Skip to content

Nate works as an insurance defense attorney, focusing on products liability law and asbestos defense litigation in Missouri and Illinois.  He has extensive experience advocating for a broad range of national businesses including manufacturers, premises owners, and contractors during all phases of litigation with the ultimate goal of mitigating and eliminating legal risk. He has also represented a variety of local professionals and entities including retail owners, medical professionals, design professionals, financial planners, and construction contractors.  He regularly appears for contested motions and trial settings in the circuit courts of Missouri and Illinois including St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Madison County, and McLean County.

Prior to working at Rasmussen Dickey Moore, Nate gained experience as a law student extern at the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Kansas and as an extern clerk for the Honorable Carlos Murguia of the United States District Court for the District of Kansas.

Outside of his legal practice, Nate is the President of Downtown Dutchtown, an economic development nonprofit in south St. Louis city’s densest neighborhood that promotes a thriving community through shared prosperity. In 2017, he helped establish the Dutchtown Community Improvement District, the largest community driven CID in Missouri. Nate, his wife Staci, and their son Thaddeus are active parishioners at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Dutchtown.

Litigation in St. Louis, Madison County, and more.

Let Nate and the team at RDM put their experience to work for you. When you face claims in the challenging jurisdictions of Greater St. Louis and the Metro East areas, count on RDM to handle your case.

Education

  • University of Kansas

    Juris Doctor 2012

  • Grinnell College

    Bachelor of Arts 2008

Admissions

  • State of Missouri
  • State of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois

Civic
Activities

RDM's Knowledge Blog Posts by Nathan A. Lindsey

Books in a law library. RDM carefully studies contract language and contract law to ensure our clients know what they're signing.

The Eastern District of Missouri recently highlighted the importance of plain language, or the ordinary meaning doctrine, which suggests words in contracts should be given their everyday meaning unless the context of the contract indicates an alternative.

Pelopidas v. Keller

Pelopidas v. Keller involved a dispute between a previously married couple and their respective interest in a company. After divorcing, the couple agreed to retain their respective 50% ownership of the Pelopidas holding company. One spouse remained the owner/manager of the company and the other was an owner/employee drawing salary and benefits.

The owner/employee brought claims for breach of fiduciary duty in 2016. Ultimately, the owner/manager ex-spouse resigned from the company in 2019 and the company’s largest client and primary source of revenue terminated its business relationship with Pelopidas. Following these events, the parties mediated the lawsuit and entered into a written agreement titled “Memorandum of Settlement” outlining an agreed transfer of interest from the owner/employee to the owner/manager in exchange for a monetary payment.

The contract language included “Plaintiff’s stock shall be surrendered/sold, escrowed and pledged back to Plaintiff” and included a payment schedule over three and a half years. There was no effective date for the transfer of the owner/employee’s interest. In early 2020, the parties reached an impasse regarding finalizing the settlement and transfer of stock. The owner/employee then filed suit to enforce her version of the transfer of stock settlement which included a different effective date than that proposed by the owner/manager. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the owner/manager on the grounds that the effective date of the transfer of stock was the date in which the settlement was executed. The owner/employee appealed.

The Eastern District reversed the trial court’s ruling, instead directing the court to enter summary judgment in favor of the owner/employee. The Eastern District stated, “It is well established that the cardinal principle for contract interpretation is to ascertain the intention of the parties and to give effect to that intent.  To that end we use the plain, ordinary, and usual meaning of the contract’s words and consider the document as a whole.”

What’s The Difference Between Language of Performance and Language of Obligation?

The appeals court went on to determine the plain meaning of the use of “shall be” in relation to the transfer of the stock to determine the intent for whether it imposed a future obligation or immediate performance. The Court stated, “very simply, it is the only reasonable interpretation of the words “shall be” in [the contract clause], which clearly commands that each of these requirements occur sometime after [the date the settlement was executed].”

The Court went on to cite to the American Bar Association’s A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting which notes the differences between language of performance and language of obligation.

Language of Performance: Expresses actions accomplished by means of signing the contract itself, is typically accomplished by use of the word “hereby.”

