Portia C. Kayser

Portia C. Kayser

Partner
St. Louis, MO
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ABOUT

With over 10 years of litigation experience and 18 years of business consulting experience, Portia brings a depth of knowledge in the areas of construction litigation, governmental liability and civil rights, appellate law, and alternative dispute resolution. She represents both small and large businesses, including architects, engineers, contractors, and owners in complex construction law cases, involving defense of claims of catastrophic personal injuries occurring at construction sites, construction defect claims on commercial and residential projects, mold infestation, EIFS failure, professional design liability and OSHA administrative matters. Portia also represents city and county governments, and other public entities in a wide range of legal matters, including law enforcement liability, civil rights, municipal liability, open records and meetings, and zoning and land use issues.

Portia is a certified mediator with a passion for helping parties find creative resolutions to their conflicts. She is a strong advocate of alternative dispute resolution and putting the power to resolve cases in the hands of the parties rather than having to accept a decision made by strangers in a court of law.

Portia is also an adjunct professor at St. Louis University School of Law. She has been recognized by the Missouri Lawyers Weekly as a Women’s Justice Award Winner, recognized in Best Lawyers and St. Louis Top Lawyers in the area of municipal litigation, and is a frequent speaker on topics ranging from construction contracts to appellate advocacy.

While in law school, she served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Judge E. Richard Webber of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Prior to joining Practus, Portia was Managing Partner of Fisher Patterson Sayler & Smith’s St. Louis, Missouri office.

When she’s not working, Portia enjoys spending time with her 5 kids and 4 dogs. She also loves cooking, baking, and traveling.

ADMISSIONS

  • Illinois 2010
  • Missouri 2011
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • Supreme Court of Missouri
  • Uniform Bar
  • United State Supreme Court
  • United States Bankruptcy Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
  • United States Court of Appeals for 8 th Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

LANGUAGE

  • English
  • French

EDUCATION

St. Louis University School of Law
J.D., cum laude, with a Certificate in International and Comparative Law
Thunderbird, Garvin School of Global Management
M.I.M., MBA
University of Wyoming
B.A. in International Studies, B.A. in Economics

AWARDS

  • Best Lawyers® 2021-2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Municipal in St. Louis
  • Best Lawyers in America© – Municipal Litigation
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly Women’s Justice Award: Leader of Tomorrow
  • Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society
  • Robert M. Lynch Award in Contracts
  • David Grant Clinical Student of the Year

FUN FACTS

FAVORITE QUOTE

Favorite Quote

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Vivian Greene
  • Favorite Book
    Favorite Book

    Toujours Provence

    by Peter Mayle

  • Favorite Song
    Favorite Song

    Dancing Queen

    by Abba

  • Favorite Movie
    Favorite Movie

    Casablanca

  • Favorite Vacation
    Favorite Vacation

    Tuscany Region of Italy

  • Favorite Meal
    Favorite Meal

    Any meal with my family

  • Favorite Artist
    Favorite Artist

    Monet and my mother!

ALTERNATE CAREER PATH

Alternate Carrer Path

If I weren’t a lawyer, I would be a renting surf boards on the beach.

ADMISSIONS

  • Illinois 2010
  • Missouri 2011
  • Supreme Court of Illinois
  • Supreme Court of Missouri
  • Uniform Bar
  • United State Supreme Court
  • United States Bankruptcy Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
  • United States Court of Appeals for 8 th Circuit
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri

LANGUAGE

  • English
  • French

EDUCATION

St. Louis University School of Law
J.D., cum laude, with a Certificate in International and Comparative Law
Thunderbird, Garvin School of Global Management
M.I.M., MBA
University of Wyoming
B.A. in International Studies, B.A. in Economics

AWARDS

  • Best Lawyers® 2021-2022 “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Municipal in St. Louis
  • Best Lawyers in America© – Municipal Litigation
  • Missouri Lawyers Weekly Women’s Justice Award: Leader of Tomorrow
  • Alpha Sigma Nu Honor Society
  • Robert M. Lynch Award in Contracts
  • David Grant Clinical Student of the Year

RELEVANT EXPERIENCE

Prior to joining Practus, Portia was the Managing Partner of Fisher Patterson Sayler & Smith’s St. Louis, MO office where she focused on litigation and appeals in the areas of municipality, constructions, and busines law. She also serves as an Associate Attorney with Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice, LLP and spent 18 Years Consulting Businesses on business planning, navigating import/export regulations, and evaluating new business markets.

