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Spencer Fane Attorneys Honored for Winning One of the Biggest Defense Verdicts in Missouri

Erik O. Solverud, Thomas W. Hayde and Mark A. Thornhill Recognized in the 2013 Missouri Lawyers Awards
    ST. LOUIS, MO, February 15, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Two attorneys in the St. Louis office of Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP and a third attorney in the firm's Kansas City office have been honored by Missouri Lawyers Weekly Magazine for winning one of the largest defense verdicts in Missouri in 2012.

Erik Solverud and Thomas Hayde, partners in the St. Louis office, and Mark Thornhill, a partner in Spencer Fane's Kansas City office, were honored at the 2013 Missouri Lawyers Awards by Missouri Lawyers Weekly Magazine for their litigation defense expertise in Sheila Larkin v. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

Plaintiff Sheila Larkin sued Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, seeking several million dollars in a life insurance lapse and suitability lawsuit against Guardian. After years of litigation, and two weeks of trial, a jury in St. Louis City took fewer than 30 minutes to deliver a defense verdict in favor of Guardian. Larkin asked the jury to award her $5 million, but the jury filled out the verdict forms exactly the way Mr. Solverud showed them during closing arguments.

Mr. Solverud said, "Guardian Life Insurance Company of America was vindicated by the result."

Mr. Solverud is co-chair of Spencer Fane's Litigation & Dispute Resolution Practice Group and concentrates on complex commercial litigation, including trade secrets cases, contract disputes, non-compete litigation, shareholder disputes, insurance coverage disputes and other business-related claims. Email:

Mr. Hayde is a litigator in the St. Louis office of Spencer Fane. His practice concentrates on complex commercial litigation, including insurance coverage disputes and shareholder disputes, as well as defense of product liability and toxic tort claims. He is admitted to practice law in Missouri and Illinois state courts, and also federal district courts in both Missouri and Illinois. Email:

Mr. Thornhill specializes in White Collar Criminal Defense and Governmental Investigations and leads that practice at Spencer Fane. His white collar defense and investigation clients include business executives, medical and legal professionals and Fortune 500 corporations. He also specializes in Business Litigation related to shareholder rights and securities. Email:

The 2013 Missouri Lawyers Awards recognize top accomplishments by attorneys in 2012. Missouri Lawyers Weekly is a unit of Missouri Lawyers Media, a division of The Dolan Company, a respected publisher of law and business publications in 20 markets across the nation. (

Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP is a full service, regional law firm which offers the right combination of intelligence, experience and stewardship to ensure that legal needs of clients are met with diligence and care. The firm has offices in St. Louis, Jefferson City and Kansas City, Missouri; Overland Park, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; and Denver, Colorado.

For more information, please contact: Laura Callahan, call 314.863.7733 or visit the website

Spencer Fane Britt & Browne LLP
1 North Brentwood, Suite 1000
St. Louis, MO 63105

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