Robert G. Rooney
Bob focuses his practice on the areas of toxic tort, environmental, and other crisis-related litigation. These high-stakes areas often involve large numbers of claimants and require deep experience in defending both mass and class action lawsuits. His practice also includes the defense of suits alleging product defects and other traditional tort and business tort claims, as well as the representation of policyholders in insurance coverage matters.
Bob spent the first part of his career in a trial-intensive practice defending physicians and hospitals in malpractice actions throughout Missouri and Kansas. His experience in the courtroom has proven to be an invaluable asset, contributing to his ability to assess large cases that sometimes involve bet-the-company situations.
As his experience indicates, Bob has worked as national, regional and local counsel with clients across a broad spectrum of industries in both state and federal courts to ensure that they are given a fair opportunity to communicate in simple terms the concepts that are often at the center of complex processes. He also enjoys and takes the role of client counselor seriously when circumstances require complex issues management or strategic planning for either risk management purposes or in preparation for potential litigation.
- Successfully defended and secured dismissal of a national manufacturer and distributor of paints and solvents in five separate Texas lawsuits, each of which had over one hundred plaintiffs who alleged personal injuries based on exposure to and use of the company’s products.
- Successfully defended a chemical company against multiple class action lawsuits filed in both federal and state courts claiming exposure to chemicals used in fertilizer. Lathrop Gage secured one summary judgment, which effectively averted other trial efforts, and the remaining cases were voluntarily dismissed by the plaintiffs.
- Defended a chemicals company in a wrongful death case. The alleged plaintiff, a former employee, had toxic exposure to chemicals while on the work site. The firm successfully negotiated a settlement with a significantly reduced payment outcome, following negotiations.
- Defended a national waste management company in a series of multiple-plaintiff, federal court actions claiming cancers and other personal injuries based on alleged exposure to residual Manhattan Project radioactive waste stored in various areas of St. Louis County. Ultimately, all claims against the client were dismissed.
- Defended a chemical specialties company in a Missouri wrongful death lawsuit where the decedent, a former employee, was alleged to have developed leukemia as a result of toxic exposure to chemicals and radioactive material. After mounting an aggressive causation defense, negotiations followed and a dismissal was procured after payment of only a four-figure settlement amount.
- Defended a large agricultural and food production client in multiple state court cases brought by hundreds of plaintiffs alleging impacts from odor and other emissions from hog farms in Missouri. Secured defense verdict as a member of the trial team against the most vocal, lead plaintiff.
- Engineered an early exit from wrongful death lawsuit filed by Illinois resident alleging toxic exposures to emissions from a nearby chemical plant owned over time by three companies by successfully arguing that at least one of the other two defendant-companies owed our client, a producer of solvents and pigments, both indemnification and the duty to defend.
Complex Litigation and Class Actions
- Argued successfully in the Superior Court of the State of California on behalf of a national waste management company that plaintiff’s motion for class certification for an odor nuisance case should be denied. Subsequently, the claims were settled for a minimal amount.
- Defended a large agriculture and food production client in a jury trial with plaintiff claiming personal injury and property damage due to odor exposure from the client’s agriculture operations and hog farm. Lathrop Gage secured a defense verdict.
- Successfully defeated certification of a 10,000-home class alleging property damage and physical injuries based on odor and other emissions from a California landfill.
- Defended a large religious institution against multiple claimants in approximately thirty cases alleging decades-old incidents of abuse by numerous individual defendants. Ultimately, a resolution of all claims was successfully accomplished in the middle of the first trial.
- Successfully defended a chemical manufacturer and distributor in fifteen state court lawsuits and a federal class action brought by hundreds of plaintiffs in northwest Missouri alleging that exposure to components of a land-applied, manufacturing sludge used as fertilizer resulted in wide-spread cancers and loss of property values over a multiple-county area. After securing summary judgment on all theories in the lead state court case and the class action in federal court, all remaining lawsuits were dismissed.
- Successfully defended a manufacturer and distributor of chromium chemicals in a medical monitoring suit filed in federal court, which sought certification of a multi-county class of thousands of individuals allegedly exposed to a carcinogen in a fertilizer sludge product. The case was ultimately dismissed.
- Over the course of ten years, Bob had the opportunity to represent most of the major health systems and hospitals in western Missouri and eastern Kansas, as well as dozens of physician groups and doctors in medical malpractice cases. During this period, he defended hundreds of lawsuits, scoring dismissals in over half. Of the cases that were tried, all but one resulted in a directed or defense verdict.
- Retained as a third-party neutral by national health care provider to sit on its internal review board and assess the validity of patient complaints and institutional concerns regarding medical providers. Where complaints or concerns were valid, the role also required the determination of an appropriate response, which included the curtailment or revocation of professional privileges.
- Pursued a coverage action against an insurance company when it denied coverage for litigation expenses and verdicts that a national agricultural and food production company sustained as a result of serial litigation in Missouri. Ultimately, the insurer conceded coverage and agreed to pay an eight figure settlement.
- Worked as part of a team charged with pursuing a coverage action after a national waste management client was denied insurance coverage for litigation expenses and remediation efforts related to five landfill sites. The insurer ultimately agreed to resolve the case for an eight-figure payment, which successfully opened additional layers of excess coverage.
- U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
- 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 Southern District of Texas
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Editor-in-Chief, The Georgetown Immigration Law Journal
- Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Rating - AV Preeminent ™
- American Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- The Missouri Bar
- Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL)
- Johnson County Bar Association
- Kansas Bar Association
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
- Author, The Power to Pretermit An Application for Asylum: Improper Policy for American Asylum Law, The Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Fall 1991), 641
- December 17, 2010
- January 23, 2008
2345 Grand Blvd.Suite 2200Kansas City, MO 64108
Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1992
University of Dallas, B.A., 1988