Dickerson Oxton - March 2020

816-268-1960 | 913-428-8220 www.dickersonoxton.com

MAR. 2020




One Step at a Time



Seeing as March is Women’s History Month, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to give thanks to the trailblazers who have inspired me and my career. These women faced incredible uphill battles to do the work they loved, and while the road to equality still winds on, they made it that much easier for my generation to chase our dreams. The least I can do is say thank you. Austen. While her writing and wit are entertaining in their own right, it was the context of her authorship that really grabbed my attention. To be a woman in 19th-century Britain, where women weren’t even allowed to sign contracts, and still make a living as a novelist was no small feat. And yet, despite the legal and societal hurdles she faced, Austen became one of the most widely read authors of her time, all while she peppered her books with sharp criticism of the world she lived in. That is bravery. And, of course, women in law have always been a major inspiration for me. While their philosophies are very different, I find myself looking up to both Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Despite the political gulf between them, both of these women held their own against intense During my undergraduate years, I was an English major. Books and language were my world, yet one author in particular stood out to me: Jane

scrutiny to prove that women can be more than just lawyers and judges; they can sit at the highest levels of the justice system. That’s a far cry from where we used to be. At a women’s lawyers conference last year, a speaker brought up a 19th century Illinois Supreme Court ruling which flat out stated, “Women can’t be lawyers.” It was a stark reminder of how far we’ve come since those days but also raised an important point. This case was one of very few instances where officials outright stated a woman couldn’t practice law. Other states didn’t have such explicit laws or rulings because they didn’t need to. Social pressure, stigma, and internalized sexism were powerful forces that held women back from seeking these careers — discrimination doesn’t have to be overt to have an impact. It’s this more covert, subtle sexism that women still face today. Just in law alone, there are skills female lawyers have to learn just to stand a chance in a courtroom. Everything from how you dress to how “aggressive” you argue a case is going to be scrutinized by judges and jury members. These are obstacles men in this profession just don’t have to think about. Despite these and many other hurdles, women find success in this field — more and more every year.


I personally look up to a friend and mentor, Rosemarie Riddell Bogdan. Rose has been practicing for 27 years, becoming a partner at her firm during a time where that was almost unheard of. Her leadership and the strength she carries herself with are both something anyone can aspire to. So, while we still have a long way to go toward gender equality, I have hope. There are women out there right now making a difference, picking up the torch from the previous generation, and carrying it forward for our children. My daughter Heidi still isn’t at the age where she really knows what she wants to be when she grows up, and that’s okay. Regardless of whether or not she chooses to follow her father and me into law doesn’t matter; the only thing I care about is that whatever her passions are, she can pursue them uninhibited by the hurdles women face today. That may seem like a distant dream, but as Ruth Bader Ginsburg reminds us, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”







–Chelsea Dickerson



Lawsuits That Ch AMERICA’S MOST FAMOUS DEFECTIVE PRODUCT LITIGATION CASES You will often hear that we live in a “litigious society,” where people can sue each other for anything, but we can’t be too careful about what we consume. Litigation on defective or irresponsible products has always been an important factor in America’s democratic society to make sure corporations are held accountable for the danger they put others in. Without this system in place, America’s economy would make our neighborhoods more dangerous to live in. Here are some famous defective product cases that helped change our society forever. LIEBECK V. MCDONALD’S RESTAURANTS Also known as the hot coffee lawsuit, this case started after 79-year-old Stella Liebeck opened her McDonald’s coffee cup, spilled its contents on her lap, and severely burned her pelvic region. She was awarded $2.86 million by a jury for her injuries, and McDonald’s has since lowered temperatures of its coffee and added more warnings to its packaging.

Tama,the Calico THE FIRST FELINE STATIONMASTER IN ALL OF JAPAN During the mid-2000s, the Kishi Train Station in Japan began to deteriorate. By 2006, Kishi Station was left completely unstaffed because of low ridership and financial problems. However, one last resident still remained after everyone else was long gone: a black, white, and tan cat named Tama. Tama first appeared at the station as a young cat in the late 1990s. She lived near the train station and would visit commuters daily to receive affection and the occasional treat. But, as it turned out, her continued visits to Kishi Station would end up playing a much bigger role for the station. The same year it became unstaffed, residents living near the station asked the president of the Wakayama Electric Railway, Mitsunobu Kojima, to revive the station because the cat’s survival depended on it. It turns out Tama’s original owner had asked the railway workers to care for her before he moved away — he couldn’t bear to take her from the station she loved to visit so much. So, Kojima decided to go meet Tama. He liked her immediately and adopted her. A year later, Tama was officially named the Stationmaster of Kishi Station, the first cat stationmaster in Japan. To complete her look, Kojima gave her a small conductor hat to wear as she greeted commuters from her window perch inside the ticket gates. As an official stationmaster, Tama became well known all across Japan and throughout the world. She appeared in the media and on promotional materials that soon brought much-needed foot traffic to Kishi Station. Thousands of tourists came rushing to Kishi to see Tama for themselves, ride the Tamaden carriage, and pick up Tama merchandise inside the station. Tama brought joy to all commuters for the next several years before passing away in 2015. Nearly 3,000 people attended her funeral, and her legacy lives on. Tama’s successors continue as stationmasters: Nitama, who serves as Kishi stationmaster, and assistant Yontama at Idakiso, five stations away. Tama’s friendly and loving nature impacted many people around her, and she will always be affectionately known as the cat who saved the Japanese train station.

