Meet Our Team


Principal

Seth Gausnell

Seth G. Gausnell has 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer. In all he has tried more than 100 cases to verdict in state and federal courts in Missouri and Illinois. He has also participated in hundreds of mediations in Missouri.

Seth G. Gausnell received a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Kansas at Lawrence in 1983 and received his J.D. in 1985 from Saint Louis University Law School.

Seth was admitted to the Bar in Missouri in 1986; the Bar in Kansas in 1987; and the Bar in Illinois in 1988. He is also admitted to practice in the United States District Court in both the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois, as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. His Martindale-Hubbell rating is AV.

Email: sgausnell@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Principal

Don O’Keefe

Donald L. O’Keefe has 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer. In all, he has tried more than 100 cases to verdict in state and federal courts in Missouri and Illinois and arbitrations before the American Arbitration Association and United States Arbitration and Mediation. Don has argued before appellate courts in both Missouri and Illinois and has been before the Missouri Supreme Court on multiple cases.

Don is a member of many prominent legal and state bar organizations including the Defense Research Institute (DRI), Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA), Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL), and both the Missouri and Illinois State Bar Associations. He is an AV Preeminent lawyer rated by Martindale Hubbell and has been recognized regularly by Super Lawyers in Transportation/Maritime law. Don is frequently recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly for favorable verdicts including the top defense verdict for a catastrophic trucking case in 2007; frequently lectures before many legal and industry organizations; and has served as a city attorney for a local municipality.

Email: dokeefe@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Principal

Bill Thomas

William S. Thomas is one of the firm’s many experienced trial lawyers, having tried more than 60 cases to verdict. His practice is diverse, with an emphasis in complex litigation. He tries cases in a number of difficult venues, from the City of St. Louis, Missouri, to Madison and St. Clair Counties, in Illinois, and Federal Court in East St. Louis and St. Louis. He was lead trial counsel in one of the longest civil jury trials in St. Louis County history, which lasted 100 trial days.

In addition to his trial practice, Bill is actively involved in a number of professional organizations. He is a former president of the Lawyers Association of St. Louis, the local trial bar. He is active in the Defense Research Institute, (DRI), serving on its Products Liability Committee, and that committee’s Building Products and Power Tool Specialized Litigation Groups, where he has spoken at DRI conferences. He is active in the DRI’s Construction Committee, and Professional Liability Committee, where he serves on their Design Professional Subcommittees. He has authored a number of articles for the DRI’s monthly publication, For the Defense. An extensive author and speaker on a number of topics from products liability to construction law issues, he currently serves on the Harmonie Group’s Board of Directors.

Email: wthomas@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Derek R
Principal

Derek Ruzicka

Derek P. Ruzicka has been a trial attorney since 2008 and is licensed to practice in Missouri and Illinois. He is also admitted to practice before the United States District Courts for the Eastern District of Missouri and the Southern District of Illinois. Before becoming an attorney, Derek worked in the construction industry for a local electrical contracting company.

Derek graduated with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Business Administration from Valparaiso University in 2004, where he was a member of the Dean’s List. He received his J.D. from Southern Illinois University School of Law in 2008 and was again a member of the Dean’s List. He was an editor for the Southern Illinois University Law Journal and was a teaching assistant for the law school’s legal research and writing program.

Email: druzicka@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Josh-Breithaupt
Principal

Josh C. Breithaupt

Josh has been practicing in the St. Louis region for the last 14 years and has had the opportunity to try cases and obtain outstanding results for his clients in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, Madison County, Illinois, and St. Clair County, Illinois which are widely regarded as three of the top ten worst venues for defendants in the United States. As one of the Principals at the firm, Josh routinely represents businesses, professionals, insurance companies, and individuals in his defense practice.

Josh has extensive experience in Business Litigation, Professional Liability, Premises Liability, Hotel and Hospitality Claims, Construction Litigation, and Transportation Claims. Since 2004, he has successfully represented his clients in all facets of litigation and trial. However, Josh also recognizes that every client is unique and always collaborates with them from the outset in order to determine their ideal outcome, find creative solutions to their problems, and develop the best possible resolution when litigation can and should be avoided.

