In the News

Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen, LLC in Sikeston, Mo., has been named a Tier 1 law firm for Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants and Commercial Litigation in the St. Louis Metropolitan by U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms in 2021,” and the firm was also named a Tier 2 law firm for Products Liability Litigation – Defendants in the St. Louis Metropolitan.

This is the 11th consecutive year U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers® collaboratively announced the rankings, and the third year consecutive Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen, LLC has been recognized.

Attorneys in the firm include: Joseph C. Blanton, Jr., Bryan E. Nickell, Thomas W. Collins, III, Patrick R. Douglas, Shaun D. Hanschen, Deidre A. Peters and Trey Watkins.

“Our attorneys and staff work hard for our clients, and we are very honored to be recognized again by U.S. News,” said Joseph C. Blanton Jr., partner in the firm.

“This year we are again honored to be a Tier 1 law firm for Medical Malpractice - Defendants.  Our experience in medical malpractice gives us a unique perspective that we pass on to our clients,” added Bryan E. Nickell, partner in the firm.

“We are also recognized in Commercial Litigation and Products Liability – Defendants,” added Thomas W. Collins, a partner in the firm. “We continue focus on the best representation in these areas and have been recognized by our peers.”

The 2021 rankings are based on the highest lawyer and firm participation on record, incorporating 8.3 million evaluations of more than 110,000 individual leading lawyers from more than 22,000 firms.

“For the 2021 ‘Best Law Firms’ publication, the evaluation process has remained just as rigorous and discerning as it did when we first started 11 years ago.” Says Phil Greer, CEO of Best Lawyers. “This year we reviewed 15,587 law firms throughout the United States – across 75 national practice areas – and a total of

2,179 firms received a national law firm ranking. We are proud that the ‘Best Law Firms’ rankings continue to act as an indicator of excellence throughout the legal industry.”

Ranked firms, presented in three tiers, are recognized on a national and regional-based scale. Firms that received a tier designation reflect the highest level of respect a firm can earn among other leading lawyers.

U.S News Rankings

and clients from the same communities and practice areas. Awards were given in 75 national practice areas and 127 metropolitan practice areas.

Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas & Hanschen, LLC, specializes in civil litigation in State and Federal Courts, including medical malpractice, products liability, personal injury cases and commercial litigation. Since 1914, the firm has established itself as one of the leading law firms in the State of Missouri and actively practices in 30 counties in the state's southeastern region, as well as in the St. Louis area.

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Tony C. “Trey” Watkins, III, as an associate to the firm. 

Trey graduated with a Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University School of Law in May 2020 and was sworn into the Missouri Bar in September 2020.

While a law student, Trey served on the Southern Illinois University School of Law Journal as Note Editor and Staff.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science/Pre-Law from Fontbonne University in St. Louis where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. He received Fontbonne’s Outstanding Graduate in Pre-Law in 2017 from the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion. While attending Fontbonne, Trey played on the men’s basketball team serving as captain and being named two-time defensive player of the year.

He also earned an Associates of Arts in Political Science from Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff graduating Magna Cum Laude. Trey played on the Raiders men’s basketball team while attending Three Rivers receiving the Highest GPA Award and highest field goal percentage.

A 2013 graduate of Charleston High School in Charleston, Missouri, Trey and his wife, Emmie, reside in Sikeston. 

Contact information for Trey Watkins: 

Email: twatkins@blantonlaw.com
Phone: (573) 471-1000
Fax: (573) 471-1012

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Monsanto’s successor Bayer AG has agreed to pay up to $300 Million to soybean producers and additional amounts to producers of other non-soybean and specialty crops who have suffered dicamba damage from dicamba sprayed ‘over the top’ of dicamba tolerant soybeans or cotton between 2015 and 2020.  Bayer has agreed to pay attorneys fees, litigation expenses and claims administration expenses and other costs in addition to the amounts provided to qualified claimants.  The total settlement value is expected to reach up to $400 Million. 

The settlement comes in the wake of a $265 Million verdict against Bayer and BASF in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, before United States District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, Jr.  On February 14, 2020, a jury awarded $15 Million in compensatory damages and $250 Million in punitive damages to Bader Farms, a peach grower in Southeast Missouri, in the first trial in the multidistrict litigation involving farmers suing Monsanto’s successor Bayer AG and German Chemical conglomerate BASF over crop damages from off-target movement of Dicamba Herbicide. 

Attorneys at the Blanton Law Firm worked with other law firms at the forefront of this multidistrict litigation against Monsanto and BASF.  Attorneys at the Blanton Law Firm have worked closely with attorneys on the Court-appointed Plaintiff’s Executive Committee, to help achieve this result. 

