St. Louis, MO
Joined Firm in 2020
Karen optimizes her experience in the healthcare industry to marshal client and firm resources in defense of claims against healthcare providers.
- More than 20 years of experience in litigation and defense of healthcare providers
- Former Registered Respiratory Therapist
Attorney in Edwardsville, IL
Karen's practice focuses on litigation and defense of healthcare providers, where she represents healthcare providers in all phases of medical malpractice claims, negligence claims, statutory actions, breach of contract, and other litigation matters. Having practiced in a hospital setting, Karen feels it is a natural fit for her to represent healthcare providers as they navigate the litigation process. Accessible and responsive to client needs and demands, she takes a collaborative approach to her practice and works closely with the client and the other litigation team members. Her goal is to assist clients in defense of their livelihood while optimizing outcomes for healthcare providers.
Karen is involved in all litigation phases, including discovery, investigation, analysis of evidence, research, preparation of motions, deposing and defending fact and expert witnesses, and trial preparation. She has experience defending clients in hospital and long-term care/nursing home settings. She has been instrumental in helping to obtain the dismissal of claims at the state and federal court levels.
An Of Counsel attorney in the firm's Edwardsville and St. Louis offices, Karen has been in practice for more than two decades, defending physicians, nurses, dentists, and long-term care providers. She assists in representing healthcare providers in medical malpractice claims, negligence claims, statutory actions, breach of contract, and other litigation matters, where she has deposed fact and expert witnesses and assisted healthcare providers in disciplinary measures.
Before joining Heyl Royster, Karen practiced at a firm in St. Louis, Missouri, that concentrated on medical malpractice defense and hospital risk management. Karen represented healthcare clients in numerous guardianship matters and dozens of involuntary commitment hearings. Before that, Karen worked as a Registered Respiratory Therapist, working in both adult and neonatal critical care units and with other pulmonary patients. These experiences bring Karen a unique perspective and an in-depth understanding of healthcare industry issues.
J.D., University of Texas School of Law
B.S., Rockhurst College
Licensure(s) and Admission(s)
State Courts of Illinois
State Courts of Missouri
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
Illinois State Bar Association
St. Clair County Bar Association, Former Member
St. Louis Area Health Lawyers Association
The Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis
Former, Co-Chair Law Student Services Committee
Young Lawyers Section Social Committee
The Missouri Bar Association
Health and Hospital Administration Law Committee
Belleville Economic Progress, Inc.
Girl Scout Troop 2775, Leader
Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation
Past Participant, Pro Bono Project
Legal Advocates for Abused Women, Volunteer Attorney
Soulard Restoration Group, Member
Board of Directors (2002 – 2004)
St. Frances Cabrini Academy, CFO Secretary
St. Vincent DePaul Parish, Member
- Lehmuth v. St. Anthony’s Medical Center, St. Louis City Circuit Court, Cause No. 22032-01289, September 2006 (second chair) – Defense verdict in a case brought under the Missouri Wrongful Death Act, in which the decedent’s family alleged defendants were negligent in their care and treatment of their elderly mother. The jury found in favor of all defendants.
- Lutheran Senior Services v. St. Anthony’s Medical Center, St. Louis County Circuit Court, 2007 WL 4413452, August 2007 (second chair) – Defense verdict on a claim for contribution. After a senior services facility settled an underlying medical malpractice case with the patient, it brought a contribution action against the hospital. Plaintiff claimed the hospital’s employed physician and nurses were negligent in their care. Jury found the plaintiff to be 100% at fault.
- Irvin v. Pike County Memorial Hospital, 205CV00014 AGF, 2006 WL 2265282 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 7, 2006) – Successfully obtained summary judgment on portions of the plaintiff’s complaint alleging violations of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Plaintiff alleged defendant and its employed physician failed to provide appropriate screening and stabilizing treatment. Federal Court agreed with the defendant that the plaintiff failed to establish plaintiff’s decedent was treated differently from other patients under similar circumstances.
- Marshall v. Mercantile Bancorporation, Inc., St. Louis City Circuit Court, Cause No. 962-00963, April 1998 – Successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of the defendant. Plaintiff alleged the right to recover for stock options based on promissory and equitable estoppel theories.
- Noreuil v. Peabody Coal Co., 96 F. 3d 254 (7th Cir. 1996) – District Court’s order granting summary judgment motion in employer’s favor on alleged violations of discrimination in Employment Act; affirmed on appeal.
- Wilkinson v. Magyar, 284 Ill. App. 3d 1155, 708 N.E.2d 1289 (1996) – Appeal from Madison County Case No. 94-E5C-1285; appeal of an order granting default judgment against the client, who initially was represented by other counsel. Fifth Appellate District reversed in part and remanded.
- Van Houten v. Perryville Family Care Center, Cause No. 10PR-CC00018-01, July 19, 2012 – Assisted with discovery, defendants’ depositions, and experts. Plaintiff alleged injection caused problems. Defense experts testified that the nurse practitioner exercised the appropriate standard of care and that a pre-existing condition caused that plaintiff’s injury verdict reported in Missouri Lawyers Weekly Verdicts and Settlements, Fall 2012.
“Legalities of Managed Care,” Memorial Hospital Physician Network (1997)
“Issues for Guardianship Hearings,” St. Anthony’s Medical Center/Hyland
“Enterprise Liability Puts Managed Care Organizations at Risk,” National Law Journal, Co-author (1997)
“Discovery Issues for Integrated Delivery Systems,” Sixth Annual Symposium of Healthcare Attorneys and Risk Managers