Kristina L. Burmeister is a member of the firm’s Tort group; her practice focuses on the defense of companies engaged in technical services and manufacturing. She spends much of her time handling cases involving significant property damage, fire suppression systems and alarm systems. In 2013, Missouri Lawyers Weekly named her successful defense of a fire suppression company in a jury trial one of the largest defense verdicts in 2013. Burmeister received her J.D., summa cum laude, from the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law (2007), where she was a staff member of UMKC’s Law Review and graduated with highest honors. She received her B.S. from the University of Nebraska (2004).
Zach Chaffee-McClure is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation team, where he focuses on claims for breach of contract and breach of warranty, defending class actions brought under state consumer protection laws, banking litigation, business tort litigation and appeals. Chaffee-McClure’s experience covers claims and defenses specific to several technical areas of the law, including the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC); Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA); Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA); Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA); and securities litigation. He also has experience with high-stakes business arbitration and FINRA regulations (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority). Chaffee-McClure received his J.D. from Washburn University School of Law (2007), where he graduated first in his class and was technical editor for the Washburn Law Journal. He received his B.A. from Kansas State University (2003).
Megan M. Egli is a member of the firm’s Global Product Liability group. She defends corporations in individual and complex product liability cases. She has served on numerous trial teams and achieved successful results throughout the country in state and federal courts. Egli received her J.D. from Pepperdine University School of Law (2007), where she was a member of the Pepperdine Law Review. She also received a certificate of dispute resolution from Pepperdine University Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution (2007). She received her B.B.A. and B.A. from Harding University (2002) in Searcy, Ark.
Cory Fisher is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Prosecution & Counseling team, focusing on patent analysis, infringement and validity. He also drafts and prosecutes patent applications in various diverse technology fields and counsels clients in brand management compliance, including copyright and trademark review. Fisher received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law (2007). Before law school, Fisher worked as a manufacturing engineer at a custom manufacturing facility. He received his B.S.E. in industrial engineering from the University of Iowa (2002). While at the University of Iowa, he applied his experience as a licensed pilot to his work for the university’s Operator Performance Laboratory to research synthetic vision systems in a flying environment.
M. Katie Gates Calderon is a member of the firm’s Global Product Liability team. She defends corporations in individual and complex tort, product liability and consumer protection matters. She has experience litigating cases in state and federal courts throughout the country, including those involving asbestos products, pharmaceuticals and tobacco. Gates Calderon received her J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law (2007) and her B.A., magna cum laude in the field of Latin American Studies with a citation in Spanish, from Harvard University (2002). At Harvard, Gates Calderon was a four-year member of the Harvard Women’s basketball team and served as the team’s captain her senior year.
Christine Guastello is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property and Technology Litigation team. She focuses on litigating complex intellectual property disputes, with an emphasis on patent litigation. Guastello has worked in a wide range of technology areas, including coal combustion technologies, pharmacy automation, computer software, telecommunications, computer networking, Internet technologies, health care information systems and medical informatics, online gaming, encryption, and chemical compounds. Guastello received her J.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law (2004) and her B.A. in human biology from the University of Kansas (2001).
Ann Peper Havelka is a member of the firm’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation group and the Agribusiness and Food Safety team. In addition to defending pharmaceutical and agribusiness clients in product liability and consumer labeling class action lawsuits across the country, Havelka regularly counsels companies on matters governed by the Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture, ranging from facility inspection, labeling, regulatory compliance, recalls and risk management. She helps clients prepare for and interact with FDA and USDA and assists companies with corrective actions, product recalls and market corrections, and customs holds. Havelka received her J.D. with highest honors from the University of Iowa College of Law (2005), where she was executive editor of the Iowa Law Review. She received her B.S. in business administration, summa cum laude, from Drake University (2002).
Micah L. Hobbs is a member of the firm’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation group. She represents clients including Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Company, Bausch & Lomb, Covidien and C.R. Bard. She has defended and managed national litigation on behalf of product manufacturers, including pharmaceutical, medical device and tobacco manufacturers. Her experience includes defense of complex cases, including class actions, MDL proceedings and third-party contribution cases. Hobbs received her J.D. from the Fordham University School of Law (1996), where she was a member of the Fordham Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment Law Journal. She received her B.S. in business administration from Rockhurst College (1993).
Elena K. McFarland is a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property Prosecution and Counseling team; her practice focuses on representing clients in the preparation and prosecution of U.S. and international patent applications in many technology areas. She also counsels clients in all aspects of intellectual property, including patent infringement and validity analysis and intellectual property licensing. She has experience with various aspects of post-issuance proceedings, including patent reexamination proceedings and inter partes review proceedings. McFarland is also an adjunct professor teaching patent prosecution at the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law. McFarland received her J.D. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law (2007), where she was a member of UMKC’s Law Review and a case note and review editor for The Urban Lawyer. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering with an emphasis in environmental engineering from the University of Kansas (2001). Before law school, McFarland was a chemical engineer involved in the design and construction of various projects, including power plants and water treatment facilities.
Nicholas N. Deutsch is a member of the firm’s Tort group. He represents clients in areas including product liability, complex commercial litigation, and environmental matters. He has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation in state and federal courts throughout Texas and the nation and has also advised energy companies in regulatory matters. Deutsch’s extensive litigation experience includes the resolution of complex discovery disputes, motion practice, expert witness work and settlement negotiations, and he has successfully obtained the dismissal of numerous cases through dispositive motions and through early settlement negotiations. He received his J.D. with honors from the University of Texas School of Law (2007), where he was associate editor of the Texas Law Review. He received his B.A., cum laude, from Southern Methodist University (2004).
Geri E. Howell is a member of the firm’s Global Product Liability team. She currently is part of the Shook team representing Philip Morris USA in the defense of smoking-and-health cases in Florida known as the Engle progeny litigation. Before joining Shook, Howell represented the state of Florida in personal injury and negligence actions and served as counsel for financial institutions in collections matters, as well as litigating other commercial matters. Howell received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law (2002) and her B.A. from the University of Missouri – Kansas City (1999), where she was an Honors College Scholar.
Mihai M. Vrasmasu is a member of the firm’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation team. He represents Fortune 100 corporations, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, in product liability cases. He was a member of the national teams that successfully defended the Bausch & Lomb Renu® contact lens solution litigation and the Pfizer Hormone Replacement Therapy litigation. He has also represented other drug and medical device manufacturers in numerous product liability cases. Vrasmasu received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Miami School of Law (2006), where he was associate editor of the University of Miami Inter-American Law Review. He received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Seton Hall University (2003).
Amir Nassihi is a member of the firm’s Tort group. He represents automobile, drug, medical device and other product manufacturers at the trial and appellate court levels in individual, mass tort, and class action litigation. Nassihi is licensed to practice in California and New York. He received his LL.B. from the University of the West of England, Bristol (1997).
W. Edwards Muñiz is a member of the firm’s Global Product Liability team. He focuses on defense of product liability and complex tort cases, as well as general commercial litigation, reverse mortgage litigation, consumer protection issues, and disputes in bankruptcy court. Muñiz has served on more than a dozen trial teams for multimillion dollar lawsuits tried in both state and federal courts, and he recently secured a six-figure settlement in a case that he took pro bono. Muñiz received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Florida Levin College of Law (2006), and his B.S. in economics from Wake Forest University (2003).