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William G. Beck

Bill Beck has more than 35 years of experience as a trial lawyer. Bill’s national practice consists of trials, arbitrations, administrative proceedings, mediations and negotiations to resolve high stakes, technical, complex disputes involving environmental liability and insurance coverage.

Toxic Tort. Bill is particularly experienced in defending major toxic tort litigation, including both mass actions and class actions. His key wins include summary judgments and voluntary dismissals of a large group of high-profile, Erin Brockovich-created, hexavalent chromium exposure class actions, mass actions and individual suits; defense verdicts in a five-week groundwater jury trial and a complex odor trial; the nominal mass settlement of a 2,000-plaintiff groundwater and air case; and defeating class certification on pleadings alone. He reached and implemented some of the most challenging and controversial class settlements in recent times. Bill is presently defending numerous complex putative class actions, mass actions and individual toxic tort and odor nuisance cases in New York, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and California. Bill is comfortable and experienced cross-examining and developing experts in technical fields such as epidemiology, risk assessment, molecular biology and carcinogenesis, air dispersion modeling, groundwater modeling, geotechnical engineering and analytical chemistry.

Insurance Coverage. Bill has been lead counsel for plaintiffs prosecuting environmental insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits and claims involving more than 450 sites and the laws of more than 40 states. Bill’s insurance coverage team has experience in insurance archaeology, policy analysis, charting, allocation, claim development, settlement negotiations, coverage litigation, and alternative coverage dispute resolution. Together with Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, Bill represents innocent people who have been wrongfully imprisoned in obtaining compensation via law enforcement liability and other insurance, working nationally to establish cutting edge coverage theories. Bill has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars from insurers.

Superfund. Bill has defended companies against major environmental liabilities for decades, including more than 80 federal and state Superfund sites in more than 25 states. Bill has special proficiency in operator allocation, transporter liability and allocation, municipal solid waste liability and allocation, successor liability, orphan share and natural resource damages issues.

Bill is a member of the firm’s Executive Committee.

Court Memberships

  • Missouri
  • U.S. Supreme Court 
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, including its Trial Bar 
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas

Honors

  • Selected as one of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Lawyers in the United States, currently and 2007-09

  • Selected for National Law Journal's “Top 50 Energy & Environmental Trailblazers,” 2015

  • Selected as Leading Lawyer for Business by Chambers USA since 2004 (Environmental, Band 1)

  • Elected as Fellow of the American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel (ACCEC), 2014
  • Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America® for Litigation - Environmental in the Missouri-Kansas City market area, 2015 & 2018
  • Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America® for Insurance Law in the Missouri-Kansas City market area, 2012
  • Rated one of The Best Lawyers in America® since 2005 (Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law and Litigation - Environmental)
  • Chosen for Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers since 2005 (top 100 in Missouri, top 50 in Kansas City) 
  • Biography included in Who’s Who in American Law® 
  • Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating - AV Preeminent

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association and its Litigation, Insurance and Environmental Sections
  • Defense Research Institute and its Trial Techniques Committee
  • The Missouri Bar
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • American College of Coverage and Extracontractual Counsel
  • Kansas City Public Improvements Advisory Committee, past Chairman
  • Citizens Association of Kansas City, past Chairman
  • Kansas City Community Infrastructure Committee, past Finance Chairman
  • Midwest Innocence Project Advisory Board, past member

Publications

Press releases

Photo of William G. Beck

Assistant

Donna Tanking
816.460.5751

Industries

Education

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, J.D., 1978

University of Missouri-Kansas City, B.A., 1974

AWARDS