The case has been a topic of severe debate for the past 25 years. Wasn’t she at fault? Coffee is hot, and if you spill it, you’ll get



nged the Conversation

hurt. The plaintiff’s attorney argued that because the coffee was served at such high temperatures, it was more likely to injure than be consumed. In fact, McDonald’s received over 700 complaints on the same issue before Liebeck ever made her lawsuit. If you have HBO, check out the documentary “Hot Coffee” to learn more about this often-misunderstood case. UNITED STATES V. PHILIP MORRIS Individual smokers couldn’t sue smoking companies for their lack of warning labels or youth-focused advertising. Then, in 1994, Mississippi’s state attorney general Mike Moore sued big tobacco companies for their unfair behavior in marketing cigarettes and claimed they should be required to pay for smokers’ medical costs. The awareness sparked a growing united outrage in American society. In 1999, the United States Department of Justice sued several major tobacco companies like Philip Morris for the same reasons; in the process, it was also revealed that tobacco companies You worry about a lot when you have family or close friends in the hospital. Even though you want to be there for some of the scariest moments in your loved one’s life, your life isn’t put on pause. The long waits can be unnerving. There’s always one machine that won’t stop beeping. Telling people the same story over and over again is exhausting, and their consolation doesn’t help ease the stress. Most of all, it feels like the person you care so much about is in the hands of complete strangers. How could they really help someone they’ve never met or known? Even though you know they’ve spent a decade in school (or more!) learning how to save lives, “trusting in the healing process” sometimes doesn’t feel reassuring enough.

destroyed evidence that tobacco was linked to disease. In the largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history, tobacco companies agreed to pay $246 billion in fines to several state governments, which would be used to pay for medical bills and fund anti-smoking-related programs. Ever since these cornerstone lawsuits, companies are expected to research and label the consequences of their products — expectations set not only by doctors and the government but also the American public at large.


Orange Glazed Salmon Inspired by RealFoodWithJessica.com


So, when it comes to your true feelings, one of the best ways to cope is by talking to a close friend. If that’s too uncomfortable, writing is also healthy even if you don’t know what to write about. Describe the room, the beeping, the people you interacted with in the hospital. Find details to latch onto, and your feelings will do the rest. Distractions and sleep are also equally important. It might seem contradictory to put them together, but constantly worrying about your loved one will make it hard to get meaningful rest. Find your most rejuvenating “reset button” hobbies, like reading, watching TV, or listening to music. Get as much sleep as you can whenever possible. Getting good sleep will make it easier to deal with your other sources of stress. At Dickerson Oxton Law Firm, we know how much getting the right legal help can help ease the stress. Let us take care of your legal fight for you. Give us a call for your free case consultation at 816-268-1960.

directions • 2 salmon fillets (10 oz total) • 1 tsp salt • 2 tbsp ghee • 1 tbsp garlic, minced • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped • Zest from 1 orange • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice • 1 tsp tapioca starch 1. Heat oven to 425 F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Salt each fillet with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake for 6–8 minutes. 3. In a saucepan, combine ghee and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. 4. Add rosemary, zest, and juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in tapioca starch until lumps disappear and mixture thickens. 6. Plate salmon and top with orange sauce.

That’s why self-care is even more important.

“How could I possibly think of myself right now?” It’s a common thought when you’re worried about someone else. You might not realize it, but your loved one can tell you’re stressed. Taking care of yourself can be very beneficial to their recovery as well.


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Lessons From Women’s History Month Bringing Love, Joy, and Life Back to Kishi Station Most Famous Defective Product Litigation Cases Self-Care Tips While Loved Ones Are Hospitalized Take a Break Orange Glazed Salmon The Evolution of St. Patrick’s Day






From extravagant parades to green-dyed rivers, something about St. Patrick’s Day feels quintessentially American — despite its Irish

in the booming post-World War II economy, various businesses aggressively marketed the holiday to Americans of all heritages. Thus, it became a day when anyone could celebrate Irish American heritage, or at least it gave everyone an excuse to drink like they believe the Irish do. Ironically, imbibing was not a part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Ireland until relatively recently. Due to the religious nature of the holiday, pubs and bars closed down on March 17 until 1961. Additionally, the traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage is another American addition. In Ireland, pork and cabbage was actually more common, but impoverished Irish immigrants substituted less expensive beef for pork, and the tradition stuck. Even though the most widely observed St. Patrick’s Day celebrations originated in America, many of them have found their way back to Ireland. Starting in 1996, the St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Dublin now attracts over 1 million attendees with all the drinks and revelry that Americans love. You’d be hard pressed to find a green beer, though. In the hallowed birthplace of Guinness and whiskey, some traditions may be better left across the pond.

heritage. That’s because many common St. Patrick’s Day traditions actually originated in America, evolving beyond their roots in the Emerald Isle in a few key ways.

On March 17, Irish folks commemorate the death of St. Patrick, who brought Christianity to pagan Ireland during the late fourth and early fifth centuries. Historically, these religious origins make for a more somber observance of St. Patrick’s Day. Many Irish families go to church and eat a modest feast as the extent of their celebration. However, St. Patrick’s Day in America is not so much about venerating Ireland’s patron saint as it is about celebrating Irish heritage in a foreign land. When Catholic Irish immigrants first came to the United States, they faced persecution from a largely Protestant population. In response, Irish Americans began using March 17 as a day to publicly declare and celebrate Irish heritage with parades and demonstrations. The observation of St. Patrick’s Day grew in popularity in cities with large Irish populations, like Boston, New York, and Chicago. Then,

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