Retired Judge Booker T. Shaw is a partner in the Business Litigation Practice Group, where he brings clients valuable insight and perspective gained from his more than 25 years on the bench. His knowledge of current judicial thinking at the trial and appellate levels on a wide range of issues enhances the Business Litigation Group's ability to argue a client's case more persuasively and to craft the most effective strategy.
Judge Shaw served on the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, for seven years, including one year as chief judge. While on the appellate bench, he participated in more than 1,000 cases and authored 141 appellate opinions on a variety of cases, from medical negligence and nuisance/sovereign immunity to commercial transactions, contracts, and personal injury. He also served as a Special Visiting Judge of the Missouri Supreme Court. As a former trial judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit, from 1983 until 2002, Judge Shaw presided over more than 500 trials.
Prior to his judicial posts, Judge Shaw worked at the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office, where he tried more than 50 criminal cases to verdict before a jury, securing guilty verdicts in all but two trials. In addition to his decades of public service as a distinguished jurist, Judge Shaw continues to give back to the legal profession. He has taught trial advocacy at Washington University School of Law since 1995 and served as an instructor at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy since 1999. He also frequently speaks at Missouri Bar continuing legal education programs.
Judge Shaw has briefed and argued numerous cases before the U.S. Circuit and District Courts, the Missouri Supreme Court, Courts of Appeals and Circuit Courts. In 2011, he served as a member of the trial team representing Lorillard Tobacco in the defense of a $500 million dollar cost-recovery lawsuit brought by Missouri hospitals in the City of St. Louis. After a three month trial, the jury returned defense verdicts on all claims.
He argued before the Supreme Court of Missouri on behalf of a utility company. The county argued that the company should be required to pay the cost of relocating gas lines, located in utility easements, when the county undertakes road improvements. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court and ruled in favor of our client in a case that impacts utilities across the state.
In Gibbs v. Blockbuster, the Missouri Court of Appeals reversed a two million dollar false imprisonment judgment against Blockbuster. Judge Shaw argued, among other things, that the trial court committed reversible error by granting partial summary judgment against Blockbuster on a disputed agency issue.
In an automotive product liability case, Judge Shaw successfully argued to the Missouri Court of Appeals that the trial court properly limited plaintiff's proffer of claimed similar incidents, in their attempt to establish our client's knowledge of the alleged vehicular defect.
Recently, he helped secure a critical defense win in St. Louis for Pfizer in Pesante v. Pfizer, the first of several trials over birth defects allegedly caused by Zoloft. The proceeding in St. Louis Circuit Court was the first in dozens of similar cases lodged against the drug maker in St. Louis and in Philadelphia, and the plaintiff's attorneys selected what they considered to be their best case for the first trial. In addition to leading several pretrial motions that achieved significant evidentiary rulings, Judge Shaw was responsible for questioning some key witnesses. The jury deliberated for less than two hours before siding with Pfizer by a vote of 11-1.
Judge Shaw's unique judicial background also brings tremendous value to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) proceedings. As a certified mediator, Judge Shaw's decades of experience allow him to critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a broad range of claims, look critically at all facts and defenses, and lead parties to a successful resolution. At the trial court level, Judge Shaw's patient and thoughtful approach enable him to facilitate the settlement of many difficult and complex cases. Now his talents for problem and conflict resolution offer parties the opportunity to reach mutually beneficial solutions.
Judge Shaw received Mediator Certification at the highly regarded Center for Dispute Resolution at the University of Missouri. He is an approved mediator for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis and the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. He is also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee for the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.