Mr. Fields is a member of The American Board of Trial Advocates, an invitation only organization dedicated to excellence in the courtroom and the preservation and promotion of our jury trial system. Mr. Fields has tried over 35 jury trials to conclusion in his 20 plus year legal career; representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in a variety of litigation. In over 80% of the cases he has tried to jury, his clients have received a verdict significantly better than the last offer of settlement. Mr. Fields obtains successful results by exploring possibilities of settlement early in the case after a thorough evaluation. When an early resolution cannot be reached, Mr. Fields will have his cases fully prepared for trial in the most expeditious manner possible.
Mr. Fields' practice is concentrated in three specific areas of litigation: Insurance Coverage, Personal Injury, and Commercial Litigation. For an overview of each area of litigation
• AV Preeminent Rating by Martindale Hubble
• Best of the Bar designation by the Kansas City Business Journal
Memberships and Affiliations:
• American Board of Trial Advocates
• American, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas Bar Associations
• MAP Approved Mediator
Scholarships and Awards:
• Ruben M. Hulen Scholarship
• Missouri Curator's Scholarship
• Wilbur L. Pollard Law Review Honor Award
• University of Missouri Scholar's Award
Mr. Fields' commercial litigation experience involves a variety of cases. Unlike the other areas of his practice, he often represents Plaintiffs in commercial litigation. In his years of practice, Mr. Fields has been lead counsel in a variety of commercial litigation claims.
At the beginning of his career, the majority of the litigation involves construction defects. These cases include negligent performance, breach of contract and the professional liability of engineers and architect. With the rise in litigation between employers and their former employees, Mr. Fields has become increasingly involved in claims involving non compete agreements, trade secrets and discrimination claims.
Recent Illustrative Cases :
• Lead counsel in a case where summary judgment was obtained resulting in the attachment of the client's $20 million judgment to property in the original judgment debtor had transferred to numerous third party entities.
• Co-lead counsel in a case where he represented an individual entrepreneur in a legal malpractice claim arising from sale of intellectual property resulting in a $3 million plus settlement.
• Co-counsel in preparation of a jury trial which resulted in a $4 million plus verdict against a competing company started by the client's former employee.
• Represented an employment agency in a racial discrimination action, ultimately resulting in the employee's dismissal of all claims.
• Represented home owners in the defense of an action.
INSURANCE COVERAGE LITIGATION
Approximately 70% of Mr. Fields' practice involves disputes over whether and to what extent various forms of liability coverage provide a duty to defend or a duty to indemnify parties involved in underlying lawsuits and/or the amounts of coverage available for various claims. Mr. Fields also represents companies seeking recourse when their insurers have wrongfully denied coverage. Mr. Fields represents his clients throughout the litigation from inception through appeal.
Commonly litigated issues include:
• Coverage for defective workmanship in construction cases.
• Interpretation and application of Additional Insured endorsements.
• Minimum coverage election and stacking issues related to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in commercial and personal auto policies.
• Disputes between insurers over priority of coverage.
• The applicability and enforceability of policy exclusions and conditions.
• If and when one or more policies are triggered by ongoing damages or delayed damages claims.
• Other complex issues arising in general liability, D&O, employee liability, specific perils and auto policies.
Recent Illustrative Cases :
Defense of an insurer with multiple years of coverage in a claim where the insured was originally seeking defense and indemnity for an underlying lawsuit involving pollution damages:
• Martin K. Eby Constr. v. OneBeacon Ins. Co., 2012 WL 4088758 (D. Kan. Sept. 17, 2012).
Determination of whether an insurer's duty to defend ended when it paid its policy limits to obtain a partial settlement in the underlying case:
• National Beef Packing Co., LLC v. Zurich American Insurance Co., 336 S.W.3d 181 (Mo.App. W.D. 2011).
Coverage dispute between multiple insurers issuing primary and excess policies over priority of coverage impacted by additional insured endorsements, other insurance provisions, and indemnity agreements:
• Hertz Equip. Rental Corp. v. Ammon Painting Co., 2009 WL 2365578 (Mo.App. W.D. Jan. 26, 2010).
PERSONAL INJURY LITIGATION
Mr. Fields has been lead counsel in greater than 35 personal injury cases which concluded with a jury's verdict, and hundreds of other cases which were resolved short of trial. He has tried cases in federal court and in numerous counties across Missouri and Kansas.
The cases Mr. Fields has handled range from simple auto accidents and slip and fall cases to complex product liability cases. Mr. Fields' experience includes large exposure premises liability, toxic tort and trucking cases.
Mr. Fields' clients range from some of the nation's largest companies to Mom and Pop stores in his home town.
Recent Illustrative Cases :
• Defense of a nationwide shipping company in an accident where the alleged negligence of one of its drivers caused quadriplegic injuries.
• Defense of a large national retailer in a premises liability case based on allegedly inadequate security resulting in the failure to prevent criminal activity in the parking lot of one of its stores.
• Defense of a wrongful death action brought by the surviving widow and three children of a high wage earning 45-year-old man killed when his vehicle collided with a tractor trailer operated by an interstate truck driver.
• Representation of the owner of an office building in a claim by over 30 plaintiffs alleging various personal injuries caused by the presence of mold.
• Representation of a tree stand manufacturer where an alleged defect in one of its products rendered the plaintiff a paraplegic.
Personal injury cases are rarely appealed or reported, and settlements are often confidential, making it difficult to provide greater detail in the cases described above.