Overview
Experience
Perspectives

Sean helps clients solve problems – big or small, easy or hard – through a team approach.  Sean believes that regular and clear communication is of paramount importance to maintaining a valuable and rewarding attorney-client relationship. Some clients want quick, early, and pragmatic solutions. Others prefer to aggressively defend claims made against them. Whether the situation requires a creative problem-solver, aggressive litigator, or perhaps a little of both, Sean listens to and communicates with his clients to guide them to the best strategic approach to their problems.

Sean is a partner at the firm.  He routinely represents employers before state and federal regulatory agencies related to Title VII discrimination and retaliation cases, wage and hour collective and class actions, Family Medical Leave Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act cases. He also advises these clients on statutory compliance and development of employee procedures, handbooks, and manuals. Sean has significant experience with Employment Practices Liability (EPL) Insurance carriers and their policies.

Sean’s litigation experience also includes representation of professionals, non-profit organizations, and other businesses through their Errors & Omissions, Professional Liability, or Directors & Officers Liability insurance policies. These cases include homeowners’ association disputes, FDCPA litigation, fiduciary duty claims (derivative actions and otherwise) against corporations and their executives, and claims made by the government under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, Kansas Consumer Protection Act, and the False Claims Act.

Sean also defends personal injury litigation on behalf of his business and individual clients involving products liability claims, motor vehicle accidents, and premises liability.

Outside his practice, Sean enjoys spending time with his wife, Sarah, and their five children – Aidan, Alex, Austin, Ella, and Audrey. Sean coaches soccer for 2 of his kids and enjoys playing tennis.  He is an avid Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs fan.

Representative Matters

Michael Monroe v. City of Lawrence and Tarik Khatib
Venue: U.S. District Court, District of Kansas Sean Sturdivan and Tyler Hibler defended this employment discrimination case, in which Plaintiff Michael Monroe sought $2 million in damages due to his termination from employment as a Lawrence Police Sergeant, claiming race discrimination and violation of his liberty interest due process rights. The case stemmed from the KU athletic ticket scandal that involved members of the KU athletic department, including Rodney Jones, who were accused of illegally delivering thousands of basketball and football tickets to brokers and others for profit. Shortly after the ticket scandal was reported in the newspaper, the Lawrence Police Department received anonymous letters alleging that police officers may have dismissed traffic tickets for Rodney Jones in exchange for athletic tickets. The LPD conducted an internal investigation and ultimately decided to fire Plaintiff Monroe. A lengthy grievance process and hearing was undertaken, but the City Manager ultimately upheld Chief Khatib’s decision to terminate Monroe’s employment. Monroe, who is black, filed a complaint in federal court in Kansas alleging race discrimination and violation of his due process rights. At the conclusion of a lengthy discovery process, the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment. After significant briefing and the relatively rare occurrence of a nearly four-hour oral argument before Judge Eric Melgren, Defendants were successful in obtaining judgment in their favor.
Steve Lentz v. Hy-Vee and ENR Services, Inc.
Venue: Jackson County, Missouri Sean Sturdivan defended this false imprisonment claim, in which Plaintiff, male, was shopping at Defendant Hy-Vee, Inc.’s grocery store in Raytown, Missouri, on July 7, 2010. Plaintiff entered the Hy-Vee store and eventually headed to the bulk food department and filled a bag with roasted no-salt almonds. Hy-Vee hired ENR Services, Inc. to perform loss prevention services at the Raytown grocery store. ENR’s loss prevention officer observed Plaintiff begin to eat almonds from the bag. Plaintiff also placed a handful of almonds into his pocket while shopping throughout the Hy-Vee store. Plaintiff eventually returned to the bulk foods area and refilled the bag before purchasing the remainder of his groceries. Plaintiff did not purchase the almonds which he consumed or placed in his pocket. While exiting the store, Plaintiff walked past the customer service counter, picked up a newspaper, and placed it in his grocery bag. Plaintiff was stopped by Defendant’s loss prevention officer. Plaintiff accompanied Defendant’s loss prevention officers to the upstairs manager room of the Hy-Vee store. After approximately 30 minutes, a Raytown police officer arrived and issued the Plaintiff a citation for stealing. Plaintiff was later acquitted of the stealing charge. Plaintiff brought a suit for false imprisonment against Defendants Hy-Vee and ENR Services. Defendants stated that under the Merchants’ Affirmative Defense, it had the right to detain Plaintiff and investigate. The Plaintiff claimed that the Merchants’ Statute did not apply because the Plaintiff should not have been detained by Defendants and the manner of the detainment was unreasonable. Plaintiff’s last pre-trial demand was $100,000. Mr. Sturdivan obtained a complete defense verdict, from a unanimous jury, for Defendants Hy-Vee and ENR Services.
State of Missouri v. Professional Debt Management, Inc.
Venue: City of St. Louis, Missouri; Missouri Court of Appeals (Eastern District) Sean Sturdivan obtained a dismissal with prejudice for the defendant by successfully arguing that the Attorney General failed to state a claim on its allegations that defendant, a debt collection company, violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) through its debt collection activities. Sturdivan argued that the MMPA did not apply to debt collection activities. The Circuit Court agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice. The case then presented an issue of first impression for Missouri’s appellate courts, and the dismissal was upheld by the Eastern District Court of Appeals.
Johnson v. Barb Mac IV
Venue: Wyandotte County, Kansas Sean Sturdivan and Doug Hill won full summary judgment for their client, a McDonald’s franchisee, in a slip-and-fall case in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The plaintiff and his wife took their grandchildren to McDonald’s on Christmas Eve, just as a major ice storm was getting underway. Sturdivan and Hill argued that, under Kansas case law, the “winter storm doctrine” precluded the plaintiff’s claim. They worked with their expert witness, local TV weatherman Bryan Busby, to show that even though there was no falling precipitation, the ice that formed on the sidewalk was part of a larger winter storm that began before the plaintiff’s fall and lasted into the next day. Thus, they argued, the McDonald’s franchise had no legal duty to remove the ice until a reasonable time after the storm had ended. The trial court agreed and granted full summary judgment in favor of the defendant.
Dobbins v. Clark
Venue: Douglas County, Kansas Brad Russell and Sean Sturdivan obtained a defense verdict for a motorist who was involved in a collision with a world-class triathlete bicyclist. The plaintiff claimed that the accident resulted in a full thickness tear of his left rotator cuff, and he sought $280,000 in damages for past and future medical bills, future lost wages, and pain and suffering. Plaintiff’s last pre-trial demand was $70,000. After a 3-day trial, Mr. Russell and Mr. Sturdivan convinced the jury that the cyclist, who struck the side of the defendant’s vehicle, was 95% at fault for the accident. This resulted in no recovery for the plaintiff.
Hanna v. Derek, Inc. d/b/a McDonald’s
Venue: Johnson County, KS Sean Sturdivan obtained defense verdict in this products liability case, where the plaintiff alleged personal injuries resulting from a foreign object in his McMuffin sandwich. After briefing the issue of the applicable standard of care in Kansas strict liability cases involving food products, Mr. Sturdivan prevailed in a bench trial and won judgment in favor of the defendant.
State of Missouri v. Professional Debt Management, Inc.
Venue: City of St. Louis, Missouri; Missouri Court of Appeals (Eastern District) Sean Sturdivan obtained a dismissal with prejudice for the defendant by successfully arguing that the Attorney General failed to state a claim on its allegations that defendant, a debt collection company, violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) through its debt collection activities. Sturdivan argued that the MMPA did not apply to debt collection activities. The Circuit Court agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice. The case then presented an issue of first impression for Missouri’s appellate courts, and the dismissal was upheld by the Eastern District Court of Appeals.

