John has 24 years of trial and litigation experience handling complex tort litigation in the areas of personal injury, professional negligence, construction defect, and product liability. He has represented architects, engineers, attorneys, and financial professionals in malpractice claims in state and federal court. His construction practice includes representation of owners, contractors, and insurers. John’s product practice includes defense of medical and industrial product manufacturers in death and injury cases.
John has litigated and mediated hundreds of matters, always focusing on resolving claims as early as possible, with the least possible expense to his clients. John’s early practice included handling personal injury and property damage claims of all sizes and types, including trucking, auto, premises liability, and medical malpractice.
John has been named a Super Lawyer for construction litigation every year since 2013.
Berkvam v. Henry Schein, Inc.
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri John Bordeau and Douglas Hill obtained a defense verdict after a jury trial in this breach of contract case. The plaintiff, a dentist, sought $135,000 for her claim that the defendant had overcharged her for dental supplies over a three-year period by failing to live up to an alleged “price matching” agreement. Mr. Bordeau and Mr. Hill successfully argued that no such contract existed, and the jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the supplier.
Garrett v. Brown
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri John Bordeau and Doug Hill obtained summary judgment in favor of their client, Michael Brown, in this co-employee liability case. After being injured in a workplace accident and collecting worker’s compensation benefits for the injury, Plaintiff sued his supervisor, Mr. Brown. Plaintiff claimed that Mr. Brown breached a personal duty to keep the workplace safe by failing to conduct inspections of the billboards and failing to respond to reports of unsafe conditions. Relying on cases defining the duty to provide a safe workplace as a non-delegable duty belonging to the employer, John and Doug convinced the trial court that Mr. Brown could not be held liable personally for the injuries alleged. Plaintiff appealed and ultimately agreed to a settlement, shortly before the Missouri Supreme Court was set to take up the case.
Matthews v. Knightbrook Insurance Co. et al
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri John Bordeau and Josh Scott obtained summary judgment in this insurance coverage dispute, in which a plaintiff claimed she was entitled to automobile liability benefits as a passenger in a vehicle struck by an uninsured motorist. However, the insurance policy at issue was a collateral protection policy purchased by the lender to protect their collateral interest in the subject vehicle. The court held that this type of policy is not subject to the Missouri Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law and that there were no Uninsured Motorist benefits available.
Nixon v. Liebelt & Knudson
Venue: Johnson County, Kansas John Bordeau won summary judgment in this case the day after receiving a $1,200,000 settlement demand. Mr. Bordeau represented Kenneth Liebelt, a life insurance agent/investment advisor who sold life insurance policies to the Nixons in 1993. The unique policies allowed for premiums to be paid up front, from which policy loans could be taken and the proceeds invested in other products. In 2001-2002 the plaintiffs took out maximum loans. The plaintiffs stopped paying the policy loan interest, and were forced to surrender the policies in 2012. Plaintiffs claimed Mr. Liebelt did not advise them properly, but Mr. Bordeau successfully argued that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations, winning full summary judgment in Mr. Liebelt’s favor.
MB Harper LLC v. Allied Retail Concepts
Venue: Johnson County, Kansas John Bordeau and Doug Hill represented the general contractor in this complicated multi-party construction dispute. The building owners hired the contractor to build a new salon in Johnson County, Kansas, but upon completion claimed numerous defects in a commercial building. The owner brought a private arbitration action against the contractor, seeking $3,000,000 in damages. Prior to arbitration, the owner refused to discuss settlement unless the general contractor made an opening offer of $1.5 million. After a one-week arbitration, the owner was awarded only $500,000. Concurrently, Mr. Bordeau and Mr. Hill prosecuted a civil case against the various contractors and suppliers who had been hired by their client and were involved in the allegedly defective work. That litigation resulted in numerous independent settlements, eventually recouping most of the amount awarded in the underlying arbitration.
Doris v. Curry Association Management, Inc., et al.
