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“As lawyers, we need to remember the nobility and often heroic nature of what we do. We need to lead our professional lives in a way that earns respect.”
Tom has been a trial lawyer for over 36 years. He received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Missouri – Columbia, worked for Price Waterhouse, and then turned to the law, receiving a Juris Doctorate from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Law in 1979. He was a partner in a large firm in Kansas City before leaving to co-found Walters Bender Strohbehn & Vaughan, P.C., dedicated to the representation of persons and entities injured by the actions of others in both business and personal injury lawsuits. Tom has litigated cases in state and federal courts across the country, including personal injuries, business disputes and class action cases. As a result of his success, he has received various honors: Best Lawyers in America, Best of the Bar by the Kansas City Business Journal, “Super Lawyer” in the Missouri and Kansas editions, and National Trial Lawyers Top 100.
Tom is also active in his service to the legal profession as a whole. On the local level, he served on numerous committees of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and was its President in 2010. He has been legal counsel for the KCMBF and is currently its Treasurer, serving on the KCMBF Liberty and Justice Gala Committee and the Legal Connection Project, regularly participating in the Voluntary Attorney Project. As a result of his efforts, Tom received recognition for his service to the legal community, including a President’s Award from the KCMBA in 1999, and a President’s Award from the KCMBF in 2005. He has been selected by the USDC for the Western District Missouri to serve on its Federal Practice Committee. On the state level, Tom is a proud member of the Missouri Bar, currently serving his third term on the Board of Governors as well as serving on the Executive and Finance Committees. He has served on numerous task forces in the profession, including the 2015-18 Task Force on the Profession, and Task Force on the KCMBA, and participates in numerous seminars educating other attorneys.
In his time out of the office, Mr. Bender has participated in various community organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Board of Directors, Kansas City Centurions, St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, American Royal Parade Committee, Volunteer Attorney Project, Kansas City Volunteer Lawyers & Accountants for the Arts, and the El Dorado Springs Educational Foundation.
Representing Plaintiffs in Numerous MDL Cases
Co-Lead Counsel in multi-state litigation involving defective products and unfair consumer practices
Steering Committee membership in Syngenta MDL involving premature release of seed before necessary market approval
Liaison Counsel in District of Kansas cases involving agricultural practices
Committee involvement in antitrust and consumer fraud cases
Litigation Involving Individuals Hurt by Others
The loss of a prematurely delivered child. Tom was also able to get the doctor to agree to limit the types of cases he would take so tragedies like this wouldn’t occur again.
Medical malpractice settlement involving a child who died when doctors failed to recognize the symptoms of infection. Tom’s clients were able to set up fund in honor of their child, and the hospital agreed to change procedures to prevent reoccurrence.
Successfully defends a criminal tax fraud case. The case would have resulted in financial ruin and incarceration of client.
Verdict for insurance company’s failure to pay after a fire. The insurance company denied the claim, asserting their own insured was connected with the arson. The jury awarded full damages and found vexatious refusal against the insured. More remarkable, after the verdict was rendered, the insurance company continued to assert that their insured had committed arson, which made it difficult for the insured to get insurance. A second suit was filed for defamation, resulting in an even more favorable disposition for the insured.
Verdict for actual and punitive damages for improper taking of stock value.
J.D., University of Missouri School of Law, 1979
B.S. in Accounting, cum laude, University of Missouri, 1975
Best Lawyers in America
AV (highest) rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, a peer rating system for attorneys
Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine, 2006−2017
President’s Award, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Foundation, 2005
President’s Award, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 1999
Best of the Bar, Kansas City Business Journal, 2005−2016
National Trial Lawyers Top 100
“Consumers: Are They a Class Act?” John Shamberg Memorial CLE (Johnson County Bar Foundation), 2013
“David v. Goliath: Understanding and Identifying a Class Action Lawsuit.“ CLE By the Hour (Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association), 2016
“Maximizing Your Effectiveness in Mediation: Do’s and Don’ts from Three Seasoned Mediators.” CLE By the Hour (Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association), 2016
“Maximizing Your Effectiveness in Mediation” (KCMBA Bench Bar Boardroom Conference), 2017
Ingram’s, The Kansas City Star, KC Counselor
Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
Missouri Bar Association
Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas
8th Circuit Court of Appeals
10th Circuit Court of Appeals
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