Portia’s areas of expertise include:
Law Enforcement Defense, Construction Law Government Liability Claims, Construction OSHA Administrative and Consulting, Appellate Practice, Municipal Defense, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Corporate Counsel


REPRESENTATIVE MATTERS

  • Won 8th Circuit Appeal on behalf of Deputy in a Constitutional challenge to appellants detainment.
  • Won 8th Circuit Appeal on behalf of County against a Prisoner who alleged he was denied appropriate medical care.
  • Successfully defended County in dangerous condition of property suit filed by a plaintiff seeking over $1,000,000 in damages for a severely broken leg – obtaining dismissal without payment or finding of liability.
  • Successfully defended municipality in wrongful death suit,obtaining dismissal without payment or finding of liability.
  • Successfully defended performance bond claim in suit against national construction company based upon failure to perform scope of work.
  • Successfully defended City police department and two officers in discrimination suit without payment or finding of liability. {S0507702}
  • Negotiated and obtained contract payment from Shell Oil being wrongfully withheld from General Contractor.
  • Successfully extricated City from dangerous condition of property claim without any assessment of liability and without settlement.
  • Obtained summary judgment in favor of a Construction Manager on University of Illinois project where two electricians alleged damages for personal injuries sustained in an arc flash on the project.
  • Successfully wrote and argued appeal in the Eastern District of Missouri defending summary judgment granted in favor of event venue and national sports team.
  • Successfully defended nine co-workers in a $5 Million Dollar construction wrongful death action, getting all 9 defendants out of the suit without liability.
  • Successfully wrote and argued appeal in the Western District of Missouri defending summary judgment obtained in a multi-milliondollar construction accident case on behalf of general contractor and first tier sub-contractor.
  • Defended and obtained summary judgment in a $250,000 premises liability and battery case filed in Missouri state court on behalf of property owner.
  • Defended and obtained dismissal in a $1 million personal injury matter filed in Illinois state court on behalf of construction company employer.
  • Defended and obtained summary judgment in a $100,000 premises liability case filed in Missouri state court on behalf of storeowner,and obtained reimbursement for cost of defense from property owner.
  • Defended and obtained summary judgment in a construction personal injury case filed in Illinois state court on behalf of project construction manager.
  • Successfully negotiated $1 million dollar employment contract for doctor.
  • Successfully negotiated $150,000 reimbursement from subcontractor for breach of contract and faulty installation of storm sewer in California project on behalf of general contractor.
  • Defended and obtained dismissal in $2 million personal injury case filed in Missouri state court on behalf of municipality.
  • Defended and obtained dismissal in $1 million personal injurynegligent entrustment case filed in Missouri state court on behalf of rental car company.
  • Successfully wrote and argued two appeals against the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations on behalf of employees who were wrongfully denied unemployment benefits.

PUBLISHED CASES

  • Clark v. Clark, 926 F. 3d 972 (8th Cir. 2019) (Cert. denied)
  • Kruse v. Budget Truck Rental; 2015 IL App (5th) 140179-U.
  • Watson v. Clayco, Concrete Strategies, and John Liss, Missouri Western District; 458 S.W.3d 337; 2015
  • Rapp v. Eagle Plumbing, Inc., 440 S.W.3d 519 (Mo.App. E.D. 2014).
  • Brett Busse v. SCP Worldwide I, L.P. et al., 409 S.W.3d 428 (Mo. App. E. D. 2013).
  • Hill v. Norton & Young, Inc., 305 S.W.3d 491 (Mo.App.E.D. 2010).
  • Guccione v. Rays Tree Service, 302 S.W.3d 252 (Mo.App. E.D. 2010).

TALKS/SEMINARS

  • Legal Implications of Safety in Construction
  • Constitutional Claims and Defending Law Enforcement
  • Employment Discrimination under the Missouri Commission on Human Rights – A Comparison with EEOC Charges
  • Governmental Immunities and Defending Municipalities
  • Anatomy of a Lawsuit and General Tort Defense
  • Illinois State Bar Association Construction Mock Mediation CLE for Practitioners (as General Contractor)
  • Illinois State Bar Association Construction Council Mock Trial CLE for Practitioners – Construction Contract and Defect Case (Defense)
  • Missouri and Illinois Vexatious Refusal to Pay and Impact on Claim Handling
  • Municipalities and Premises Liability – Cost Benefit Analysis
  • Municipal Liability, Sovereign Immunity and Cost Shifting Ordinances
  • Continuing Legal Education Presenter – Medicare and Medicaid Recoveries in Settlements.
  • Protecting Confidential Client Information and Compliance with HIPAA Regulations.

 

Annually from 2011 to Present

  • Liability Exposure from Contracting Decisions in Construction Contracts.
  • Crafting a Persuasive Appellate Argument.
  • The Non-Traditional Role of Women in the Law.
  • The Insanity Defense in the International Criminal Court.
  • Managing Financial Expectations in a Recession.

 

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS & BOARD MEMBERSHIPS

  • Illinois State Bar Association – Council Member – Construction Law Council – Former Chair – Construction Law Continuing Legal Education – Former Chair – Construction Council Law School Outreach
  • United States Bankruptcy Court Eastern District Local Rules Advisory Committee
  • Bar Association of St. Clair County, Illinois
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
  • Missouri Association of Defense Lawyers
  • Women Lawyer’s Association

PRESS

• Continuing Legal Education – Protecting Medicare and Medicaid liens when negotiating settlements (Approved for MO Bar CLE Credit)
• Employers Beware – Missouri Strikes Another Blow to Enforcement of Employee Arbitration Agreements; March 2015
• Navigating Missouri Punitive Damages in the wake of Lewellen v. Franklin; September 2014
• Missouri Lawyers Weekly, February 1, 2010: Violating Employers Rules Not Misconduct If For Safety.


CONNECT WITH ME

At Practus, we handle complex and challenging legal matters. I look forward to talking to you about how we can best meet your goals.

CONTACT ME
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