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Civil Litigator

John Watt

Member in Kansas City

John Watt defends businesses in multi-million-dollar litigation. His practice includes product liability defense, construction litigation, and toxic torts. John has been the primary attorney for the defense of such litigation from filing the responsive pleading through jury trial. He has taken and defended expert, corporate representative, and fact witness deposition in hundreds of cases across the country.

John’s extensive experience includes arguing before appellate courts for Missouri and Kansas on multiple occasions. He also frequently arbitrates and mediates matters to successful conclusion for his clients. Recently, he prevailed in both a jury and bench trial for construction surety clients.

As an active member of the local bar, John provides pro bono legal services for indigent clients through the Volunteer Attorney Project. He is currently on the Steering Committee for the ALFA Construction Law Practice Group.

John graduated with honors from Boston University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. He has twice been selected as a Super Lawyer “Rising Star” for Missouri and Kansas in litigation and defense work.


  • Missouri
  • Kansas
  • Massachusetts
  • USDC, Eastern District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri
  • USDC, Western District of Missouri Bankruptcy
  • USDC, District of Kansas
  • USDC, Eastern District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit


  • Boston University School of Law, J.D. (area of emphasis in Litigation and Dispute Resolution), with honors , 2000
  • Kansas State University, B.S. Political Science, 1997

Memberships & Activities

  • ALFA International
    • 2022 Co-Chair, Construction Practice Group Seminar, Santa Barbara, CA
    • Steering Committee Member, Construction Practice Group
    • Member, Transportation Practice Group
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
  • IADC Trial Academy Graduate
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Young Lawyers Section, Public Service and Social Committees
  • Massachusetts Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers
  • National Bond Claims Association
  • National Utility Contractors Association
    • Greater Kansas City Chapter Founding Member
  • Product Liability Advisory Council

Awards & Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America, Kansas City Metropolitan Area
    • Construction Law (2024)
  • Missouri Lawyers Media Construction POWER List, 2023
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2008-2009


  • Contributor: Construction Law Compendium - Missouri and Kansas, ALFA International (2022)
  • Contributor: Transportation Law Compendium - Missouri, ALFA International (2016, 2020)


  • Moderator: In-or-Out? Pros and Cons of In-House versus Retained Experts, ALFA International Construction Practice Group Seminar, Ranchos Palos Verdes, California (July 2016)

Blog Posts


  • Moore Equipment Company v. Callen Construction Co.
    299 S.W. 3d 678 (Mo.App. 2009)
  • State ex rel. Nixson v. Hutcherson
    96 S.W. 3d 81 (Mo. 2003)
  • Thomas G. White, et al., d/b/a TCP Partnership, Respondents v. Phyllis Marshall, et al.
    Appellant (Mo. App. W.D. 2002)


Baker Sterchi Secures Favorable Result in Property Damage Dispute

Baker Sterchi recently achieved a favorable result for our engineering design professional client in a million-dollar-plus property damage dispute pending in Greene County, Missouri. The case involved an insurance company plaintiff seeking to hold our client accountable for damages resulting from a brick façade detachment incident at a luxury apartment complex.

Baker Sterchi Obtains Dismissal from the Bench for Architect Client

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice recently obtained a dismissal for an architect client in a breach of contract action related to a construction project. We presented and argued a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint in a Kansas District Court on the basis that the Plaintiff (Project Owner) lacked privity of contract with our client and,,,

Directed Verdict Obtained for Surety Client on Construction Defect Claim

BSCR successfully defended Old Republic Surety, Inc. in a five-day jury trial involving the construction of running track at a local high school. At the close of plaintiff's evidence, the District Court granted Old Republic's motion for directed verdict and entered judgment in favor of Old Republic. . .

Judgment Obtained for Client in Contractual Dispute

BSCR received a judgment in favor of our client, Western Surety, following a bench trial in Ray County, Missouri. The claim involved a contractual dispute over an indemnity agreement. The court issued a lengthy opinion and awarded our client the full amount requested. . .

Baker Sterchi Obtains Favorable Jury Verdict on Behalf of Trucking Client

BSCR defended client Swift Transportation Company at trial in a case where a Swift tractor-trailer allegedly turned left in front of a motorcycle at an uncontrolled intersection on a four-lane highway. Plaintiff claimed a brain injury in the form of post concussive syndrome, a knee injury, neck pain, back pain, and headaches. . .