Our Attorneys

J.J. Burns

Big picture thinking with a focus on details

Attorney J.J. Burns, a lawyer with the law firm Dollar, Burns and Becker, L.C. - a Kansas City, MO law firm.

J.J. Burns focuses on truck crash litigation, and handles a range of other catastrophic injury cases.

“Each crash is a tragic story.” J.J. says. “Alongside the tragedy, however, there is almost always another story—a narrative of neglect. We are keenly aware of the themes and broad outlines of these terrible narratives: driver fatigue, reckless hiring, distracted driving, poor training and supervision, defective equipment, negligent maintenance, and a corporate mentality that places short-term profits over safety, among others.”

The broad strokes are critical, but the devil is in the details.

“In many cases, it is the interpretation of a particular federal motor carrier safety regulation, the definition of a specific term in a seemingly unrelated court decision, the realization of the significance of a fuel receipt or a maintenance request amongst tens of thousands of records, or the identification of the unique interaction amongst several statutes that makes a world of difference. It is crucial to spend a lot of time ‘in the weeds.’”

While many attorneys seek to avoid the weeds, J.J. is a stickler for details and has researched and written extensively about many of those that impact truck crash litigation and other catastrophic injury cases.  J.J. has paid particular attention to one such detail that, if unidentified or improperly handled, can rob victims of their valid claims against trucking companies—an anachronistic legal rule operating in nearly half the country that allows a motor carrier to conceal its own negligence in hiring, training or supervising its driver by simply admitting that the negligent truck driver was its employee at the time of the crash. J.J. is the national authority on the issue, and has helped victims hold trucking companies accountable for their own negligence, and worked to change the irresponsible law in multiple states.     

ABOUT J.J. BURNS

J.J. earned his undergraduate degree from DePauw University, where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in Comparative Religious Studies and Philosophy. Before attending law school, he served for two years as an AmeriCorps member with the Youth Volunteer Corps of Greater Kansas City, and helped hundreds of young people perform thousands of hours of community service alongside local and national non-profit organizations.

After he completed his national service, he attended The University of Michigan Law School, where he was a member of the Michigan Law Review, and the Michigan Journal of International Law, and graduated magna cum laude.

After graduation, J.J. clerked for the Honorable Maria Valdez, United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, where he acquired extensive experience in legal research, writing, and civil practice. He is licensed to practice law in Missouri and Illinois.


 

Credentials

Areas of Practice

  • Truck Crashes
  • Catastrophic Injury
  • Wrongful Death

 

Bar Admissions

  • Missouri
  • Illinois

 

Education

  • University of Michigan Law School - Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • DePauw University -  Greencastle, Indiana

 

Professional Association and Memberships

  • The Missouri Bar, Member
  • The Illinois Bar, Member
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, Member
  • KCMBA Bar Leadership Academy, Alumnus
  • Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, Member
  • American Association for Justice, Member
  • AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, Member
  • UMKC Law School, Adjunct Professor

 

Publications & Appearances

 

 

Published Works

  • THE CORPORATE REPRESENTATIVE AND “REAL” DISCOVERY – Journal of Trucking Litigation, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group (Summer 2016).

  • CURRENT AND EMERGING ISSUES IN TRUCKING LITIGATION, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group, AAJ Annual Conference (2014), with Jeff Burns & Rena Leizerman.

  • STOPPING TRUCKING COMPANIES FROM SWEEPING NEGLIGENT ACTS UNDER THE RUG, PART II – Journal of Trucking Litigation, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group (Spring 2014).

  • A STRATEGIC RESPONSE TO A TACTICAL ADMISSION: What to do when employers concede vicarious liability to conceal their negligence - The Lawyer’s Logbook - Part I – April-May 2013 issue; Part II – June/July 2013 issue.

  • MOTOR CARRIER LIABILITY FOR FAILURE TO PROPERLY HIRE, TRAIN, AND SUPERVISE DRIVERS - Truck Accident Litigation – Third Edition (eds. Laura Ruhl & Mary K. Dooley-Owen) 2012.

  • TRUCKING LITIGATION DAMAGES – A State by State Summary – Commercial Transportation Litigation Committee, January 2012.

  • RESPONDEAT SUPERIOR AS AN AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE: How Employers Immunize Themselves From Direct Negligence Claims, 109 Mich. L. Rev. 657, February, 2011.

Presentations/Seminars

  • EFFECTIVE USE OF RULE 30(b)(6) IN TRUCKING CASES, Trucking Litigation Group Program, AAJ Conference, Los Angeles, CA, July 2016.

  • PRACTICALLY USING DISCOVERY TO ADVANCE YOUR CASE, 2016 Solo & Small Firm Conference, Missouri Bar, Osage Beach, Missouri, June 2016.

  • DEPOSING TRUCK DRIVERS AND TRUCKING COMPANY REPRESENTATIVES, Strafford Webinars – May & July, 2016.

  • HOURS OF SERVICE & LOG AUDITS: PROVING THE FATIGUE AND FALSE LOG CASES, How to Win Trucking Cases – 2015 Advanced Course, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 2015.

  • ANATOMY OF A SUCCESSFUL HOURS-OF-SERVICE / FATIGUE CASE, Advanced Trial Advocacy College: Litigating Truck Collision Cases, Dallas, Texas, October 2015.

  • TRUCKING COMPANY NEGLIGENCE AND SAFETY CULTURE: GROUNDING THE NARRATIVE AND IDENTIFYING THE STUFF WE OVERLOOK, Ohio Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Seminar, Columbus, Ohio, September 2015.

  • ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION IN TRUCK COLLISION INVESTIGATIONS AND TRIAL: PARTNERING WITH RECONSTRUCTION EXPERTS TO MAXIMIZE CASE VALUE, Strafford Webinars, June 2015.

  • TRUCKER AS TEMPORARY TEAMMATE: GETTING BETWEEN THE COMPANY AND ITS DRIVER, AAJ Trucking Litigation Group Members Only Event, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 2015.

  • RECKLESS, WANTON & RELEVANT: KEEPING PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN THE PICTURE, National Interstate Trucking Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, May 2015.

  • STATUTORY EMPLOYEES, NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT & PERMISSIVE USE – Prosecuting and Defending Truck and Auto Collision Cases, Houston, Texas, November 2014.

  • PROBLEMS WITH THE SO-CALLED “MAJORITY RULE” – AAJ Trucking Litigation Group Members Only Event, AAJ Jazz Fest Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2014.

  • STATUTORY EMPLOYEES, NEGLIGENT ENTRUSTMENT & PERMISSIVE USE – Prosecuting and Defending Truck and Auto Collision Cases, Houston, Texas, November 2014. 

  • PROBLEMS WITH THE SO-CALLED “MAJORITY RULE” – AAJ Trucking Litigation Group Members Only Event, AAJ Jazz Fest Seminar, New Orleans, Louisiana, April 2014.

  • DIRECT CLAIMS AGAINST A MOTOR CARRIER: The Allgeier Case and Best Arguments to Keep Kentucky on the Correct Side of the McHaffie Rule – Litigating Truck Wreck Cases, Hebron, Kentucky, June 2013.

  • DIRECT CLAIMS AGAINST A MOTOR CARRIER: The Allgeier Case and Best Arguments to Keep Kentucky on the Correct Side of the McHaffie Rule – Litigating Truck Wreck Cases, Hebron, Kentucky, June 2013.


 

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