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri John Bordeau used the statute of limitations to obtain full summary judgment for Curry Association Management in this case arising from alleged foundation problems in a condominium building. Plaintiff alleged that Curry failed to disclose its knowledge of the building’s foundation problems when she purchased her condo unit in May 2006. When the condominium board passed a $9000 special assessment for foundation repairs against each condo owner in 2008, Ms. Doris refused to pay the assessment, and the board filed suit. She counterclaimed against the board and added claims against Curry, alleging numerous statutory and common law counts. But crucially, she never requested service on Curry until an amended suit was filed in February 2012. Discovery revealed evidence that the plaintiff had attended a condo Board meeting in June 2006 wherein foundation issues were discussed, which initiated the five-year statute of limitations’ accrual. Thus, the court entered summary judgment for Curry on all of the plaintiff’s claims, finding they were barred by the statute of limitations.
Gerlach v. Highwoods Properties
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri; Missouri Court of Appeals (Western District) John Bordeau successfully obtained summary judgment for Highwoods Properties in a case arising out of a vehicle and pedestrian accident in Kansas City’s historic Country Club Plaza. Highwoods owns several properties surrounding the city street where plaintiff was struck by a third-party motorist, while crossing in a crosswalk. The plaintiff claimed that Highwoods failed to control traffic conditions through the use of traffic control devices, thereby causing the accident and personal injuries. The plaintiff was seeking $2,000,000, plus punitive damages. Highwoods moved for summary judgment on the basis of Missouri’s “abutting landowner rule,” which holds that an abutting landowner is not responsible for the conditions on a public street, including traffic controls, because such controls are exclusively within the jurisdiction of the municipality. Mr. Bordeau argued that none of the exceptions to the abutting landowner rule applied in this case, because city officials testified in discovery that only the City of Kansas City had the legal ability to install or alter traffic controls. The trial court agreed, and the case against Highwoods was dismissed. The win was subsequently affirmed on appeal. After proceeding to trial against other defendants, the plaintiff appealed Highwoods’s summary judgment, arguing that the company’s responsibility for the roadways should be greater, since it owned property on both sides of the street in question. The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals rejected this argument and affirmed the summary judgment in favor of Highwoods.
Sexton v. Thomar Prop.
Venue: The American Arbitration Association John Bordeau defended a contractor who was accused of being responsible for more than $200,000 worth of property damage by the plaintiff/homeowner, after doing a project for the home owner. After a 30-day arbitration, the contractor was found not liable for the damages alleged.
ANPAC v Sear
Venue: United States District Court for the District of Kansas John Bordeau and Destiny Bounds obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client, American National Property & Casualty Company (ANPAC), in a claim for insurance coverage arising from a fatality accident. In the underlying action, the tortfeasor’s (driver who caused the accident) insurance carrier paid its policy limit to Sear, the decedent’s widow. Sear then made a claim to ANPAC, which had maintained an underinsured motorist policy for her and her deceased husband. Pursuant to the policy, ANPAC paid UIM benefits, but took an offset (and/or credit) for the underlying tortfeasor’s policy limit already paid to Sear as ANPAC’s policy contained a clear offset provision. The decedent’s widow argued that the ANPAC policy was ambiguous and thus the full underinsured motorist benefits should be paid without an offset (and/or credit) of the tortfeasor’s payment. The Court ultimately held in favor of ANPAC, stating that the policy was unambiguous and that ANPAC was entitled to the offset (and/or credit) of the tortfeaser’s policy. Thus, the amount previously paid for underinsured motorist benefits under decedent’s policy fully satisfied the underinsured motorist carrier’s (ANPAC) obligations pursuant to its policy.
- Kansas Bar Association
- The Missouri Bar
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Council on Litigation Management
- Earl J. O’Connor American Inn of Court
Super Lawyers Kansas and Missouri, construction litigation, 2013, 2014, 2015