Firm News & Events
DENVER, February 8, 2022 (Newswire.com) – At Owners’ Counsel of America’s Annual Dinner and Award’s Ceremony held on January 29 in Scottsdale, AZ, the Crystal Eagle was awarded to James Singer, a partner with the law firm of Schuchat, Cook & Werner in St. Louis, MO. Although Mr. Singer has practiced Employee Benefits law for nearly 46 years, he was awarded OCA’s highest accolade, not for his legal skills, but for certain extraordinary actions he took as a private citizen. In 2018, Mr. Singer, an avid historian, wrote a heavily researched article regarding a tragic event that happened over 65 years ago involving a prominent African American doctor by the name of Phillip Venable.
Titled “Reckoning in Creve Coeur,” the article was eventually published by the Missouri Historical Society. In it, Mr. Singer recounted the story of how Dr. Venable was precluded from moving into a predominantly white neighborhood in 1956 by an orchestrated act of eminent domain, which resulted in both his property and the partially constructed home being taken by the City of Creve Coeur for alleged “park purposes.” Despite overwhelming evidence that this action was racially motivated, the Missouri courts upheld the taking.
James Singer, not satisfied with simply writing his article, took all of the research that he had uncovered and used it to mobilize countless others. Eventually, the movement that he helped start led to the City of Creve Coeur publicly acknowledging its wrongful actions and taking meaningful steps towards redressing the injustice that had been perpetrated against Dr. Venable. Here is what one person, Sam Silverstein, had to say about how he was moved to act by the words and deeds of James Singer:
“Jim shared what he had learned with anyone who would listen. He wrote articles. He reached out to community leaders. He reached out to historical societies and universities. In short, he did everything he could to raise awareness about what had happened to the Venable family, and about what he felt needed to happen next.”
In late 2019, among other actions taken, the Creve Coeur City Council voted unanimously to officially change the name of the park to H. Phillip Venable Memorial Park. A re-dedication ceremony was held which was attended by many dignitaries, as well as surviving members of Dr. Venable’s family.
“Although many people and organizations eventually became involved in bringing about some measure of justice for Dr. Venable and his descendants,” says OCA’s Executive Director, Leslie Fields, “it is clear that Mr. Singer played a pivotal role, first in writing his historical article and then in galvanizing others to speak out about what had transpired. It is quite possible that without Mr. Singer’s involvement, the story of what happened to Dr. Venable and his family may have been lost forever. By awarding the Crystal Eagle to Mr. Singer, OCA’s message is that the protection and defense of private property rights is not reserved merely for the lawyers, judges, and scholars among us, but for those private citizens like Mr. Singer who understand their significance, and who care enough to devote their own time, energy and efforts to ensuring that they are recognized and honored.”
Congratulations to Sally Barker and Loretta Haggard for being selected as recipients of the 2021 Influential Appellant Advocates Award by Missouri Lawyers Media which is awarded to lawyers behind the most significant appellate decisions in 2021. Sally and Loretta are being recognized for their tireless work which resulted in the Missouri Supreme Court striking down House Bill 1413 (HB 1413) that prohibited bargaining over most working conditions, allowed employers to change contracts unilaterally, stripped public employees of their first-amendment rights to advocate about workplace and educational policies, and created unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles to collective bargaining. Way to go Sally and Loretta!
We are so very proud of our own Jim Singer whose efforts to remedy the injustice of racism in the St. Louis region led to the renaming of Venable Park and brought the story of Dr. Howard Venable into the light. If you want to know more about Dr. Venable, watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwdJUCqsgMA
Schuchat, Cook & Werner is pleased to announce that Luke Klein has joined the firm as an Associate Attorney. Luke received his law degree in May 2021 from St. Louis University School of Law where he served as Notes and Comments Editor for the ABA Journal of Labor and Employment Law, President of OUTLaws, and Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion with the Student Bar Association. During law school, Luke was a Peggy Browning Fellow which provides opportunities for law students to work for economic and social justice in the area of workers’ rights. Luke has passed the Missouri Bar and was sworn-in on October 1, 2021. Congratulations, Luke!
Congratulations to AFSCME, CWA, SEIU, and our own Chris Grant! On May 13, 2021 a judge in Cole County decided that the state of Missouri cannot rely on a 2018 law, SB 1007, making state employees at-will, to limit collective bargaining. This means that union-represented state employees retain the right to bargain extra job protections, like seniority and grievance-arbitration.
Schuchat, Cook & Werner is proud to announce that George Suggs was selected by Best Lawyers® as 2021 “Lawyer of the Year” in the St. Louis region for his expertise in the area of union labor law. In addition, George, Sally Barker, Marilyn Teitelbaum, Jim Singer, and Loretta Haggard were selected as Best Lawyers® for their expertise in labor and employment law. In addition, Schuchat, Cook & Werner received Regional Tier 1 Recognition in the 2021 Edition of U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” in the areas of Employment Law – Individuals, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, and Labor Law – Union.
Recognition by Best Lawyers® is based entirely on peer review. Lawyers with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic region are recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year.” Only one lawyer is recognized as the “Lawyer of the Year” for each specialty and location.
Congratulations to Terri Norath, our ERISA paralegal for the last seven years, who will be retiring at the end of this month. We would like to sincerely thank Terri for her hard work and dedication to the firm. We will truly miss her.
We are also pleased to announce that we have hired Laura Landmann as our new ERISA paralegal starting April 1, 2021. Welcome to the Schuchat, Cook & Werner family, Laura!
Rhona Lyons will be serving on two panel discussions at the upcoming 35th Annual ERISA Basics Virtual National Institute sponsored by the ABA Joint Committee on Employee Benefits, which is scheduled for December 7-10, 2020. Rhona will be discussing ERISA preemption and the Federal regulations and reporting disclosure requirements that generally apply to ERISA-governed health plans including the Affordable Care Act, COBRA, ADA, GINA and other statutes and regulations. To find out more and to register visit: https://www.americanbar.org/events-cle/mtg/web/403621552/.
After almost 40 years at the Shell Building, we are excited to announce that we are relocating to the historic 555 Washington Building in downtown St. Louis. Beginning June 24, 2020, our new address will be 555 Washington Ave., Suite 520, St. Louis, MO 63101-1249. If you need to reach one of our attorneys, you can still contact us by phone (314-732-1127 or 888-365-0445), e-mail, or visit us on Facebook. Stay tuned for more information on our new office!
The attorneys and staff Schuchat, Cook, and Werner hope you are staying safe and well. We remain available to discuss matters with you, research answers to questions, and strategize with you about how to best serve you during this extraordinary time. For information on the latest developments regarding COVID 19 and the rights of employees, unions, not-for-profit corporations, employee benefit plans, professional corporations and associations, and other employers, visit our COVID 19 Resource Center.
Jim Singer’s efforts to confront and to take action to remedy the injustice of racism in the St. Louis region have resulted in an engaging and enlightening article, cowritten with Ellen Kunkelmann, that was published in the Spring 2020 edition of Gateway, The Magazine of the Missouri Historical Society. To read the article click here.
The attorneys and staff Schuchat, Cook, and Werner hope you are well and taking recommended precautions.
We also want you to know that we remain available to assist as always. You can contact us by telephone, email, or video or phone conference if a meeting is not feasible. Some of our attorneys are working from home, but everyone is still able to discuss matters with you, research answers to questions, and strategize with you about how to best serve you during this extraordinary situation.
We are monitoring the rapidly evolving circumstances of COVID-19 and are here to help you as we all navigate this unprecedented situation. Most importantly, stay safe and well!
We were saddened to learn that Charles Werner, one of the founders of our law firm, passed away Saturday morning surrounded by his loving family. Charles had recently celebrated his 90th birthday. Charles spent decades in the trenches with our union clients fighting the battles of Organized Labor, and had served in a number of leadership positions over the years including University City Councilman, Chair of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Chair of the Labor and Employment Section of the American Bar Association, and President of Shaare Emeth Congregation. Charles will be deeply missed by all of the people whose lives he touched over these many years.
Schuchat, Cook & Werner is a full-service labor law firm. Our Super Lawyers are
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