Jeff Lester is a principal at Brown & James, P.C., practicing in the firm’s St. Louis office. Jeff advises and represents individual and corporate clients in civil litigation, with a focus on the defense of premises liability, products liability, insurance, and employment matters. He has obtained multiple victories for his clients through jury trials and dispositive motions. Jeff previously practiced with a national labor and employment defense firm, where he focused on representing defendants in employment discrimination cases in federal and state court.
Academic Honors and Activities
2007 Ohio Valley Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year
NCAA Academic All-American
Recent Favorable Jury Trials
In February 2020, Jeff defended a clear liability rear-end auto case in the City of St. Louis. The plaintiff claimed a permanent disc herniation injury and requested an award of $3 million from the jury. Jeff argued other possible causes of the claimed injury and that the plaintiff’s pain, suffering, and lost enjoyment of life claims were inflated. The St. Louis City jury awarded plaintiff $15,000.
In January 2019, Jeff defended a local tavern at the trial of a premises liability claim involving the plaintiff’s fall down a flight of stairs. The plaintiff claimed severe and permanent injuries, including multiple facial fractures, traumatic brain injury, and spine fractures, and requested more than $250,000 in damages from the jury. Jeff convinced the jury to award 50 percent of fault to the injured plaintiff, for a net verdict of $25,000.
In September 2018, a jury awarded only $300 in total damages against his client in a strict-liability dog bite case in the Circuit Court of Cass County, Missouri. Plaintiff requested an award of more than $50,000 from the jury.
In March 2018, Jeff obtained a defense verdict in a case involving allegations of child abuse, assault, and negligent supervision of a dangerous dog against his client, the mother of the minor-plaintiff, in the Circuit Court of Christian County, Missouri.
In January 2018, a jury awarded 90 percent of fault to the plaintiff-pedestrian – who suffered a tibia/fibula fracture and claimed more than $600,000 in permanent damages – in a vehicle versus pedestrian accident in which Jeff represented the driver, resulting in a net verdict of only $7,500.
In December 2017, Jeff obtained a defense verdict for his client in a red-light auto case, in spite of his client’s statement in the police report that she did not have the green light when she entered the intersection. Jeff used an effective cross-examination of the plaintiff and inconsistencies in the police report and officer’s testimony to create doubt in the jury’s mind as to who ran the light.
In November 2017, the jury returned a net verdict of only $3,500 against Jeff’s client, an electrical supplies company, in a severe auto accident involving a broken back, broken nose, and concussion to the plaintiff. He used plaintiff’s prior statements and social media posts to demonstrate the plaintiff’s quick and complete physical recovery. The plaintiff’s last demand was $120,000.
In 2016, Jeff obtained a defense verdict for his client, a day care facility, in a personal injury action brought by the parent of a minor child who was injured at the facility.
In 2015, Jeff obtained a net jury verdict of less than $4,000 for his client, a property management company, in a premises liability case brought in the City of St. Louis. The plaintiff’s last settlement demand was $250,000 and the plaintiff requested more than $250,000 from the jury.
Recent Dispositive Motion Victories
In 2020, Jeff obtained summary judgment for his extended-stay hotel client on a former employee’s claims of disability discrimination, retaliation, and alleged violations of Missouri landlord-tenant statutes. Jeff convinced the court that these claims failed as a matter of law because the plaintiff had not sustained an adverse employment action and the hotel was not a “landlord” under Missouri landlord-tenant law.
In 2016, Jeff obtained summary judgment on a whistleblower claim in the Circuit Court of Madison County, Ill. Jeff successfully argued that the plaintiff-employee did not engage in any protected activity under Illinois law.
In 2015, Jeff obtained summary judgment on behalf of his client, a general residential construction contractor, in a lawsuit brought by a home purchaser in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Jeff convinced the court that the disclaimer of warranties contained in the construction contract barred any action for construction defect by the purchaser.
In 2011, Jeff obtained summary judgment in a premises liability case involving an injury to a tenant, in the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. The trial court found that the landlord owed no duty to the tenant, as a matter of law.