Professional Affiliations

  • The Missouri BarKansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Johnson County Bar Association
  • Wyandotte County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers (MODL)
    Eagle International Associates,
  • Member of Board of Directors
  • Claims and Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance

Recognitions

  • Named as Top Rated Employment Litigation Attorney by SuperLawyers, 2020
  • Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating – AV Preeminent
  • Named “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine in 2011-2017

Publications

  • October 23, 2020 – “Resolution Strategies: How to “Win” the Deal,” Speaker, CLM Litigation Management Institute Conference
  • September 14, 2017 – “Negotiation Strategies – How to Resolve Cases Amicably, Quickly, and Effectively” – Panelist, Eagle International Associates Seminar, Ft. Wayne, IN
  • March 7, 2017 – Early and Often: Evaluating Your Claim and Launching Endgame” – Presenter, Eagle International Associates Seminar, Kansas City, MO
  • June 10, 2016 – “Best Practices for Defending (and Hopefully Avoiding) Discrimination and Due Process Claims,” Presenter, City Attorneys Association of Kansas Annual Meeting, Olathe, KS
  • March 24, 2016 – “Low Liability, High Exposure: Those Cases Everyone Loves to Try…,” Presenter, Eagle International Associates Seminar, Philadelphia, PA
  • March 16, 2015 – “Low Liability, High Exposure: Those Cases Everyone Loves to Try…,” Presenter, Eagle International Associates Seminar, Kansas City, MO
  • April 20, 2011 – “Dealing with Disabilities in the Work Place,” Bukaty Companies’ Power Lunch Series, Leawood, KS
  • March 2, 2011 – “Leaves of Absence: The Interplay between FMLA, Workers’ Compensation, and the ADA, and the Recent Changes in These Laws,” Presenter, Bukaty Companies’ Power Lunch Series, Leawood, KS