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R. Kent Sellers

For more than 25 years, Mr. Sellers has represented clients in a wide array of disputes involving complex legal issues, including contracts and business torts, employment discrimination and civil rights, insurance coverage, ERISA, receiverships, director and officer liability, class actions, federal preemption and tribal court jurisdiction. He has prepared briefs and argued cases before various federal and state appellate courts, including submission of amicus briefs. Mr. Sellers is experienced in the development of motion strategies and case management techniques for complex litigation.

  • Obtained discretionary transfer to state supreme court and briefed appeal that reversed dismissal of client’s claim for inverse condemnation and recognized property owner’s right to sue for “condemnation blight” arising from stalled redevelopment plan.
  • Represented a national mining company in simultaneous federal and state litigation, including extraordinary writ practice and parallel appeals, involving constitutional, statutory and common law claims arising from lawful use of public streets.
  • Obtained complete victory for governmental unit by unappealed summary judgment that vindicated unit’s statutory power to tax, and broad discretion to spend, for services to persons with developmental disabilities as against challenge by service provider seeking to restrict permissible scope of spending authority.
  • Obtained unappealed dismissal of constitutional challenges to state statute authorizing placement of cable television lines on state highway rights-of-way, which resulted in voluntary dismissal of a dozen cases asserting numerous claims against cable services provider.
  • Represented a national agricultural producer in state appeals and discretionary review proceedings arising from multiple suits alleging nuisance.
  • Represented a national financial institution in a federal appeal upholding a preliminary injunction against former employees to enforce nonsolicitation agreements and upholding an order refusing to compel FINRA arbitration.
  • Developed strategy and briefed motions to dismiss tribal court suit against non-Indian client for alleged breach of federal mineral contract.
  • Represented a national health care provider in federal judicial review of administrative denial of millions of dollars of cost reimbursement.
  • Represented municipality and permittee in judicial review of rezoning and special use permit for underground mining.
  • Represented an association of health care providers as amicus in a state supreme court appeal involving Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). 
  • Handled appeal successfully defending quarry’s special use permit against municipal challenge.
  • Briefed and argued successful post-trial motion and appeal overturning $250,000 award of punitive damages against client accused of wrongful detention and arrest.
  • Filed amicus brief and obtained state supreme court ruling that not-for-profit corporations have the same right as for-profit corporations to use restrictive covenants to prevent unfair competition by former employees.
  • Obtained state supreme court ruling recognizing setoff rights against insurance receiver, thereby sparing client from further losses to insolvent insurer.
  • Represented engine manufacturer in class-action appeal involving statutory wage and tort claims. 
  • Obtained federal appeals court decision upholding summary judgment for contract operator of a federal facility against claims of race, gender and age discrimination and retaliation.
  • Obtained federal appeals court decision upholding summary judgment for national waste company against claim of disability discrimination.
  • Briefed successful federal appeal upholding client’s ERISA benefits determination.
  • Briefed and argued successful state supreme court challenge to retroactive legislation as unconstitutional impairment of vested rights.
  • Obtained summary judgment for national manufacturer in action by union members alleging ERISA, RICO and other claims; briefed and argued successful federal appeal upholding favorable result.
  • Developed and implemented dispositive and evidentiary motion strategy for test case in multi-party franchise dispute with national tax preparation firm; case ultimately resolved by payment of $270 million to sixteen clients.

Court Memberships

  • Missouri
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Honors

  • Selected among The Best Lawyers in America®, 2008-2018
  • Martindale-Hubbell® “AV” Rating
  • Research Staff Attorney, Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District
  • Comment Editor, UMKC Law Review

Professional Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • The Missouri Bar
  • The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Photo of R. Kent  Sellers
F: 816.292.2001

Assistant

Jan Ruggles
816.460.5557

Education

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, J.D., with distinction, 1980

University of Missouri-Kansas City, B.A., with distinction, 1977

Clerkship(s)

  • Law Clerk to The Honorable Joseph E. Stevens, Jr., United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri