Adam Davis’s practice focuses on appellate work, as well as research, analysis, and brief writing on complex legal issues in a variety of practice areas.
Adam joined Wagstaff & Cartmell in 2009, following completion of a judicial clerkship for the Honorable Deanell Reece Tacha on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Adam has briefed cases to numerous state and federal appellate courts, and he has argued cases to several of those courts, including the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Fourth and Tenth Circuits, the Supreme Court of Missouri, and the Courts of Appeals of Missouri and Kansas. Adam has been chosen by Super Lawyers Magazine as a “Rising Star” in the area of Appellate Practice in each of the last three years.
Adam has also written briefs on numerous complex issues in state and federal trial courts. For instance, he has been heavily involved in briefing Daubert motions and other pre-trial issues in several mass-tort litigations, including two major MDLs for which Wagstaff & Cartmell has served as lead counsel: Avandia, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and Pelvic Mesh, in the Southern District of West Virginia. Adam also assisted with briefing on behalf of the state of Kansas and other states involved in a nationwide arbitration against the nation’s major tobacco manufacturers, and he has handled summary judgment motions and responses in a wide variety of cases.
After earning a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Adam worked for several years as a newspaper sports writer and copy editor. Adam then returned to his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, and earned a J.D. from the University of Kansas in 2008.
At KU, Adam was chosen as best oralist in the school’s moot court competition, and he earned the Samuel Mellinger Award as the school’s top graduate in the combined areas of scholarship, leadership, and service. His law review comment addressing the tension between the Freedom of Information Act and national security considerations was published by the William Mitchell School of Law’s Journal of the National Security Forum.
Examples of appellate victories:
Reversal of Court of Appeals, affirmance of trial court (4-3) in the Missouri Supreme Court, in Boland vs. Saint Luke’s Health System (2015). Adam briefed the case to the Supreme Court, with the aid of a co-defendant, and handled the full argument before the court. In a consolidation of five cases, the issue was whether the wrongful death statute of limitations should be applied when there is an allegation that the defendant’s fraud prevented the plaintiffs from knowing how their relatives had died. The majority of the Supreme Court sided with our client (which purchased the hospital after the events in question) and applied the statute of limitations, thereby dismissing all of the cases.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in The Schumacher Group, Ltd v. Schumacher (2015). After trial counsel from outside the firm prevailed on summary judgment, he asked Adam to handle the appeal, and the client agreed to retain Adam as counsel for that purpose. Adam briefed and argued the appeal, resulting in an affirmance less than two weeks after argument. The appeal related to counter-claims in a trust dispute. The Court of Appeals agreed that the counterclaims were procedurally improper.
Reversal (unanimous) in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, in Winston v. Winston (2014). Adam was hired as appellate counsel after an adverse decision by the trial court. The case involved trust administration, and the primary issue was whether our client had a fiduciary duty to approve certain distributions to his children, based on the language of the trusts at issue. Adam briefed and argued the appeal. The Supreme Court has declined transfer.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Kansas Court of Appeals in Midwest Trust Co. v. Brinton (2014). Previously, Adam successfully briefed the issue on summary judgment in the trial court. Wagstaff & Cartmell was hired to undo the distribution of trust funds that were distributed in a manner that was contrary to the provisions of the original trust. Adam briefed and argued the issue on appeal. Approximately $2 million had been wrongfully distributed and was brought back into the trust as a result of the litigation. The Supreme Court has denied a Petition for Review.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Supreme Court of Missouri in Mayes v. Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City (2014), a medical malpractice case. The case was dismissed after it was re-filed without the affidavit of merit that was filed in the original case. The plaintiff/appellant challenged the constitutionality of the affidavit-of-merit statute and also argued substantial compliance. Adam briefed the appeal, which was argued by Sarah S. Ruane on behalf of Saint Luke’s.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Tenth Circuit in Talavera v. Wiley (2013), a medical malpractice case. All five Defendant doctors prevailed on summary judgment in the federal District of Kansas, asserting that the plaintiff could not prove that any of the doctors caused her stroke or caused the result of her stroke to be worse than it otherwise would have been. Adam handled a large portion of the briefing and oral argument, with the assistance of counsel for the other Defendants.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Supreme Court of Kansas in Northern Natural Gas Co. v. ONEOK Field Services Co. (2013). Wagstaff & Cartmell represents a small oil and gas producer in Pratt County, Kansas. In this appeal, the issue was whether Kansas recognized the “rule of capture,” meaning that when oil or natural gas migrates more than a mile from an underground storage field, the landowner may reduce that oil or gas to possession. The Supreme Court agreed that the rule applies and, therefore, our client’s production of gas was not unlawful. Adam was part of a team from several firms that briefed the appeal.
Affirmance (unanimous) in the Supreme Court of Kansas in Superior Boiler Works v. Kimball (2011). Our client was sued for spoliation after destroying boxes of documents that were sought by a party to another case, in which our client was not involved. We successfully argued, in the trial court and on appeal, that Kansas did not recognize spoliation (the destruction of evidence) as an independent tort. Therefore, there was no claim against our client. Adam briefed the appeal, which was argued by Eric D. Barton.
Examples of other major cases:
Adam led the briefing team that responded to Daubert motions and handled other pre-trial legal issues in the multi-district litigation over the drug Avandia, in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That litigation resulted in a confidential settlement for Wagstaff & Cartmell’s clients and many other plaintiffs in the consolidated litigation.
Adam responded to summary judgment motions in state and federal court in environmental litigation regarding the alleged application of toxic chemicals on farmland in northwest Missouri. After summary judgment was denied, Wagstaff & Cartmell achieved a $10 million settlement on behalf of its clients.
Adam handled a large share of the briefing in a case against U-Haul in Arizona Superior Court, resulting from the death of our minor clients’ parents in a highway accident. This briefing included summary judgment responses, responses to motions to dismiss, responses to Daubert motions, responses to motions in limine, and two interlocutory appeals. The case resulted in a confidential settlement.
Adam assisted Tyler Hudson and attorneys from several other firms in briefing summary judgment and other issues on behalf of the plaintiffs in a major class action against the nation’s leading private equity firms, which was pending in the District of Massachusetts. Our efforts helped the plaintiffs, former shareholders of the companies affected by the firms’ alleged collusion, achieve $590.5 million in settlements.
Adam handled a large share of the pre-trial briefing and was also part of the trial team in 2015 case that resulted in a $6.7 million verdict for our clients, the widower and children of a 31-year-old woman who was killed in a highway crash. That case, which was tried in a rural Kansas Court, resulted in the largest compensatory damages verdict in a wrongful death case reported in Kansas.
Wagstaff & Cartmell represented a physician in a malpractice case, in which there were allegations of drug use. After the trial court ordered disclosure of the doctor’s drug treatment records, Adam filed a petition for a writ of prohibition in the Court of Appeals. As a result, the trial court judge withdrew her order requiring that the records be disclosed. The case later settled.
PRIOR WORK EXPERIENCE
Clerk. Hon. Deanell Reece Tacha, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
Sports writer and copy editor, The Greenville (S.C.) News; The (Danville, Ill.) Commercial-News
J.D., University of Kansas School of Law, 2008
• Samuel Mellinger Award
B.A., University of North Carolina
HONORS & AWARDS
Rising Star, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2013, 2014, and 2015
State of Missouri
State of Kansas
Western District of Missouri federal court
District of Kansas federal court
U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit
Vice-Chair, KCMBA Appellate Practice Committee