John D. Cooney

Principal
John D. Cooney is a trial lawyer who concentrates on successfully defending individuals, corporations, and insurers with a particular emphasis on complex personal injury, construction defect, and insurance coverage and bad faith litigation.
photo of attorney John D. Cooney

Overview

John D. Cooney’s trial practice focuses on the defense of civil lawsuits with an emphasis on complex personal injury, construction defect, insurance coverage and insurance bad faith litigation. John has taken multiple jury trials to verdict and has successfully obtained defense verdicts in venues throughout the State of Missouri. He has also successfully briefed and argued appeals in the Eighth Circuit and the Missouri Court of Appeals on several occasions. John is a trial lawyer with extensive knowledge and experience in handling complex and challenging cases from start to finish resulting in successful results for his clients. John’s successful trial results include defense verdicts and summary judgment wins in cases with millions of dollars in claimed damages at issue. This includes a recent high-profile case featured in Law360.com in which John obtained a judgment in favor of his insurer clients, relieving them of a potential obligation to pay damages in excess of $20,000,000, which was later affirmed by the United States 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

John was named as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in the field of Insurance Law by Best Lawyers in 2022. He was named a "Future Star" by Benchmark Litigation in 2022, and named to the Benchmark 40 and Under Hot List four consecutive years. John was awarded the Missouri Lawyers Weekly “Up and Coming” lawyer award in 2019.

John and his wife Whitney reside in University City, Missouri, where they are raising their two sons. John and Whitney are supporters of the Moog Center for Deaf Education, where both of their sons received their early education.

Recent Results

Past Results

  • Scottsdale Insurance Company v. American Detective Services, et al., United States District Court Western District of Missouri, 5:22-cv-06049-BP (August 2023). In August of 2023, WWBH attorneys Russ Watters, Lucas Ude, John Cooney and Mike Maguire obtained summary judgment in favor of their insurer client in coverage litigation involving a class action arbitration award and judgment in excess of $54,000,000.00. Within the Order, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri enforced the language of the policy and concluded that the willful and intentional conduct described in the arbitration award fell outside of the coverage afforded by the insurer’s policies, including the errors and omissions coverage part included therein. The Court additionally rejected arguments raised by the insured and the claimant that the insurer should be estopped from denying coverage for any reason not expressly listed in a prior reservation of rights letter issued by the insurer. This opinion is a significant victory for WWBH’s insurer client that was simultaneously being pursued in a separate garnishment case.
  • Brown v. Krupp Construction; St. Louis County Circuit Court (2022) – Obtained summary judgment in favor of construction contractor in personal injury case alleging fall in unsecured sewer opening.
  • AMCO/Depositors Insurance v. Columbia Maintenance Company, et al.; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (2021) – Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer clients relieving them of a potential obligation to pay damages in excess of $20,000,000, which was later affirmed by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in AMCO/Depositors Insurance vs Columbia Maintenance Co. 2022 WL 288144 (8th Cir.2022).
  • Murphy Company v. Pro-Insulation, Inc. – AAA Construction Arbitration (2021) – Obtained complete defense win in favor of a local insulation contractor following a week-long arbitration in the City of St. Louis. The claimant alleged contractor caused damages in excess of $2.5 million due to a breach of contract and poor workmanship on the project. The Arbitration Panel found in favor of client on all claims, awarded the claimant zero damages, and awarded contractor its attorney’s fees, costs, and arbitration expenses in excess of $150,000.
  • Pierce v. Grinnell Select; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (2021) – Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer client on coverage dispute involving the interpretation and application of an Underinsured Motorist provision.
  • Morris v. GEICO; Circuit Court of Clay County (2021) – Obtained summary judgment in favor of GEICO on complex insurance coverage dispute involving the interpretation and application of an Uninsured Motorist provision. Affirmed by the Missouri Court of Appeals for the Western District at 619 S.W. 3d 103 (Mo. App. W.D 2021)
  • Education Realty Trust v. Excel Plumbing; City of St. Louis Circuit Court (2020) – Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of plumbing contractor in case involving water damage in excess of $300,000.
  • Kuhlenbeck v. Schaefer; St. Charles County Circuit Court (2017) – Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of homeowner in case involving serious injury allegedly caused by dog.
  • Mavrakis v. Mary Engelbreit Studios, Inc.; St. Louis County Circuit Court (2017) – Jury Trial. Obtained Plaintiff’s verdict and client awarded damages in excess of $200,000 in suit alleging breach of employment contract.
  • Kuhlman Contracting, LLC v. Mahne; St. Charles County Circuit Court (2016) – Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of general contractor in case alleging construction defect and fraud.
  • Rancilio v. Abrigo, et al.; Circuit Court of Madison County (2016) – Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of client in negligence case involving brush fire causing significant property damage.
  • Burch v. Naeger; Circuit Court of Madison County (2015) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of landowner in trespass case alleging unauthorized removal of trees.
  • Runyon v. Runyon; Pike County Circuit Court (2015) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of farmer client in personal injury case arising from a farm accident.
  • Brent Newman Trucking v. Cross; Randolph County Circuit Court (2014) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of client in motor vehicle accident case.
  • Swanson v. Lottmann; Gasconade County Circuit Court (2013) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of farmer in case involving farmer’s livestock being struck on the highway.
  • Argall v. Terry Farm Supply; Ozark County Circuit Court (2013) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of feed mill client in case involving alleged contamination of feed and damages to dairy cattle.
  • Mauk v. Mahan; Iron County Circuit Court (2011) - Jury Trial. Obtained complete defense verdict in favor of client in motor vehicle collision case in which Plaintiff alleged client failed to properly secure hay bales to trailer, thereby causing a motor vehicle collision.
  • Erbe v. Metrotech; St. Charles County Circuit Court (2011) - Jury Trial. Obtained Plaintiff’s verdict in favor of McDonalds franchise and awarded damages in excess of $1,000,000 following a fire caused by contractor’s negligent repair of a fryer.
  • Commercial Bank of Oak Grove v. Odd Fellows Lodge of Oak Grove; Jackson County Circuit Court (2011) - Jury Trial. Obtained Plaintiff’s verdict in favor of bank awarded damages in excess of $250,000 following a fire caused by neighboring property owner’s negligence.

Awards & Achievements

  • Best Lawyers - Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Litigation - Insurance, Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (2024)
  • Benchmark Litigation, Future Star (2022)
  • Best Lawyers - Insurance Law, The Best Lawyers in America (2022)
  • Honoree - Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List (2018-2021)
  • Up & Coming Award, Missouri Lawyers Weekly (2019)

Publications

  • Determining When to Start the Clock: The "Capable of Ascertainment" Standard and Repressed Memory Sexual Abuse Cases. 72 Mo. L. Rev. 633. (2007)

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, "Developments in Missouri and Illinois Case Law," Watters Wolf Bub Hansmann Trial & Insurance Symposium, February 2024
  • Presenter, "Avoiding & Defending Against Bad Faith In Missouri: Current State of Law, Current Plaintiff Tactics and Tips for Avoiding Setup" Watters Wolf Bub Hansmann Trial & Insurance Symposium, January 2023
  • Presenter, "Case Law Update: Missouri, Kansas and Illinois," Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium, January 2022
  • Presenter, “Case Law Update,” Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium, January 2020
  • Presenter and Program Chair, "Case Law Update,'" Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium (January 2019)
  • Presenter, "Case Law Update: 'The Times They Are A-Changin,'" Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium (January 2018)
  • Presenter, "The Hot 'New' Cause of Action: Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act," Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium (January 2017)
  • Presenter, "Valued Policy Statutes, Partial Loss Statutes, and Mortgagee Claims" Grinnell Mutual Claims Seminar (2013)
  • Presenter, "Advanced Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Law" National Business Institute (March 2013)
  • Presenter, "Personal Injury 101" National Business Institute (May 2012)

Practices

Education

  • University of Missouri - Columbia (J.D., 2008)
  • Marquette University (B.S., 2005)

Bar Admissions

  • Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri