Legacy of Legal Innovation

Helping Shape Personal Injury Law

Stephen F. Meyerkord and his experienced personal injury team at Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC accept difficult cases and present cutting edge legal arguments on behalf of their clients. Mr. Meyerkord was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1974. He was the 2009 recipient of the Award of Honor presented by the Lawyer's Association of St. Louis. The award is given in recognition of honorable service in the profession of law and in the community. He has been President of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and President of the Lawyer's Association of St. Louis. He was elected and served six years on the Missouri Bar Board of Governors. He has spoken at over 100 legal seminars and has published articles in both legal and medical professional journals. In 1990, the Missouri Bar chose Mr. Meyerkord to contribute to Litigation Settlements, a Missouri source for practicing attorneys, writing a chapter entitled "Evaluation and Settlement of Personal Injury Claims."

The firm's legacy of legal innovation was developed through Mr. Meyerkord's work in the Supreme Court and in the appellate courts of Missouri. His approach to representation is not limited to what the law is, but rather what the law should be, to achieve a just result. Mr. Meyerkord's creativity and innovative arguments have protected the interests of hundreds of clients throughout the years, positively impacted Missouri tort law for plaintiffs, and paved the way for a legacy of legal innovation.

In the late 1980's, Mr. Meyerkord was responsible for a significant change in Missouri's products liability law. In Lippard v. Houdaille Industries, Inc., a safety mechanism on a planing machine that was meant to shield users from a sharp blade failed and resulted in the loss of two fingers and severe lacerations to Mr. Meyerkord's client. Mr. Meyerkord filed suit against the manufacturer using the theory of strict liability in tort law. Under Missouri law, a manufacturer is strictly liable for defects in its products that result in injuries.

Though Mr. Meyerkord won the case against the manufacturer, the trial court applied the doctrine of comparative fault to the damages awarded. The application of this doctrine deprived Mr. Meyerkord's client of half of the damage recovery owed to him under the law. Mr. Meyerkord believed that the court's ruling was unfair so he appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court of Missouri. The Court ultimately struck down the trial court's decision and his client received the deserved full compensation.

Modernizing Missouri Law

In 1992, Mr. Meyerkord again took the lead in a case to modernize outdated Missouri law. The "lost chance of survival" doctrine, which was adopted in other states, allows plaintiffs to recover against medical providers who fail to properly diagnose or inform patients of critical medical information when timely treatment would have a substantial effect on the patient's outcome. The "lost chance of survival" doctrine in medical malpractice cases was not recognized as a claim in Missouri prior to Mr. Meyerkord's compelling arguments in Wollen v. DePaul Health Center, 828 S.W.2d 681 (1992).

In Wollen, Mr. Meyerkord and his colleagues represented a woman who lost her husband to gastric cancer after a health care provider failed to correctly diagnose him in time to treat his cancer and extend his life. The Supreme Court of Missouri embraced Mr. Meyerkord's arguments for the application of "lost chance of survival." The Court acknowledged the need to compensate victims in gray areas of medicine, as the majority opinion states, "The traditional yes-no view of the world...does not match the 'maybe' view of the world found in probability, statistics, and everyday life". Wollen v. DePaul Health Center, 828 S.W.2d 681 (1992). As a result of Mr. Meyerkord's efforts in Wollen, an aggrieved party can now recover damages from a medical provider even when the provider did not legally cause the person's death, but could have prolonged his or her life.

In 2008, Mr. Meyerkord and his firm again successfully argued for change in Missouri law, this time related to the application of a theory called res ipsa loquitur (Latin for "the matter speaks for itself") in medical malpractice cases. In res ipsa loquitur cases, the central concept is that an injury would not have occurred without the negligence of the defendant and at the time of injury the plaintiff was under the exclusive control of the defendant. This legal tool effectively allows plaintiffs to pursue medical malpractice claims even though the cause of the harm is impossible to for plaintiffs to prove with specificity. Sides v. St. Anthony's Medical Center, 258 S.W.3d 811 (2008). In this case, Mr. Meyerkord's client was injured while a patient in a medical procedure, and none of the medical staff was willing to say what happened. Mr. Meyerkord's case expanded the use of res ipsa loquitur so that plaintiffs, with the aid of expert medical testimony, can show negligence even without specific proof of negligence.

Also decided in 2008 was Meyerkord v Zipatoni which brought to the forefront in Missouri the relevant and controversial issue of personal privacy on the Internet. Missouri courts did not previously recognize lawsuits based on false light invasion of privacy. False light invasion of privacy, although similar to defamation, only applies when defamation is inapplicable. The Missouri Court of Appeals recognized that with the massive amount of information available on the Internet, a law was needed to provide protection to people who are undeservingly exposed to public scrutiny online as a result of a defendant's negligence. This innovative new law is particularly important because of the advent and prevalence of online social networking. As a result of Mr. Meyerkord and his colleagues' thoughtful arguments, the court held that false light was a legitimate and viable claim in Missouri.Meyerkord v. Zipatoni Co., 276 S.W.3d 319 (2008).

Contact Our Firm

When you choose Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC for your personal injury or wrongful death claim, you will be giving yourself the benefit of having a proven attorney on your side, fighting for your right to fair compensation. We have demonstrated our ability to achieve outstanding results for our clients, and our reputation precedes us into the courtroom. Contact us now for a free consultation with an attorney from our team and to get started on your case.