Bar & Court Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- Washburn University School of Law, J.D. 1992
- Drury College, B.A. 1988
Randy is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. He has successfully represented individuals, families and corporate entities in a wide range of litigation, both as a plaintiff’s lawyer and as a defense lawyer. His experience extends to state and federal courts across the United States. In addition to being licensed in Kansas and Missouri, Randy has appeared in cases pro hac vice in dozens of state and federal jurisdictions. Randy began his legal career as a corporate defense lawyer, representing product manufacturers, automobile, motorcycle, ATV and PWC manufacturers, drug companies, hospitals and health care providers in trials and appeals around the country. Later, his practice evolved from defense work to focus on significant select cases on behalf of plaintiffs in catastrophic liability, wrongful death, negligence and commercial litigation, in addition to handling appeals for the firm, other law firms and professional groups. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, he received his undergraduate degree from Drury College and his law degree from Washburn University School of Law.
Areas of Practice
- Catastrophic Loss
Areas of Emphasis
- Trials and Appeals
- Product Liability
- Vehicle Crashworthiness
- Child Safety Seat Litigation
- Personal Injury
- Wrongful Death
- Trucking and Automobile Wrecks
- Legal and Medical malpractice
- Business Litigation
- Insurance “bad faith” Litigation
- Class Actions
Activities and Memberships
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group
- Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
- Kansas Trial Lawyer Association
- American Academy of Justice
- The National Trial Lawyers
- The Missouri Bar
- Kansas Bar Association
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Honors and Recognition
- Chosen by The Appellate Lawyers as Recommended Appellate Lawyer in Kansas, 2022
- Selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, 2021
- Selected as among The Best Lawyers of America for Personal Injury Litigation
- Selected as among Missouri and Kansas Super Lawyers, 2013-present
- Named by the Kansas City Business Journal as Best of the Bar in appellate practice
- Recognized by Benchmark Litigation as a Litigation Star
- Selected as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Missouri and Kansas
- Lifetime Charter Member in Rue’s Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America
- Received highest attorney ranking from Martindale-Hubbell – AV Preeminent
In 2017, Randy obtained two nine figure verdicts for individual firm personal injury clients, one for $100 million and another for $125 million. In 2018, Randy was co-lead counsel in a personal injury case in Kansas that resulted in one of the highest verdicts in the state. Further, Randy has served as lead appellate counsel in appeals to numerous state and federal appellate courts, including the following appeals:
- Millard v. Corrado, 14 S.W.3d 42 (Mo.App.E.D. 1999). In this appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that, under Missouri law, emergency room physicians had a common law duty to emergency room patients, separate and distinct from any duties arising from the physician/patient relationship. Summary judgment had been entered against the firm’s clients by the trial court. The appellate court reversed the entry of summary judgment against our clients and remanded the case for further proceedings, where the case was resolved.
- Lay v. P&G Health Care, Inc., 37 S.W.3d 310 (Mo.App.W.D. 2000). This appeal arose from a $10 million verdict Mr. Douthit and Mr. Rhodes obtained for the firm’s client in a product liability case. The trial court took away the verdict. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes got the $10 million verdict reinstated, along with several million dollars in post-judgment interest. The opinion in this case clarified Missouri’s statute of repose for claims against engineers and architects.
- Steele v. Evenflo Company, Inc., 147 S.W.3d 781 (Mo.App.E.D. 2004) and Steele v. Evenflo Company, Inc., 178 S.W.3d 715 (Mo.App.E.D. 2005). These two appeals arose out of an $8.5 million verdict that Mr. Douthit, Mr. Gentile and Mr. Rhodes won for the firm’s client in a product liability trial. Mr. Rhodes successfully handled both appeals, and our client ultimately recovered the verdict plus several million dollars in pre- and post-judgment interest. The opinions in these appeals addressed numerous trial and procedural issues, as well as Missouri law regarding failure to warn claims.
- Moore v. Ford Motor Co., 332 S.W.3d 749 (Mo.banc 2011). This appeal arose out of a vehicular product liability case. The trial judge threw out our clients’ failure to warn claims, which resulted in a verdict for the defendant. The case was appealed and ultimately transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court, where Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that the trial court erred and that our clients were entitled to a new trial. The seminal opinion in this case clarified and simplified Missouri law on product liability failure to warn cases.
- Nokes v. HMS Host, USA, LLC, 353 S.W.3d 6 (Mo.App.W.D. 2011). This appeal occurred after the trial court granted summary judgment against the plaintiffs, the family members of two ladies who were killed in a wreck caused by a drunk driver. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that the entry of summary judgment was wrong. The cases were remanded and resolved. The opinion in this case clarified Missouri’s Dram Shop Statute and made it easier for victims of drunk drivers to obtain justice in civil litigation.
- Rider v. YMCA, 460 S.W.3d 378 (Mo.App.W.D. 2015). This appeal arose from a nearly $6 million verdict that Mr. Rowe obtained for a client, a young boy who broke a leg that ultimately had to be amputated. The trial court submitted a jury instruction, over our objection, that allowed the verdict to be reduced by 90%. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that the submission of the jury instruction was error. The appellate court agreed, reinstating the full verdict, plus post-judgment interest.
- Paris Limousine of Oklahoma, LLC v. Executive Coach Builders, Inc., 867 F.3d 871 (8th Cir. 2017). This appeal arose after the trial court granted a motion to dismiss against our client, concluding our client was improperly trying to assert a claim under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (for which there is no private cause of action) under the guise of a breach of warranty claim. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes argued the dismissal was improper because the claims made were breach of warranty claims, not claims under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and reversed the entry of dismissal, after which the case was resolved on the merits.
Publications and Presentations
Randy is a frequent author, speaker and teacher at continuing legal education seminars, both locally and nationally. He has spoken at seminars on the following topics:
- Child safety seat litigation
- Crashworthiness litigation
- Rollover litigation
- Seat failure litigation
- Heavy truck wreck litigation
- The discovery process and deposition techniques/strategies
- Innovative liability, causation and damage theories
- Legal writing techniques
- Trial strategies and techniques
- Appellate strategy and techniques