Language of Obligation: States any duty a contract imposes on one or more parties and is typically accomplished by use of the word “shall” or “will.”

The Court noted that this plain language interpretation is reinforced by the fact that the dismissal of the underlying lawsuit was accomplished with the same language “shall be” with the intent that the lawsuit be dismissed at a future date following the execution of the supplemental documentation related to stock transfer.

“Hereby” vs. “Shall Be”

The takeaway lesson for businesses and contract drafters is to avoid utilizing any language of obligation if the intent of the parties is to effectuate the date of the agreement at the time of execution. In fact, the ABA manual specifically states in Section 3.72, that the word “shall” should not be used to express anything other than language of obligation in a contract. The alternative language to effectuate the date of the stock transfer as the date of the settlement execution could have been, “Plaintiff’s stock is hereby surrendered/sold, escrowed and shall be pledged back to Plaintiff.”

When drafting a contract, the details are of utmost importance. RDM’s Business Law Team understands the ins and outs of complex contractual agreements and can help you ensure that what you see is what you get. Contact RDM before you sign on the dotted line.

The futsal court in Marquette Park.

Rasmussen Dickey Moore member attorney Nate Lindsey recently participated in the kickoff event for the first outdoor futsal court in St. Louis. As part of his work with Dutchtown Main Streets, a volunteer-run community development non-profit, Nate teamed up with the organization’s subcommittee Allies of Marquette Park to usher in a new era of soccer to Marquette. Nate organized and collaborated with St. Louis CITY SC, the St. Louis Parks Department, and a host of private donors, community organizations, and contractors to have the futsal court installed at Marquette Park.

Continue reading RDM Attorney Nate Lindsey Helps Bring Futsal to Dutchtown
The Missouri Capitol. Missouri legislators recently amended laws pertaining to "065 agreements." Photo by Paul Sableman.

On June 29th, 2021, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed into law SS HB 345, which will go into effect on August 28th. The law amends Missouri’s unique statutory law, predominantly viewed as favoring policy holders and plaintiffs’ attorneys seeking garnishments and third-party actions against insurance companies.  

Insurance carriers who believe they have a defense to coverage have faced complex risk analysis in Missouri. While the duty to defend is generally broader than the duty to indemnify, third-party claims against carriers in Missouri have become an increasingly popular weapon.

When faced with a claim, a carrier has a few options: 

  • Accept the defense of the claim without any reservation of rights, which triggers a duty to indemnify;
  • Defend under reservation of rights and file a declaration action to determine coverage; or
  • Outright deny coverage and a defense.

What is an 065 Agreement?

In Missouri, when there is a dispute as to coverage between a defendant and its insurer, R.S.Mo. § 537.065 allows plaintiff and defendant to enter into an agreement that a plaintiff will only collect on a judgment from the defendant’s insurance carrier. These agreements usually arise when there has been a disclaimer of coverage or a rejection of a reservation of rights defense which is treated as a denial of coverage in Missouri.

Prior to HB 345, parties could enter into an 065 settlement agreement to shift liability to one party or insurer. Parties could provide notice only at the eleventh hour before a judgment in the matter was entered, and the insurer would then be bound by the judgment.  Several recent cases—Britt v. Otto, Aguilar v. GEICO, and Geiler v. Liberty (see our recent analysis of this case)—illustrate how the past provisions of 537.065 had been used by plaintiffs to set up insurers for bad faith claims, obtain rulings in alternative dispute resolution settings, and effectively wipe away the insurer’s ability to do anything to protect its own interests unless it agrees to provide full coverage from the outset.

What are the new changes to 537.065?

Timing

In 2017, an amendment was passed and signed into law requiring that before a judgment could be entered in an 065 agreement, an insurer needed to be provided with written notice of the execution of the contract and be given thirty days to intervene as a matter of right in pending litigation involving the claim for damages. The most recent amendments attempt to close the timing loopholes that allowed gamesmanship of notice to carriers with specific timelines for different scenarios of litigation:

If any action seeking a judgment on the claim against the tort-feasor is pending at the time of the execution of any contract entered into under this section, then, within thirty days after such execution, the tort-feasor shall provide his or her insurer or insurers with a copy of the executed contract and a copy of any such action. 

