Joseph W. Elliott

Areas of Practice

Joe has nearly four decades of trial practice.  He has handled numerous cases in the Kansas City area, St. Joseph, and throughout northwest Missouri. He has litigation experience at both the state and federal level. He has appeared before every state court in the Northwest Missouri area and has handled and litigation in several jurisdictions outside the state of Missouri.

Joe focuses his practice on serious injury cases, including vehicle crashes, product liability, wrongful death, unsafe premises, fire losses, decedent estate disputes and medical cases.  From 1986 through 1996, Joe’s practice consisted primarily of insurance defense in many diverse areas, providing him with experience in a wide array of cases such as fire or alleged arson recoveries, vehicle accidents, premises liability, insurance contract disputes, and medical malpractice. Early in his career, Joe represented primarily defendants in medical malpractice matters, giving him experience understanding the inner workings of hospitals and various medical specialties.

Joe has also handled several large estate disputes. These have included a fraudulent will that suddenly appeared shortly after a death, situations where one family member has taken advantage of circumstances to squeeze out other family members, and cases of undue influence where an outsider ended up with the family farm. Estate disputes are common and should be pursued quickly when strange events happen.

Personal Injury Litigation

Joe has represented several claimants under the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Act, a highly specialized area dealing with injuries to children caused by vaccines. He successfully tried, before the United States Court of Claims, the case of Wilkerson v Secretary of Health & Human Services, an unusually complicated vaccine case.

Commercial Litigation

In 2000, Joe played a major role in the case of Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan v. Community Health Plan, which was tried in Federal Court in Jefferson City, Mo., and resulted in a jury verdict of over fourteen million dollars. His first experience with commercial litigation came in 1987, in the case of Hillyard, Inc. v. Pitzer Products Co., in which he served as second chair, handling all of the expert testimony involving complex issues of chemistry and physics. The case resulted in a verdict of 2.6 million dollars, the highest verdict ever rendered at that time in the St. Joseph Division of Federal Court.

Courts Admitted to Practice

Joe has been admitted to practice law in Missouri state and federal courts since 1983, as well as the United States Claims Court.

Education, Professional Associations and Recognition

Joe graduated from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., magna cum laude in 1980, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a concentration in Philosophy. He attended law school at the University of Missouri – Columbia, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1983. While in law school, he competed in appellate and trial competitions and was honored to be selected as a National Member of The Order of Barristers.

Joe began his practice of law in St. Joseph in 1983. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and the St. Joseph Bar Association, and the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

Personal Information

Joe was born in North Kansas City, Mo., on December 8, 1958. His father, R. Kenneth Elliott, served as a Circuit Judge in Clay County from 1958-1991. He and his wife, Marlene, have two daughters, and several grandchildren.

Joe is very active in his church and community. From 1986-1993, he was a member of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Buchanan County and has served as president of the Board of Trustees of the River Bluffs Regional Library as well as president of the St. Joseph Public Library Board. He has served on the advisory board of the Salvation Army, Young Life, and the Albrecht Kemper Museum of Art.

Reported Cases

The following is a list of those reported cases where Joe has served as lead counsel. In addition, he has served as second chair in numerous other reported decisions:

  • Dearing v. City of Marceline, 928 S. W. 2d 9 (Mo.App. W.D. 1996) personal injury, automobile accident);
  • Whisenand v. McCord, 996 S.W. 2d 528 (Mo. App. W.D. 1999) (personal injury, automobile accident);
  • Williams v. McClain, 708 F. Supp. 1086 (W.D. Mo. 1989) (prisoner complaint against sheriff);
  • Wilkerson v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, No. 90-0822V (Fed. Cl. 1998) (Vaccine Injury Claim)
  • Wilson v. American Family Mutual Insurance Company, 472 S.W.3d 579 (Mo.App. W.D. 2015) (insurance coverage dispute).

This resume is subject to rule 7.3 of the Missouri rules of professional conduct, which requires that the following notice be given: “advertising material: commercial solicitations are permitted by the Missouri rules of professional conduct but are neither submitted to nor approved by the Missouri bar or the supreme court of Missouri.”