Kansas City
Over $1 Billion in Verdicts and Recoveries
Anita Porte Robb Named in the Top Fifty Women Litigators Nationwide
Margaret Cronin Fisk
The National Law Journal

Fifty litigators who succeed in and out of the courthouse

Over the past two months, The National Law Journal has encouraged nominations from readers, sought suggestions from prominent lawyers and researched women involved in significant lawsuits to develop a list of the nation's top 50 women litigators. The process produced more than 100 legitimate candidates with long, largely successful, records of representing clients in motion, trial and appellate work. In narrowing the choices to 50, we sought a reflection of the wide range of practice areas and types of careers women litigators have established. While any list of "the best" is necessarily subjective, we believe the roster of the final 50 includes not just the best women litigators nationally but many of the best litigators period. The list includes some well-known names, but it also cites some less-publicized attorneys. Within the list of 50 leading women litigators, we have selected 10 for special recognition. In careers started in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, these 10 women have established themselves as among the nation's best litigators, often against daunting obstacles.

Half of a winning products liability duo

AT THE BEGINNING of Anita Porte Robb's career as a litigator, she worked as a defense attorney at a mid-sized Kansas City, Mo., law firm. "But the experience made me want to work on the other side," she says. Her firm was winning cases on motions or before juries, "for the wrong reasons. We won because the plaintiffs' lawyers were being outlawyered--not because the defense side was right."

These wins, she says, "bothered me deeply at a moral and ethical level. These were victims who deserved justice but didn't get it." Her husband, Gary Robb, who was practicing at another firm, had a parallel experience.

As a result, in 1984, both quit their other firms and founded the plaintiffs' firm Robb & Robb in Kansas City. By 1987, the firm had had its first million-dollar verdict. Since then, it has become one of the nation's most successful plaintiffs' firms.

Verdicts won by the pair, who try many of their cases together, include two of the largest products liability awards ever--$350 million and $70 million over the same crash of a Life Flight helicopter. Other big judgments in the 1990s include a $20 million verdict in a medical malpractice trial, a $25 million verdict over the death of a judge and a $14 million settlement in a case involving the wrongful death of a child. In recent months, the Robbs have won a $27.5 million settlement in an action over the crash of a plane filled with skydivers and an $18 million settlement of the lawsuit arising out of the death of professional wrestler Owen Hart. The Robbs also represent the Mel Carnahan family, in an action filed after the deaths of the senator and his son in a plane crash.

While the Robbs often try cases together, there is a definite split in who does what work. In the highest-profile lawsuits--about one-third of their practice--he takes the technical aspects and she takes the medical details and damages. She handles medical malpractice litigation on her own; he handles garden-variety aviation cases. In several of her medical malpractice cases, Robb has been able to collect more than damages for her clients; she has also spurred changes in policies or procedures. In a recent case, for instance, the hospital agreed in writing to change treatment protocols relating to withdrawal of medications from patients with certain neurological conditions.

In one of the firm's biggest victories--the $18 million settlement over the death of Owen Hart--the win was engineered by Anita Robb's pretrial work. She took more than 40 of the 50 depositions of witnesses. Hart had been killed in May 1999 while preparing to make a descent into a wrestling ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. He was attached to a singular line held by a snap shackle device. The device released, and Hart fell 78 feet to his death.

Robb tracked down and deposed a former stunt coordinator for the World Wrestling Federation who testified that the federation's executives had been pushing him to use the device on a stunt, "but he refused because it was a safety risk," Robb says. Two months after she took this deposition, the WWF agreed to settle.  

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Personal Injury Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Personal injury is an area of law that pertains to the injury of an individual. Both physical and emotional injuries fall into this branch of tort law. A personal injury lawyer is generally involved in cases where an injury has occurred due to the negligence of another party.

Examples of cases that a personal injury lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri can assist with include workplace accidents, falling or other accidents in the home, premises liability, defective and hazardous product cases, and dental and medical malpractice cases. If negligence on behalf of another party can be proved in court, compensation may be awarded.

Personal injury attorneys can also assist with industrial disease cases that may include respiratory diseases or a decline in health due to hazardous occupational conditions. These and other medical cases are often very complex, and it is advised that all aspects of the claim be handled by an experienced attorney.

Wrongful Death Lawyers - Kansas City, Missouri

Wrongful death falls under the common law jurisdictions wherein a person may be held liable for a death. It is important to note that wrongful death is the only course of legal action in which a company, rather than an individual, is at fault for a death.

In Kansas City, Missouri, cases involving wrongful death accidents require a preponderance of evidence as the standard of proof. Generally, the suit is filed by close relatives.

This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.

Robb & Robb LLC One Kansas City Place, Suite 3900 - 1200 Main Street , Kansas City , Missouri 64105

Telephone: 816-474-8080 Facsimile: 816-474-8081 Toll-Free: 1-800-474-1339