If any action seeking a judgment on the claim against the tort-feasor is pending at the time of the execution of any contract entered into under this section but is thereafter dismissed, then, within thirty days after the refiling of that action or the filing of any subsequent action arising out of the claim for damages against the tort-feasor, the tort-feasor shall provide his or her insurer or insurers with a copy of the executed contract and a copy of the refiled or subsequently filed action seeking a judgment on the claim against the tort-feasor.

If no action seeking a judgment on the claim against the tort-feasor is pending at the time of the execution of any contract entered into under this section, then, within thirty days after the tort-feasor receives notice of any subsequent action, by service of process or otherwise, the tort-feasor shall provide his or her insurer or insurers with a copy of the executed contract and a copy of any action seeking a judgment on the claim against the tort-feasor.

Rights After Intervention

New language in 537.065 also makes clear that if an insurance carrier chooses to intervene in an 065 agreement then, “the intervenor shall have all rights afforded to defendants under the Missouri rules of civil procedure and reasonable and sufficient time to meaningfully assert its position including, but not limited to, the right and time to conduct discovery, the right and time to engage in motion practice, and the right to a trial by jury and sufficient time to prepare for trial.” Further, no order regarding the claim matter shall be binding on the carrier choosing to intervene if the order is entered prior to the intervention.

No Private Arbitration End Run

The law also amends Missouri’s Uniform Arbitration Act to make clear that plaintiffs may not use private arbitration to circumvent proper notice to the carrier and the opportunity to intervene.  Any arbitration occurring without the consent of the insurer is not binding and the choice not to participate shall not be construed to be bad faith.

In Conclusion

The changes to 537.065 go into effect on August 28th, 2021. Even when the changes become effective, insurers must continue to stay on their toes as plaintiffs’ attorneys seek opportunities to stay one step ahead.

While the changes to Missouri law may be more favorable to insurers, it is still absolutely essential that insurers have the right counsel to help them assess their options. RDM’s extensive experience in complex claims coverage allows us to provide detailed assessments accounting for a wide array of possible outcomes. Though the laws may change, insurers should remain vigilant when it comes to their Missouri claims.

From coverage opinions to defense at trial, RDM’s Insurance Law team can lead insurers through complex claims at every step of the way keeping them informed and prepared for the latest changes in state law. Contact RDM today to discuss how new laws may affect you.

The Johnson & Johnson verdict was delivered at the Civil Courts Building in Downtown St. Louis, MO. Photo by Tom Lampe.

Johnson & Johnson is looking to strike a blow to one of the more infamous verdicts in the City of St. Louis. While St. Louis has long had a reputation for plaintiff-friendly decisions, the largest verdict by far was $4.69 billion against Johnson & Johnson for 22 plaintiffs in July 2018.

In the summer of 2020, the verdict was upheld by the Missouri Court of Appeals. On November 3rd, 2020, the Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Johnson & Johnson and Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc. in Robert Ingham et al. v. Johnson & Johnson, et al. The courts let stand a state appellate decision which affirmed a $2.2 billion jury verdict against the consumer giant and for women who claimed their ovarian cancer was caused by use of Johnson & Johnson’s talcum powder products.

Johnson & Johnson called the trial verdict “fundamentally flawed” and “at odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming [their products were] safe.” They vowed to appeal the verdict to the Supreme Court.

In March 2021, Johnson & Johnson filed a petition on three issues related to the verdict: whether consolidating 22 plaintiffs into a single case violated due process; whether the punitive damages award was unconstitutional in light of the actual compensatory award; and whether the trial court actually had personal jurisdiction in the case.

The particular issues raised by Johnson & Johnson highlight many of the concerns raised over the years with Plaintiff friendly procedures in St. Louis. Only five of the 22 plaintiffs resided in Missouri. Other than suing the same defendant for the same product, their cases had little in common. These practices have become commonplace in Missouri and are likely to continue without a ruling from the Supreme Court that would change the current litigation climate.

