Admitted to Bar in
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court District of Kansas
U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
Douthit Frets Rouse Gentile & Rhodes, LLC
5250 W. 116th Place, Suite 400
Leawood, Kansas 66211
Phone: (913) 387-1600
- Washburn University School of Law, 1992
- Drury College, 1988
Mr. Rhodes is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer. He has successfully represented individuals, families and corporate entities in a wide range of litigation, both as a plaintiff’s lawyer and as a defense lawyer.
Mr. Rhodes has extensive trial experience in state and federal courts across the United States. In addition to being licensed in both Kansas and Missouri, Mr. Rhodes has appeared in cases pro hac vice in dozens of state and federal jurisdictions. Further, Mr. Rhodes has served as lead appellate counsel in appeals to numerous state and federal appellate courts, including the following landmark appeals:
- Millard v. Corrado, 14 S.W.3d 42 (Mo.App.E.D. 1999). In this appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that, under Missouri law, emergency room physicians had a common law duty to emergency room patients, separate and distinct from any duties arising from the physician/patient relationship. Summary judgment had been entered against DFRGR clients by the trial court. The appellate court reversed the entry of summary judgment against our clients and remanded the case for further proceedings, where the case was resolved.
- Lay v. P&G Health Care, Inc., 37 S.W.3d 310 (Mo.App.W.D. 2000). This appeal arose from a $10 million verdict Mr. Douthit and Mr. Rhodes obtained for a DFRGR client in a product liability case. The trial court took away the verdict. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes got the $10 million verdict reinstated, along with several million dollars in post-judgment interest. The opinion in this case clarified Missouri’s statute of repose for claims against engineers and architects.
- Steele v. Evenflo Company, Inc., 147 S.W.3d 781 (Mo.App.E.D. 2004) and Steele v. Evenflo Company, Inc., 178 S.W.3d 715 (Mo.App.E.D. 2005). These two appeals arose out of an $8.5 million verdict that Mr. Douthit, Mr. Gentile and Mr. Rhodes won for a DFRGR client in a product liability trial. Mr. Rhodes successfully handled both appeals and our client ultimately recovered the verdict plus several million dollars in pre- and post-judgment interest. The opinions in these appeals addressed numerous trial and procedural issues, as well as Missouri law regarding failure to warn claims.
- Moore v. Ford Motor Co., 332 S.W.3d 749 (Mo.banc 2011). This appeal arose out of a vehicular product liability case. The trial judge threw out our clients’ failure to warn claims, which resulted in a verdict for the defendant. The case was appealed and ultimately transferred to the Missouri Supreme Court, where Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that the trial court erred and that our clients were entitled to a new trial. The seminal opinion in this case clarified and simplified Missouri law on product liability failure to warn cases.
- Nokes v. HMS Host, USA, LLC, 353 S.W.3d 6 (Mo.App.W.D. 2011). This appeal occurred after the trial court granted summary judgment against the plaintiffs, the family members of two ladies who were killed in a wreck caused by a drunk driver. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that that entry of summary judgment was wrong. The cases were remanded and resolved. The opinion in this case clarified Missouri’s Dram Shop Stature and made it easier for victims of drunk drivers to obtain justice in civil litigation.
- Rider v. YMCA, S.W.3d (Mo.App.W.D. 2015). This appeal arose from a nearly $6 million dollar verdict that Mr. Rowe obtained for a DFRGR client, a young boy who broke a leg that ultimately had to be amputated. The trial court submitted a jury instruction, over our objection, that allowed the verdict to be reduced by 90%. On appeal, Mr. Rhodes successfully argued that the submission of the jury instruction was error. The appellate court agreed, reinstating the full verdict, plus post-judgment interest.
Mr. Rhodes began his legal career as a corporate defense lawyer, representing product manufacturers, automobile, motorcycle, ATV and PWC manufacturers, drug companies, hospitals and health care providers in trials and appeals around the country. Later, his practice evolved from defense work to include significant select cases on behalf of plaintiffs in catastrophic liability, wrongful death, negligence and commercial litigation, in addition to handling many of the appeals for DFRGR and often, for other law firms and professional groups.
Mr. Rhodes has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s highest possible rating for lawyers, receiving an AV, 5.0 preeminent rating for legal ability and ethical standards.
Mr. Rhodes was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. He received his undergraduate degree from Drury College and his law degree from Washburn University School of Law.
Areas of Practice
- Trials and appeals
- Product liability
- Vehicle crashworthiness
- Child safety seat litigation
- Personal injury
- Wrongful death
- Trucking and automobile wrecks
- Legal and medical malpractice
- Business Litigation
- Insurance “bad faith” litigation
- Class action
- Selected as one of Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyers, 2013, 2014, and 2015
- Selected as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Missouri and Kansas
- Lifetime Charter Member in Rue’s Ratings’ Best Attorneys of America
Activities and Memberships
- Attorneys Information Exchange Group
- Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
- Kansas Trial Lawyer Association
- American Academy of Justice
- The National Trial Lawyers
- Missouri Bar
- Kansas Bar
- Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Mr. Rhodes is a frequent author, speaker and teacher at Continuing Legal Education Seminars, both locally and nationally. Mr. Rhodes has spoken at seminars on the following topics:
- Child safety seat litigation
- Crashworthiness litigation
- Rollover litigation
- Seat failure litigation
- Heavy truck wreck litigation
- The discovery process
- Innovative liability, causation and damage theories
- Legal writing techniques
- Trial strategies and techniques
- Appellate strategy and techniques