Josh graduated at the top of his class from Saint Louis University School of Law where he was awarded a Dean’s Academic Scholarship and was a member of the Saint Louis University Law Journal. He was admitted to practice law in the state of Missouri in 2004, the state of Illinois in 2006, the state of Kansas in 2018, and is licensed in several United States Federal Courts. Outside of the office, Josh enjoys sports, music, exercise, and spending his free time with his wife Beth, eight year old son Parker, and the family’s two poorly behaved Welsh Corgis.

Email: jbreithaupt@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Haley Hughes
Associate

Hayley M. Hughes

Originally from Jacksonville, Illinois, Hayley M. Hughes attended Illinois College in her hometown. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Management and Organizational Leadership, and a minor in Sociology. She was also inducted into Delta Mu Delta, an international business honor society which recognizes and encourages academic excellence. Given her business background, Hayley brings an exceptional touch that complements the firm.

Hayley transitioned to law school at St. Louis University School of Law in St. Louis, Missouri, where she received a J.D. in May of 2018. She decided to call St. Louis home, and was admitted to the Missouri bar in September of 2018.

Hayley engages in a variety of civil defense litigation ranging from general liability to professional liability, including complex litigation.

Email: hhughes@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Jim Ribaudo
Associate

Jim Ribaudo

Jim Ribaudo focuses on assisting insurance companies with coverage issues as well as appellate matters. His background calls for an extensive amount of research and writing as well as being informed on the most recent developments in Missouri statutes and case law that change the insurance industry. Due to the wide variety of insurance claims, Jim Ribaudo has handled numerous first-party and third-party claims, including claims for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. In addition to handling insurance disputes from the initial complaint through trial, Jim has also handled numerous appeals on behalf of insurers and their insureds regarding a variety of issues including disputes over real property, motor vehicle accidents, and vicarious liability. Due to his talents with legal research and writing and role as an appellate attorney, Jim also provides essential assistance to other attorneys in litigation by drafting dispositive motions, jury instructions, and post-trial motions.

Email: jribaudo@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Julia Cammack
Associate

Julia Cammack

Julia joins Gausnell, O’Keefe & Thomas with nearly two years of experience in insurance defense work. Since beginning her defense practice, Julia has gained experience in a wide variety of civil litigation matters, ranging from motor vehicle accidents and premises liability cases to civil rights and products liability matters. Prior to joining the defense bar, Julia worked for two years at a small plaintiffs’ firm in Clayton, Missouri, where she assisted on a variety of personal injury matters, particularly in the areas of motor vehicle accidents and premises liability. Given her experience on the plaintiff’s side of civil litigation, Julia brings a unique perspective and background to insurance defense work.

Julia is a 2015 graduate of Washington University School of Law, where she served as an Executive Notes Editor for the Washington University Global Studies Law Review. She received her undergraduate degree in Spanish from Vanderbilt University in 2010. Julia was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 2015 and the Illinois Bar in 2016.

Email: jcammack@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Neil Jackson
Associate

Neil Jackson

Neil Jackson received his J.D. from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law in 2015. Prior to law school, Neil completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri – Columbia with a B.A. in political science and a Minor in business, graduating in 2012.

Neil was admitted to the Missouri bar in 2015. He is also admitted to the United States District Courts for Eastern District of the Missouri and the Western District of Missouri.

Prior to joining Gausnell, O'Keefe & Thomas, LLC, Neil was an associate at prestigious defense firms across Missouri, practicing, personal injury, premises liability and general defense litigation.

Email: njackson@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800


Tim McAleenan
Associate

Tim McAleenan Jr.

Tim McAleenan Jr. is an associate of the firm and has experience in civil trial litigation in the areas of premises liability, product liability, trucking, construction, transportation, real estate, banking/finance, and general insurance. In his practice, Tim has successfully tried cases to verdict throughout Missouri’s state courts and he has successfully briefed cases before the Missouri appellate courts as well. Since Tim has never lost a case on appeal, he has not yet appeared before the Missouri Supreme Court.

Whether he is offering his services to an individual or an insurance company, Tim provides representation that is thoroughly well-researched with a focus on the most efficient route to achieving the client’s final objective. In doing so, Tim seeks to provide a steady hand by clearly explaining to clients how the prevailing law aligns with their circumstances.

Prior to joining Gausnell, O’Keefe, and Thomas, LLC, Tim was an associate at Pitzer Snodgrass, P.C. in St. Louis City, practicing construction, premises liability, trucking, real estate, banking/finance, and general defense litigation, including defense of wrongful death claims.

Email: tmcaleenan@gotlawstl.com
Phone: 314-257-9800