Continue reading Johnson & Johnson Appeals Landmark St. Louis Verdict to the U.S. Supreme Court
The Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis, with RDM's St. Louis office in the background.

The Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis is getting an update as part of a $380 million revitalization of the grounds of Gateway Arch National Park. An iconic element of the St. Louis skyline, the first iteration of the Old Courthouse was completed in 1828, with various upgrades and expansions occurring over the next decades. The distinct iron and copper dome was completed in 1864. 

While many in St. Louis might have intimate knowledge of the history of the Old Courthouse, most visitors to St. Louis and those living outside the region are likely unaware of why the courthouse is a historic federal building. Aside from its famous silhouette below the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse is best known for its role in the Dred Scott case, in which an enslaved Black man sued for his freedom. The case marked the end of an era in which hundreds of slaves sued for their freedom in St. Louis and stoked the tensions that led to the Civil War. 

Once Free, Always Free: The History of Freedom Suits in St. Louis 

In 1807, the Missouri Territory enabled a statute that permitted any person wrongly held in slavery to sue for their freedom. Such suits were referred to as “freedom suits.” Each suit required a charge of trespass of false imprisonment and witness testimony. The process was cumbersome, as the person who brought suit had the burden of proving that they were in fact free, and that their captor had inflicted physical abuse upon them. Furthermore, most would-be petitioners lacked the ability to read or write, not to mention the resources needed to seek counsel. Many cases were handled pro bono by abolitionist attorneys in the community. 

The Missouri Supreme Court interpreted the territorial statute in 1824 and formally established Missouri’s criteria for a freedom suit. The precedent, set in Winny v. Whitesides, was known as “once free, always free.” 

Winny was an enslaved woman owned by Phoebe Whitesides. Whitesides kept Winny as a slave while living in Illinois for a number of years. Winny won her case before the Circuit Court and prevailed again after Whitesides appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court. The Supreme Court heard that appeal at the Old Courthouse. On the appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed that a slave taken to a state or territory which had outlawed slavery, by virtue of being in a free land, became a free person. The freedom held even if a former slave returned to a slave state like Missouri. That freedom could not be revoked. 

The Winny v. Whitesides decision ushered in a “golden age” of freedom suits. Approximately 300 freedom suits were brought before the Circuit Court in St. Louis throughout the middle of the 19th century. More than half of the petitioners prevailed in their fight for freedom under the “once free, always free” doctrine. 

A bronze statue of Dred and Harriet Scott at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.

The Dred Scott Freedom Suit 

The Old Courthouse was the site of the trial level freedom suits of Dred Scott and his wife Harriet in 1847 and 1850. When most hear Dred Scott, they jump to the infamous 1857 Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford that held, “it is too clear for dispute that the enslaved African race were not intended to be included, and formed no part of the people who framed and adopted” the Declaration of Independence. The Supreme Court decided that Black people, whether free or enslaved, were not entitled to the privileges enshrined to American citizens in the Constitution. 

Victory in St. Louis

However, the road to the Supreme Court case was a complicated one. Spanning more than a decade of litigation, the Dred Scott case started in St. Louis at the Old Courthouse. The Scotts’ original petition for freedom claimed that they had resided in the free state of Illinois at Rock Island and in the free Wisconsin Territory at Fort Snelling. Because they had been voluntarily held by their owner in these locations where slavery was not permitted, they argued that they were entitled to freedom. The Missouri Circuit Court in St. Louis agreed in 1850. 

Appeal to the Missouri Supreme Court

The Scotts’ alleged owners appealed the case to the Missouri Supreme Court, and the parties again pleaded their cases at the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. The tides had shifted at the high court since the days of “once free, always free,” and the Missouri Supreme Court overturned the Scotts’ victory in the lower court. The court sought to strengthen its position on states’ rights, stating in 1852, “Times are not now as they were when the former decisions on this subject were made. Since then, not only individuals but States have been possessed with a dark and fell spirit in relation to slavery.” In other words, just because you were free in Illinois, you are not guaranteed freedom in Missouri. 