If you have suffered Dicamba related damage, you may be eligible for compensation.  Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas & Hanschen , LLC is happy to help.  Our law firm draws on 100 years of excellence in legal service to our clients.  Attorneys at the firm have been at the vanguard of this issue, and have litigated to obtain compensation for farmers damaged by dicamba drift.  We will work to obtain the best recovery for your farming operation possible.  We live in Southeast Missouri, and this has clearly been a problem for our local agricultural economy.  We will be happy to discuss your claim and help you obtain compensation for your losses.

Please call us today at (573) 471-1000 or e-mail Patrick Douglas at pdouglas@blantonlaw.com to discuss your claims. 

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Firm News

Firm attorneys have continued to represent clients in both transactions and litigation matters during the Covid Virus response while honoring the requests of elected officials.  Throughout the social distancing program, Firm lawyers have remained available to clients with respect to issues relating to the pandemic response and regular legal matters. 

In March, Diedre Peters closed large asset purchases of two separate businesses in the agricultural services sector for a firm client.  In March, Joseph Blanton completed a transaction in which a firm client sold his interests in a farming operation to its other principals.  Bryan Nickell represented a secured creditor in the sale of a cotton gin in the Missouri Bootheel.

Bryan Nickell, Shaun Hanschen and Joseph Blanton recently represented a municipality in an insurance coverage dispute with its liability insurers in the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.  In that suit, Firm attorneys defended a declaratory judgment action and prosecuted a Counterclaim relating to coverage and were able to help achieve a settlement of the insurance coverage litigation while the underlying suit also settled.

Joseph Blanton completed a five-month course of study and exam through the Harvard Business School and received a CORe certification in Accounting, Economics, and Data Analytics.  

Office Manager Darlene Ferrell recently retired after working for nearly 50 years at the Firm.  Sandy Nelson has been named the new Office Manager.

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Thomas W. Collins, III,  has been elected as a Fellow of Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), a national honorary society which is limited to the top 1/2 of 1 percent of litigation attorneys. Collins was installed as a Fellow at the fall meeting of the society in Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina on October 24. Firm members Joseph Blanton and Bryan Nickell are also LCA fellows.

 

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Blanton Law Firm News

Diedre Peters, formerly an associate with the Firm, became a member of the Firm effective January 1, 2019.  Diedre is a native of Bertrand, Missouri and is a graduate of Charleston High School.   Diedre is a graduate of Columbia College and a magnum cum laude graduate of the University of Illinois College of Law.  While in law school, Diedre served as an Associate Editor of the University of Illinois Law Review.  Diedre focuses her practice on litigation and transactions.

Joseph Blanton and Bryan Nickell obtained a defense verdict in an 11 day medical malpractice case tried to a jury in Scott County, Missouri in February.

Paralegal Melette Pobst and Office Manager Darlene Ferrell were recognized in July as Unsung Heroes by The Missouri Lawyers Weekly.  The article noted that Pobst’s skills are wide-ranging including managing discovery and helping with the preparation of pleadings and briefs in litigation matters as well as putting together the documents in complex transactions and estate plans.   Ferrell has been employed by the firm for nearly 50 years and has been the office manager for the last 30 years.

Attorneys Tom Collins and Shaun Hanschen reached a settlement in a contested employment law matter in August.

Attorney Patrick Douglas recently reached a settlement for a Firm client in an auto accident case.

The Firm will be listed in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers by U. S. News and World Reports for the St. Louis Market for commercial litigation, product liability defense, and medical malpractice defense.  Joseph C. Blanton, Jr. will be listed in Tier 1 in these areas.

The Firm is serving as co-counsel in a dicamba class action currently pending in the Circuit Court of Scott County, Missouri.

RN Aimee Eftink has joined the firm as an employed nurse consultant.   Aimee is a graduate of the Southeast Missouri University School of Nursing and is a former employee of Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston working primarily in the Intensive Care Unit.   The Firm now employs three full time nurse consultants, including Aimee, Crystal Nugent and Carole Hillis.

The Firm has been retained by a second Farm Credit System entity to provide advice on a variety of legal matters.  The Firm has represented Farm Credit entities since 1933.

Joseph Blanton received a Masters of Science in History from the University of Edinburgh, UK during the July commencement proceedings.  His masters thesis analyzed the contributions of Abraham Lincoln’s three law partners to Lincoln’s development as a lawyer and politician.

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Attorney Patrick Douglas has been appointed to the Nominating Committee for 2018 for the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association. The purpose of this Committee is to develop a recommendation of people to serve as Officers, Executive Committee Members, and State Vice Presidents for the upcoming year.

The Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association was first organized in 1922 and is comprised of 145-member organization includes levee boards, drainage districts, municipalities, port and harbor commissions, other State agencies and businesses throughout the Mississippi River Watershed which is 41% of the United States of America. The Association’s President and Vice Presidents are members of the Congress of the United States.

The principal objective of the Association is the support and sponsorship of the Mississippi River Valley Flood Control and Navigation interests to protecting the nation’s flood control system, by assuring re-investment in water infrastructure for the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

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SIKESTON—Shaun D. Hanschen of Sikeston was recently recognized with two distinguished awards for his legal work in Missouri.

Hanschen was awarded the David J. Dixon Appellate Advocacy Award by The Missouri Bar Foundation during the Missouri Bar Annual Meeting on September 26 in St. Louis. He also was named as one of 45 Up & Coming attorneys by Missouri Lawyers Media on October 12 during an awards luncheon at the Missouri Athletic Club in St. Louis.

The David J. Dixon Appellate Advocacy Award recognizes outstanding achievement in appellate practice by young lawyer members of The Missouri Bar. It is named after the late Judge Dixon, whose tenacity, professionalism and judicial skills epitomize outstanding appellate practice.
Missouri Lawyers Media recognized Hanschen as one of 45 Up & Coming attorneys in Missouri who demonstrate professional excellence while making a positive impact on the profession and community early in their careers.

Hanschen is a member of Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen, LLC. He has extensive litigation and appellate experience in Missouri and before the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.
“Shaun has a strong background in appellate work. He is known around Missouri as an outstanding legal writer and scholar. The Missouri Bar Foundation selected him for this award in recognition of his talents. His partners congratulate him on both of these prestigious awards.” said Joseph C. Blanton Jr., member, Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen.

Hanschen is a graduate of Jackson High School and attended the University of Missouri where he earned a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Spanish. He graduated Summa Cum Laude and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He attended law school at the University of Missouri where he was a member of the Missouri Law Review and the recipient of the award for Highest Scholastic Achievement among third year law students. Hanschen was also chosen as a member of the Order of the Coif. Following graduation, Shaun clerked for the Hon. Phillip R. Garrison of the Missouri Court of Appeals, Southern District. He is licensed in Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas & Hanschen specializes in complex civil litigation in state and federal courts, including medical malpractice, products liability, personal injury cases and business litigation. Since 1914, the firm has established itself as one of the leading law firms in the State of Missouri and actively practices in 30 counties in the state's southeastern region, as well as, in the St. Louis area.

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Attorney Patrick Douglas has become a member of the Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association.   The Mississippi Valley Flood Control Association was first organized in 1922 and is comprised of 145-member organization includes levee boards, drainage districts, municipalities, port and harbor commissions, other State agencies and businesses throughout the Mississippi River Watershed which is 41% of the United States of America.  The Association is comprised of a large group of individuals who are businessmen, property owners, conservationists, farmers, attorneys, doctors, wildlife enthusiasts, engineers, accountants, environmentalists, civil servants, and elected officials from all political parties that share common problems and concerns including flood control, navigation, channel improvements, and major drainage in the Mississippi River Watershed which impact the welfare and prosperity of the nation.  Patrick represents a number of local drainage and levee districts in Southeast Missouri.  The Association’s  President and Vice Presidents are members of the Congress of the United States. The principal objective of the Association is the support and sponsorship of the Mississippi River Valley Flood Control and Navigation interests to protecting the nation’s flood control system, by assuring re-investment in water infrastructure for the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

 
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SIKESTON—Carole Hillis, BSN, RN, was honored as a 2018 Unsung Legal Hero in the Paralegal category by Missouri Lawyers Weekly.

Carole Hillis is an in-house, nurse paralegal for Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglass and Hanschen, LLC. Hillis has a broad range of clinical experience that is very valuable to her firm. Since joining the firm, Hillis has had over a decade of experience in evaluation of complex medical issues in medical legal cases. Hillis also provides assistance in representation of the firm’s clients in all types of litigation.

"Carole Hillis is an invaluable member of our legal team. She is an exceptional nurse and paralegal. It is fitting that she has been recognized by this statewide legal publication." said Joseph C. Blanton, Jr, partner, Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas and Hanschen. 

 

Missouri Lawyers Weekly provides breaking, legal, business and national news vital to attorneys and legal professionals. 

 

Blanton, Nickell, Collins, Douglas & Hanschen specializes in complex civil litigation in state and federal courts, including medical malpractice, products liability, personal injury cases and business litigation. Since 1914, the firm has established itself as one of the leading law firms in the State of Missouri and actively practices in 30 counties in the state's southeastern region, as well as, in the St. Louis area.

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