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
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"
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).
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
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.