Two Lawyers from Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, Honored by Super Lawyers: Stoppel & Denning

Nov 16

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, is pleased to announce that two lawyers have received honors from Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers.  This is a listing for which lawyers do not and cannot pay for inclusion. Elections are made on an annual, state-by-state basis.

Jessica L. Stoppel has been selected as a 2023 Super Lawyers: Rising Star in the areas of estate and probate. The Rising Star honor is awarded to no more than 2.5% of the eligible attorneys in the state of Kansas who are under the age of 40.  This is Jessica’s first nomination and award.

Dustin J. Denning has again been peer nominated and selected for inclusion in the 2023 Super Lawyers in the area of medical malpractice defense. Dustin has been selected for this designation since 2019.

Congratulations Jessica & Dustin!

Six Lawyers from Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, are Recognized in The Best Lawyers in America® 2024

Aug 17

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, 129 S. 8th Street, Salina, is pleased to announce that it has six attorneys named to the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America® publication, with one attorney receiving the “Lawyer of the Year” designation.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. More than 123,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and it has received more than 20 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2024 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America®, more than 13.7 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 76,000 leading lawyers honored in the milestone 30th edition. Lawyers are not required nor allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor.

“Lawyer of the Year” honors are awarded annually to only one lawyer per practice area in each region with extremely high overall feedback from their peers, making it an exceptional distinction.

The following attorneys were named:

Peter L. Peterson has been included since the publication’s inception in 1983 and currently is listed in the practice areas of Trusts and Estates, Non-Profit/Charities Law, Tax Law, and Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law.

Greg A. Bengtson has been listed since 2021 in the practice area of Municipal Law.

Eric N. Anderson has been listed since 2013 in the practice areas of Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships) and Trusts and Estates.

Dustin J. Denning has been listed since 2018 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.  Dustin also received the Best Lawyers® 2023 “Lawyer of the Year” award for Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants.

Peter S. Johnston has been listed since 2016 in the practice areas of Medical Malpractice – Defendants, Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants, and Insurance Law.

Aaron O. Martin has been listed in the practice areas of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Mortgage Banking Foreclosure Law.

Defense Verdict Obtained in Cord Prolapse Case

Dec 18

Dustin J. Denning, with assistance from Jared T. Hiatt, successfully defended our hospital client in a very sad and emotional medical malpractice jury trial in which the parents of a deceased newborn alleged that the hospital’s labor and delivery nurse was negligent for allowing the laboring mother, whose membranes had ruptured at home prior to coming to the hospital, to get out of bed before the fetal head was engaged at zero station, and negligent for failing to educate the mother on the risks of a cord prolapse developing if she got out of bed.  The laboring mother was permitted to get out of bed when the nurse determined that the fetal head was vertex, it was well applied to the cervix and not ballotable, and fetal heart tones were reassuring.  The fetal heart tones continued to be monitored by a portable telemonitor that allows laboring mothers to get out of bed and ambulate around the room.

Plaintiffs argued that allowing the mother to ambulate around the room and/or sit in a chair at bedside caused the umbilical cord to develop into what is called an occult, or hidden, cord prolapse.  It was not an overt cord prolapse that comes through the cervix.  The cord likely occluded as it lay astride the baby’s head but was not detectable by the nurse when performing cervix examinations.  Fetal heart tones were normal and reassuring upon admission to the labor and delivery unit, and remained reassuring for over 2 hours until heart tones began suddenly decreasing.  After attempting nursing interventions for about 8-9 minutes and repeatedly adjusting the fetal heart rate monitor to no avail, the nurse timely contacted the on-call physician once hearts tones were confirmed to be bradycardic.  The baby was delivered emergently by c-section within 37 minutes of the start of the decrease in fetal heart tones (and within 14 minutes of the attending physician’s decision to proceed to an emergent c-section), but the baby was limp and had no respiratory effort at birth.  Resuscitation efforts were unsuccessful.  The plaintiffs’ attorney asked the jury to award them $3,000,000 during closing arguments.

Plaintiffs’ experts argued that a laboring mother should never be allowed out of bed for any reason until the fetal head reaches station zero.  We defended the case by showing that the standard of care testimony offered by plaintiffs’ OBGYN and nurse experts was not supported by anything in the world’s literature, including ACOG and AWHONN.  We pointed to literature from ACOG and AWHONN stating that ambulation should be encouraged as it helps speed the process of labor, reduces the need for a c-section, and lying in a bed can cause risk to both the mom and baby.  We demonstrated that there were no contraindications for the mother to get out of bed, and the risk of a cord prolapse was minimized because the fetal head was well applied to the cervix and not ballotable. We argued that while the outcome was certainly tragic, it was not due to anyone’s fault.  We focused a good portion of jury selection on the issue of sympathy and empathy.  We told the jury panel at the outset that the case involved the death of a newborn which allowed us to identify jurors who would potentially be overcome by emotion and therefore unable to judge our client fairly and based solely on the medical evidence.

After a five-day jury trial, a Saline County, Kansas, jury agreed and returned a verdict in favor of our hospital client after deliberating for about 1 hour.

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered Seeks Associate Attorney

Jul 21

Clark, Mize & Linville, Chartered, an AV-rated law firm in Salina, Kansas, of eleven lawyers, five of whom are listed in the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in America© publication, seeks an associate attorney in the areas of health care & hospital law and litigation, including medical malpractice defense, insurance defense, and workers’ compensation defense.   The firm offers competitive compensation and benefits and is an equal opportunity employer.  Inquiries should be addressed to Peter S. Johnston or by email to