Lucas J. Ude

Principal
Lucas Ude is a trial lawyer who successfully defends business and insurance carriers in large class action litigation, insurance coverage and bad faith lawsuits in both the state and federal courts.
photo of attorney Lucas J. Ude

Overview

Lucas Ude is a trial lawyer that concentrates his trial practice in defending his clients in high stakes and complex class actions, insurance coverage and insurance bad faith litigation. Lucas has been involved in defending his clients in matters involving alleged damages in the high eight figures including several matters that involved damages in the $20,000,000 to $50,000,000 range.  He has successfully defended clients in lawsuits throughout Missouri, Illinois and Kansas and successfully represented clients in the filing of Declaratory Judgments and Interpleader actions to obtain timely resolutions of contested coverage and damage issues. The foundation of his success is his thorough preparation and straight forward approach both in the court room and in recognizing and briefing dispositive legal issues involved in complex litigation.

As a result of his success and professional experience in  the area of insurance coverage and bad faith, he is retained by insurance carriers to represent and advise them in all stages of pre-suit claim handling and litigation, including claims involving coverage disputes, bad faith liability and extra contractual exposure.  In a recent complex class action filed in the United States Eastern District Court, Missouri, Lucas obtained a dismissal of the action by filing a comprehensive summary judgment on the substantive underlying legal issues, effectively ending the multimillion-dollar class action when the plaintiff dismissed the case.

In addition to his work in the court room, Lucas has successfully represented insurers, private companies and individuals in high-stakes and complex appeals at the Appellate level in both state courts and in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals. He is routinely involved in briefing and arguing matters before the Appellate Courts. Lucas also represents clients in high stakes arbitrations involving class action, insurance coverage, bad faith and construction defect matters.

Regardless of the venue or forum, Lucas has developed a strong reputation for aggressively defending his clients in any adversarial proceeding and his clients know that Lucas will be  working hard to defend their interests by thoroughly preparing the case for trial, arbitration or on appeal.

In representing his clients, Lucas routinely provides presentations to keep his clients updated on the latest legal developments in their fields and provides  numerous seminars for various clients and companies in working to keep his clients apprised of updates to the law in the areas in which they operate.