The Federal Suit

After the loss, the Scotts again sued for their liberty in 1853, but this time at the federal level. The federal court had jurisdiction as the Scotts’ so-called owner was residing in New York. However, the court instructed jurors to rely on Missouri law when determining whether or not the Scotts should be free. In light of the recent decision of the Missouri Supreme Court, the Scotts were again denied their freedom. They appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

The Supreme Court’s Dred Scott Decision

The Dred Scott opinion is remembered as one of the darkest moments of jurisprudence in our nation. The majority chose to ignore the expansive ideals of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and our nation in favor of an inhumane and antiquated interpretation of the founders’ intentions. 

The opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Roger Taney, a slave owner and southern sympathizer who outspokenly supported the institution of slavery. At the time, the Supreme Court included four southern justices. Behind the scenes, President-elect James Buchanan pressured northern justices to join the majority, hoping to put an end to the slavery question. Ultimately the efforts resulted in a 7–2 ruling against the Scotts. The decision outraged the growing contingent of anti-slavery Americans and pushed the nation closer to civil war. 

The Old Courthouse’s Legacy in Civil Rights History 

As we have seen here, the Old Courthouse was the stage for early decisive victories for slaves seeking freedom. The Old Courthouse also served as a setting for decisions that reversed those victories and diminished the possibility for former slaves to be guaranteed liberty. Missouri was always viewed as a divided state, and the wild swings in the opinions of the courts over just a handful of decades puts those divisions into stark relief. Soon after the Missouri Supreme Court’s ruling against Dred and Harriet Scott, the state would send thousands of soldiers to serve both the Union and Confederate armies. 

While the Scotts did not ultimately prevail in their fight for freedom, their cases helped to fuel abolitionist movements and provided context to the struggle for Black freedom that has existed since the birth of our nation. A solid majority of the U.S. Supreme Court at the time of the Scott decision believed that the founding fathers saw Blacks as “so far below them in the scale of created beings” that the Constitution couldn’t possibly apply to Blacks enslaved or free. That such unconscionable beliefs were widely held, accepted, and enshrined into law shows the strength of the institutions which slaves, freed Blacks, and abolitionists had to push back against. While the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, the fight for Black civil rights continues. The relentless spirit of Dred and Harriet Scott in their pursuit of liberty lives on. 

The Old Courthouse Today 

Gateway Arch National Park serves as a “memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West, to the pioneers who helped shape its history, and to Dred Scott who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.” The park, previously known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, was renamed in 2018. As part of a massive project to update the park, a bridge and a small park space were built to provide a direct connection between the Arch and the Old Courthouse. 

The final piece of the update project, known as CityArchRiver, is a full renovation of the Old Courthouse. Beginning in late 2021, the renovation will include upgrades to mechanical systems and accessibility improvements along with new exhibit galleries. The new northeast gallery will focus entirely on the Dred Scott case. The northwest gallery will examine Black life in St. Louis during the time of slavery, and the battles for freedom which were frequently fought in the Old Courthouse’s courtrooms. 

A bronze statue of Dred and Harriet Scott stands in the southeast courtyard of the Old Courthouse. The statue was unveiled in 2012 and erected through the work of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation

The Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis, with the Gateway Arch in the distance.
The Dred and Harriet Scott memorial statue, with Rasmussen Dickey Moore's St. Louis office in the background.

In the Shadow of the Old Courthouse 

Rasmussen Dickey Moore’s St. Louis office is located directly south of the historic Old Courthouse. The landmark serves as a daily reminder of the importance of the pursuit for justice: “Equality for all under the law without bias, or prejudice of any kind.” Moreover, we are reminded of the ongoing struggle for equality that Blacks and other minorities face both in the world at large and in the legal industry specifically. 

RDM is committed to facing these challenges and building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive firm culture where attorneys and staff of all backgrounds can succeed, and we strive to be leaders when it comes to addressing diversity issues in small and mid-sized law firms. The reflection of the Old Courthouse on the walls of our building is an admonishment to build a better future for our attorneys, staff, and clients.