Trial lawyer with over 25 years of experience.
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Don O Keefe GOT Web
Don O Keefe GOT Web

About Don

Attorney In St. Louis, MO

Don O’Keefe has over 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. Don was recognized by Small Business Monthly as one of the Best Attorneys in St. Louis for small business owners in 2020.

Background

Education:

St. Mary’s University-TX
University of Missouri Law School

Professional:

Rabbitt, Pitzer & Snodgrass, P.C.
City Attorney, City of Olympian Village, Missouri
Counsel, Chesterfield Baseball  & Softball Association

Associations

  • Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA)
  • Product Liability Advisory Council (PLAC)
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers Member
  • The Missouri Bar Member
  • The Illinois Bar
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America (LCA)
    • Barrister, Order of Centurions
    • Advocate, Order of Certus

Licensure

Missouri, Illinois

Case Outcomes

Handling Attorney in the case of State Ex Rel. Taylor v. Wallace, a case that was submitted and argued to the Missouri Supreme Court on the issue of co-employee immunity involving fellow employees who were involved in a serious truck accident leaving one of the employees with serious and disabling injuries. Don defended the case and challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction to hear the case of first impression and after a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, the court found that the responsible employee for the accident was afforded co-employee immunity for the accident. Therefore, Don’s client was not subject to a civil suit and the case was dismissed.

Handling Attorney in the case of Smith v. Allied Services, a catastrophic trucking accident which Don defended in St. Charles County. The case was the single largest civil defense verdict in this county and represented the largest defense verdict as recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly for the year. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury with severe cognitive impairment which included a life care plan valued at more than $7.6 million. After spending several weeks in trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the waste company and its operator for the accident.

Handling Attorney in the case of Hubble v. Bi-State, a case that was argued before the Illinois Supreme Court on this issue of whether or not a government compact created by the states of Missouri and Illinois was considered a local public entity. Don defended the local bus company and light rail company through the courts before landing in the Illinois Supreme Court on the issue of whether or not Don’s client was a local public entity. The Court found that the bus company was a local public entity and dismissed the case because the case was filed after the limitations period governing public entities.

Handling attorney in an arbitration matter involving a dormitory construction project at Auburn University in Alabama. Don defended a medium-sized window manufacturer who was sued by the general contractor and the window installer who both claimed that the windows were defective necessitating repairs, and leading to cost overruns, delays and other damages exceeding $1.2 million. After a two-week arbitration hearing, the window manufacturer was exonerated from all liability. In addition, Don’s client was awarded its entire bill for legal fees and costs incurred.

Speaking Engagements and Publications

  • “Deposing the Trucking Company’s Safety Director,” Trucking Industry Defense Association, July 20, 2022 (Webinar)
  • “Deposition Preparation 101: Preparation, Professionalism, and the Reptilian Tactic, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, National Convention,  August 29, 2021 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Discoverability of Insurance Files – Preparing the Insurance Representative for Testimony, Missouri Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, March 15, 2021 (Branson, Missouri)
  • “Admissibility of Biomechanical Expert Testimony in Low-Speed Collisions”, May 24, 2016 (Rogers, AR)
  • “Bad Faith Actions in Missouri,” March 5, 2014 (Liberal, Missouri)
  • “Views from the Bench – Judge John Ross and Judge Nancy Schneider,” November 8, 2013 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Social Media and Electronic Devices in the Courtroom-A Clash of Old and New,” Missouri Judges Advanced Trial Skills Program, March 7, 2013 (Lake Ozark, Missouri)
  • “Employment Impact on Claims and Coverage,” June 6, 2012 (Springdale, Arkansas)
  • “Accident Evidence Evaluation in Trucking,” May 18, 2012 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • “Truck Accident Litigation from Start to Finish,” December 8, 2010 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • Nashville Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, August 4, 2010 (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • “Handling the Catastrophic Injury Case,” May 12, 2010 Dallas Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, August 4, 2009 (Dallas, Texas)
  • Defending the Catastrophic Brain Injury Case, A Mock Trial, July 30, 2009 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • Chicago Transportation Seminar, The Harmonie Group, July 16, 2008 (Chicago, Illinois)
  • “Advanced Expert Witness Deposition Tactics,” November 30, 2007 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Advanced Expert Witness Deposition Tactics,” October 24, 2006 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Handling, Preparing, and Cross-Examining Experts,” June 27, 2003 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • Donald L. O’Keefe and Timothy W. Callahan Something More Than What? A Primer for the Missouri Lawyer, 61 J. Mo.Bar 246 (2005).
  • “The Missouri Tort Reform Legislation,” August 11 2005 (St. Louis Missouri) “Something More’ Stepping Outside the Workers’ Comp. System,” October 1, 2004 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Your Witness: Finding, Preparing and Using Your Expert in Federal Court,” April 9, 2003 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Personal Injury Settlements in Missouri: Practical Methods for Perfecting the Settlement of a Claim,” January 30, 2003 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Subrogation and Other Means of Recovery in Missouri and Illinois,” October 24, 2002 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Trying the Wrongful Death Case in Missouri: Strategies in Preparation & Valuation,” December 19, 2001 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Inside the Jury Box: An In-Depth Discussion of Juror Perspectives,” August 2, 2001 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Evidence and Hearsay in the Missouri Courtroom,” April 5, 2001 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Keeping the Lid on Premises Liability Cases,” July 27, 2000 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Personal Injury Settlements in Missouri: Practical Methods for Perfecting the Settlement of a Claim,” March 30, 2000 (Clayton, Missouri)
  • “Survey of Recent Truck Verdicts in High Verdict Venues: What Works / What Doesn’t and Settlement,” August 27, 1999 (St. Louis, Missouri)
  • “Handling Tractor – Trailer Accidents in Missouri and Illinois – A Primer from the Defense Perspective,” Lumber Mutual Insurance Company, July 1, 1999 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Case Results

  • Assigned appellate attorney for the St. Louis mass transit agency following an adverse verdict of almost $1.9 million in the City of St. Louis. Don was engaged to seek direct transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court after the appellate court ruled that the mass transit’s statutory cap under state law was in conflict with certain federal regulations requiring motor carriers to maintain financial responsibility up to $5,000,000 for buses carrying over 16 passengers. Instead of a statutory cap of approximately $420,000, the cap was superseded by the five million per person limit according to Missouri Court of Appeals. If allowed to stand, this holding would have significantly impacted the mass transit agency’s operations and financial structure in both Missouri and Illinois if its liability extended to $5 million for each loss. After accepting transfer to the Missouri Supreme Court, Don was able to secure a reversal of the underlying appellate decision.  The Supreme Court ruled that there was no conflict between Missouri statutes and federal motor carrier regulations concerning financial responsibility. Therefore, the sovereign immunity cap was reinstated for Don’s client and the underlying verdict was remitted to the cap amount.
  • Handling attorney in an arbitration matter involving a dormitory construction project at Auburn University in Alabama. Don defended a medium-sized window manufacturer who was sued by the general contractor and the window installer who both claimed that the windows were defective necessitating repairs, and leading to cost overruns, delays and other damages exceeding $1.2 million. After a two-week arbitration hearing, the window manufacturer was exonerated from all liability. In addition, Don’s client was awarded its entire bill for legal fees and costs incurred.
  • Handling Attorney in the case of Hubble v. Bi-State, a case that was argued before the Illinois Supreme Court on this issue of whether or not a government compact created by the states of Missouri and Illinois was considered a local public entity. Don defended the local bus company and light rail company through the courts before landing in the Illinois Supreme Court on the issue of whether or not Don’s client was a local public entity. The Court found that the bus company was a local public entity and dismissed the case because the case was filed after the limitations period governing public entities.
  • Handling Attorney in the case of Smith v. Allied Services, a catastrophic trucking accident which Don defended in St. Charles County. The case was the single largest civil defense verdict in this county and represented the largest defense verdict as recognized by Missouri Lawyers Weekly for the year. The plaintiff suffered a traumatic brain injury with severe cognitive impairment which included a life care plan valued at more than $7.6 million. After spending several weeks in trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the waste company and its operator for the accident.
  • Handling Attorney in the case of State Ex Rel. Taylor v. Wallace, a case that was submitted and argued to the Missouri Supreme Court on the issue of co-employee immunity involving fellow employees who were involved in a serious truck accident leaving one of the employees with serious and disabling injuries. Don defended the case and challenged the lower court’s jurisdiction to hear the case of first impression and after a successful appeal to the Supreme Court, the court found that the responsible employee for the accident was afforded co-employee immunity for the accident. Therefore, Don’s client was not subject to a civil suit and the case was dismissed.
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