Coverage Litigation Committee's Mid-Year Meeting on recovery of attorneys' fees in declaratory judgment actions.
•Presentations to the Environmental Section of the Iowa State Bar Association on insurance coverage for environmental clean up costs and on presentation of expert evidence.
•Presentations to the Dillon Inn of Court regarding presentation of expert evidence.
•Faculty member of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy's three-day intensive deposition program.
•Prior to joining Meagher & Geer in August, 2005, John was a partner at the Phoenix firm of Stinson Morrison Hecker from 1998 to 2005, and was Litigation Department Chair, Vice-President and Shareholder of Stanley, Lande & Hunter in Davenport, Iowa, from 1982 to 1998.
Arizona Court of Appeals restricts use of Morris agreements.
Leflet v. Redwood Fire & Casualty Ins. Co., 226 Ariz. 297, 247 P.3d 180 (Ariz.App. 2011)
Kurt Zitzer, Thomas Crouch, John Hendricks
February 14, 2011
The Arizona Court of Appeals held that Morris agreements do not extend to agreements that included one insurance company setting up other carriers who are allegedly not participating in a mutual insured's defense or indemnity. Leflet was a construction defect case. The putative insured, Hancock Communities, was defended by its own carrier, and sought additional insured coverage from several other carriers. A dispute arose over defense and indemnity allocations between Hancock's own primary carrier, and the additional insurers, referred to in the agreement as the Non-Participating Insurers. To resolve the case, Hancock's carrier paid a fraction of its policy limit, and entered into an $8.4 million Morris agreement along with its insured and the claimant.
While the court reaffirmed the rule that a carrier must first have notice of a Morris agreement to be bound by its terms, the court clarified that notice means actual and meaningful notice, and not just constructive notice that the parties are contemplating a Morris agreement. Further, notice of the Morris agreement must include terms sufficient to cause the agreement, if entered into, to be binding and enforceable.
More important, however, was the court's holding that a Morris agreement which benefits one carrier against another is not a Morris agreement at all. The policy behind Morris was to remove the insured from the potentially crushing exposure of personal liability, and transfer the risk of coverage and collection of the judgment upon the claimant. As the court noted an insurer that reserves its rights may not employ Morris to reduce its liability below policy limits, and an insured that facilitates such an effort breaches its duty to cooperate with its other insurers.
Kurt M. Zitzer and John C. Hendricks represented the client at the trial court and were successful in winning summary judgment. Thomas H. Crouch successfully represented the client on appeal, and argued the case on behalf of all the insurance carriers.
There is no basis for a disability discrimination claim where auto dealer fired disabled car salesman, unable to drive a car.
Kirkish v. Mesa Imports, Inc., 2010 WL 364183 (D. Ariz., Feb. 1, 2010), appeal pending, No.10-15480 (9th Cir.)
A former car salesman's unique ADA lawsuit against a large automobile dealership in the Phoenix area was recently thrown out of court based on the arguments made by Meagher & Geer. The dealership became aware that the car salesman was taking strong prescription medication while at work that might affect his ability to drive the dealership's vehicles. Based on safety concerns, the dealership asked the salesman for information about his medications. When the salesman refused to provide that information, and after the salesman's doctor refused to release him to drive, the dealership terminated the salesman's employment. Under a unique theory, the salesman sued the dealership, alleging its inquiry regarding his medications violated the ADA. Meagher & Geer defended that suit, arguing that the dealership properly inquired about the medications and that the ADA did not prevent the dealership from fulfilling its obligations to the public to make its premises safe. The trial court adopted these arguments and dismissed the case.
The trial court's decision was appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On appeal, the EEOC participated as an amicus curiae on behalf of the employee, arguing that the issue regarding whether the ADA was violated should have been submitted to the jury. The Ninth Circuit rejected the government's arguments, and affirmed the trial court's decision. The court held that, as a matter of law, the dealership had a business justification for its inquiry about the employee's mediations.
January 20, 2011 Clients Prevail: Arizona Court of Appeals Restricts use of Morris Agreements
January 2, 2008 Meagher & Geer Announces New Partners
February 1, 2011 Insurance Law Update
Arizona Restricts use of Morris Agreements
Thomas Crouch, John Hendricks, Kurt Zitzer
November 15-17, 2012 John Hendricks is Faculty Member at Deposition Skills Seminar
Arizona State University Mercado
Copper Square, 502 E. Monroe St
Phoenix, AZ 85004