Recent Results

Past Results

  • BCC Partners, LLC, v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of America, United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri, 4:22-CV-00849-RWS (March 2024). Successfully defended insurer client by obtaining summary judgment in client’s favor in coverage litigation involving a delay claim of $1,500,000 plus vexatious penalties associated with a retaining wall collapse under a Builder’s Risk policy. Successfully secured a judgment enforcing the plain and unambiguous language of the policy and defended against arguments that the Policy was illusory and that the insurer should be estopped from denying coverage.
  • 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.
  • White Knight Diner, LLC. V. Owners Insurance Company, 70 F. 4th 453 (Eighth Circuit, 2023). Successfully defended Plaintiff’s appeal of client’s class action summary judgment victory. The appeal was submitted following oral argument on September 21, 2022, with Lucas Ude presenting oral argument for the insurer. On June 6, 2023, the Eighth Circuit issued its written opinion affirming the District Court’s grant of summary judgment and affirming the denial of Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. This leaves in place a significant victory for the insurer on a far-ranging subrogation issue on which numerous other insurers had been sued in class action cases in several courts throughout the State of Missouri.
  • Melanie Hunter v. GEICO Casualty Company, et al., Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, 1922-CC11393 (March 2023). Successfully secured dismissal with prejudice of underinsured motorist claims against client after filing motion for summary judgment establishing lack of coverage for claim at issue. Rather than argue the pending motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff elected to dismiss her claims in full.
  • Arbitration Proceeding (December 2022). Obtained award for contractor client in a construction defect case involving more than $1,200,000 in alleged damages arising from alleged construction and installation defects on multiple large commercial buildings on which contractor client had installed new roofs. In addition to general defect and leak claims, the property owner sought complete replacements of roofs at two properties for which the cost of replacement alone would have exceeded $1,100,000.00. The evidence was complex and involved the testimony of several experts. In addition to the aforementioned damages, the property owner also sought to recover attorneys’ fees and other damages. At the conclusion of the arbitration, a favorable arbitration award was issued for client who was declared to be the prevailing party and, as such, was awarded attorney’s fees and costs of the arbitration.
  • Benoist v. GEICO Casualty Company, et al., United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri, 4:22-cv-00867-CDP (October 2022). Successfully secured judgment on the pleadings in favor of client where client, which had not issue the insurance policy under which claim was submitted, was named as defendant in case seeking breach of contract and vexatious penalties.
  • Robert Rassieur v. Metlife Auto & Home Ins. Agency, Inc., et al., No. 4:21-CV-01269-DDN, United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri (September 2022). Successfully represented national insurance carrier with respect to enforcement of anti-stacking language of underinsured motorist coverage section at trial court level, confirming that the insurer properly determined that only one UIM coverage limit applied to the claim at issue.
  • Nationwide Insurance Company of America v. Matthew Six, No. WD84631, Cass County Mo. No. 18CA-CC00932 (June 2022). Successfully represented national insurance carrier with respect to enforcement of “Other Insurance” provision of underinsured motorist coverage section at both trial and appellate level confirming that the insurer did not owe $250,000.00 in UIM coverage for the claim at issue.
  • Erica Bruns v. GEICO Casualty Company, et al., St. Louis County Circuit Court, 16SL-CC04508 (August 2022). Successfully secured abandonment of stacking and vexatious delay claims associated with underinsured motorist claims against client after filing motion for summary judgment on these issues. Rather than litigating the viability of the stacking and vexatious claims in response to the pending motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff elected to file an amended petition in which she sought to recover only one single UIM limit of coverage and did not assert a claim for vexatious penalties. This removed more than $500,000.00 in claimed contractual damages plus statutory penalties and attorneys fees from the dispute.
  • Travis Geist, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, v. Grinnell Select Insurance Company, June 21, 2022, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri, 4:22-cv-00443 (June 2022). Successfully secured a dismissal with prejudice of a purported class member’s claims against their client where the plaintiff sought to have a class certified based on the theory that the insurer had incorrectly paid a loss involving sales tax and a total loss vehicle.
  • Lara Pyatt, et al., v. Rebecca Schales, et al (March 31, 2022), Circuit Court of Callaway County, Missouri, Case No. 20CW-CV01117. Successfully represented national insurer at bench trial where parties disputed applicability of policy exclusion for injuries sustained by resident relatives or insureds under auto liability policy confirming that insurer had correctly determined that the additional $250,000.00 being sought was not owed under the policy.
  • White Knight Diner, et al., v. Owners Insurance Company, Inc., United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri, 4:17-cv-02406-MTS, 2021WL3286821 (August 2021). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of an insurance company client in a complex class-action case in which the plaintiffs challenged the insurer’s subrogation practices throughout the state of Missouri for the past several years potentially impacting many thousands of claims.
  • Arbitration Proceeding (July 2020). Successfully defended claims in excess of $10 million being asserted against waterproofing contractor client in a multi-week arbitration proceeding involving complex construction liability claims.
  • Ben F. Blanton Construction, Inc., v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of America, Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Missouri, 17SL-CC01394 (December 2019). Successfully obtained partial summary judgment in insurer-client’s favor in litigation involving coverage claims and vexatious allegations associated with a retaining wall collapse under a builder’s risk policy. Successfully secured a partial judgment enforcing the plain and unambiguous language of the policy and limiting the amount and nature of damages recoverable under the policy. The Court’s Order vindicated client’s coverage position taken on the matter, eliminated a significant portion of Plaintiff’s claimed damages and further served as a roadmap for the litigation moving forward towards a successful trial result for client.
  • Bunge v. Dever Electric, St. Louis County Circuit Court, 17SL-C03884, (September 2018). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of small electrical contractor being sued by global company seeking millions in alleged damages. Successfully argued statute of limitations defense by virtue of Missouri Borrowing Statute.
  • Daniel Baumhoff v. Farmers Insurance Company, Inc., United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri (August 2018). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of national insurer in case upholding exclusionary provisions of underinsured motorist coverage section of auto policy.
  • McDonald v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, 2015 WL 4393880 (July 2015). Obtained summary judgment on behalf of national insurer in case upholding exclusionary provisions of underinsured motorist coverage section of auto policy and defeating stacking arguments asserted by claimant.
  • North Creek Village Homeowners Association v. Andrew Hendrix, Platte County Circuit Court, 12AE-CV02094-01 (December 2014). Successfully secured dismissal of claims for MMPA violations and Fraud in the Inducement of Contract based on statute of limitations grounds, followed by case being dismissed in its entirety just months after this order was entered in client’s favor.

Professional Affiliations

  • The Missouri Bar

Speaking Engagements

  • Presenter, "Emerging Coverage Trends & Topics in Missouri - Trending and Repetitive Coverage Issues Insured Face on a Regular Basis" 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, "Can You Spare Some Change? The Application of Recent Statutory Changes in Missouri," Brown & James General Defense & Insurance Law Symposium, January 2022
  • Presenter, "Bad Faith and Missouri: Current Trends and Observations," Brown & James Insurance Law & General Defense Symposium, January 2021

Practices

Education

  • Saint Louis University School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2013)
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (B.S., with honors, Political Science, 2008)

Bar Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas