Jonathan Sternberg

Top rated Appellate attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

Jonathan Sternberg, Attorney, P.C.
Jonathan Sternberg
Jonathan Sternberg, Attorney, P.C.

Practice Areas: Appellate

Licensed in Missouri since: 2007

Education: University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2014 - 2023 Selected to Rising Stars: 2010 - 2013

Jonathan Sternberg, Attorney, P.C.

2323 Grand Boulevard
Suite 1100
Kansas City, MO 64108 Phone: 816-292-7020 Email: Jonathan Sternberg Visit website


Jonathan Sternberg is an appellate lawyer in Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri, with over 16 years' experience representing businesses and individuals in civil and criminal appeals and related matters before state and federal courts nationwide. He focuses his practice strictly on appellate litigation. This includes every stage of a case, not only briefing and arguing appeals and related actions, but also advising trial lawyers on procedure and strategy.

Since opening his practice right after his admission to the bar in 2007, Jonathan has been counsel of record in more than 200 reported appellate decisions in a wide array of subjects, successfully pursuing commercial, constitutional, criminal, estate, family, insurance, tax, and tort cases, among many others. The total amount in controversy of all his cases exceeds $875 million. His clients have included everything from Fortune 500® companies to indigent people. He has written more than 375 appellate briefs and presented more than 175 appellate oral arguments, including 16 before the Supreme Court of Missouri. He is admitted to practice before all state and federal courts in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, and every federal appellate court nationwide.

Jonathan has been selected for Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers and previously its "Rising Stars" list collectively since 2010.  In 2016 and 2019-2023, Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers named him to its "Top 100" list for both states and its "Top 50" list for the Kansas City metropolitan area, the youngest person on either list in 2016 or 2019-2021.  In addition, he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America© for appellate practice every year since 2015 and has received Martindale-Hubbell®'s highest peer review rating, AV® Preeminent™, every year since 2012.  Jonathan is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.  In 2022, Missouri Lawyers Weekly named Jonathan to its own "Top 100 Power List" of the top 100 attorneys in Missouri, the youngest lawyer listed for appellate law, after also naming him to its "Power List" of Missouri's top 30 appellate lawyers in 2021-2023, the youngest lawyer selected in 2021 or 2022. He also was the only solo practitioner (and youngest person) who Missouri Lawyers Weekly selected as an "Up & Coming Lawyer" in 2009, was peer-selected to the Kansas City Business Journal's "Best of the Bar" list in 2013-2016, and was a member of the Missouri Bar Leadership Academy's 2011 class.  Jonathan is active in a variety of professional and civic organizations, including having chaired the appellate-related committees of both the statewide Missouri Bar and the local Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association.

First Admitted: 2007, Missouri

Professional Webpage:

Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • "Nuts and Bolts of Missouri Appellate Practice and Procedure," numerous times for numerous Missouri audiences, most recently in June 2023
  • "Ethical Issues in Deciding Whether to Appeal," numerous times for numerous Missouri audiences, most recently in June 2023
  • "Appeals Across State Lines: Ethical Considerations in Multi-Jurisdictional Practice," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 2023
  • "A Review, not a Retrial: Perfecting the Record for Appellate Review," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 2022
  • "21st Century Advocacy: Live and Remote," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2021
  • "Nuts and Bolts of Kansas Appellate Practice and Procedure," Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (Wichita, Kan.), 2021
  • "Interlocutory Review in Missouri, Kansas, and Federal Courts," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2019
  • "Appellate Practice Update," University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law (St. Louis, Mo.), 2018
  • "Oral and Written Advocacy for Bankruptcy Practitioners," Kansas City Bankruptcy Bar Association (Kansas City, Kan.), 2018
  • "New State and Federal Appellate Rules," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2018
  • "Appellate Practice 101," Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Independence, Mo.), 2017
  • "The Art of Persuasive Modern Brief-Writing," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2016
  • "Preparing the Best Briefs and Records for eFiling and eReading," Bench, Bar, and Boardroom Conference, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Branson, Mo.), 2016
  • "Protecting the Record on Appeal and Preserving Issues for Appeal," Bench, Bar, and Boardroom Conference, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Branson, Mo.), 2016
  • "Preparing the Best Briefs and Records for eFiling and eReading," The Missouri Bar (Jefferson City, Mo.), 2015
  • "Appellate Oral Argument Workshop," Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2014
  • "Making the Best Record on Appeal," Bench, Bar, and Boardroom Conference, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Branson, Mo.), 2014
  • "Issues and Ethics in Managing an Appellate Practice," Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2014
  • "Review in the Supreme Courts of Missouri and Kansas," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2014
  • "Jones, Jardines, and Fourth Amendment Privacy in the Information Age," Bench, Bar, and Boardroom Conference, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Branson, Mo.), 2014
  • "Constructing a Winning Appeal," The Missouri Bar (Kansas City, Mo.), 2014
  • "Electronically Filing 'Tablet-Friendly' Briefs and Records," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2013
  • "Missouri E-Filing from a Practitioner's Perspective," Annual David Prager Appellate Institute, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association (Kansas City, Mo.), 2012
  • "A Proposal for Modernizing Aspects of Missouri Civil Appellate Procedure," The Missouri Bar (Jefferson City, Mo.), 2012
  • "Second Annual Oral Argument Workshop," Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association / Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District (Kansas City, Mo.), 2012
  • "The Law of State and Local Smoking Bans," National Business Institute (Overland Park, Kan.), 2012
  • "Oral Argument Workshop," Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association / Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District (Kansas City, Mo.), 2011
  • Editor, Practical Aspects of Practicing Law: A Manual for New Missouri Lawyers (The Missouri Bar: 2011) (and author of § 2, The Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan),
  • Author, Deciding Not to Decide: The Judiciary Act of 1925 and the Discretionary Court, 33(1) Journal of Supreme Court History 1 (March 2008),
  • "The Top 100 Power List," 2022, Missouri Lawyers Weekly
  • "The Power List: Appellate Law," 2021-2023, Missouri Lawyers Weekly
  • Fellow, 2020-present, American Bar Foundation
  • Listed in Appellate Practice, 2015-2024, The Best Lawyers in America©
  • "Best of the Bar," 2013-2016, Kansas City Business Journal
  • Peer review rated "AV® Preeminent™", 2012-present, Martindale-Hubbell®
  • Leadership Academy, class of 2011, The Missouri Bar
  • , "Up & Coming Lawyer", Missouri Lawyers Weekly, 2009
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, 2020-present: Appellate Practice Committee
  • Supreme Court of Missouri Historical Society, 2016-present: President (2023); President-Elect (2022); Board of Trustees (2016-2022)
  • Eighth Circuit Bar Association, 2013-present: CLE Committee (2022)
  • Kansas Bar Association, 2013-present: Appellate Practice Section
  • Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 2008-present: Board of Directors (2016), CLE Advisory Committee (2015-2016, 2020, 2022), Section of Civil Litigation (President, 2016; President-Elect, 2015), Appellate Practice Committee (Chair, 2011-2014, 2017, 2023; Vice-Chair, 2009-2010, 2020-2022)
  • American Bar Association, 2007-present: Council of Appellate Lawyers, Section of Litigation, Appellate Practice Committee
  • The Missouri Bar, 2007-present: Civil Practice & Procedure Commitee (Vice Chair, 2012-2016), Appellate Practice Subcommittee (Chair, 2012-2016)
Representative Clients:
  • National and international corporations (BNSF, Fannie Mae, The Hartford, The Weitz Company)
  • Large regional corporations (Commerce Bank, Price Chopper)
  • Numerous small businesses
  • Numerous individuals
Educational Background:
  • B.A., History, with honors, University of Kansas, 2003
Other Outstanding Achievements:
  • One of only 19 people (and by far the youngest) selected as one of Missouri’s top 100 attorneys by both Super Lawyers and Missouri Lawyers Weekly., 2022
  • Rister v. NHC Healthcare-Osage Beach, LLC, No. SD37374, 2023 WL 5606617 (Mo. App. S.D. 2023) - tort - affirmed denial of nursing home's request to compel resident to arbitrate her personal injury claim, holding husband's signature on arbitration agreement in intake documents could not bind resident to arbitrate, 2023
  • Odermann v. Harrah, 670 S.W.3d 461 (Mo. App. W.D. 2023) - commercial - reversed judgment that had held a litigation notice attorney recorded on real estate was "fraudulent," holding attorney's actions were legal and proper as statute required, so opponent could not invoke fraudulent document law, 2023
  • State ex inf. Bailey v. Gardner, No. 2322-CC00383 (Mo. 22nd Cir. filed 2023) - government - opposed Missouri Attorney General's quo warranto proceeding to oust St. Louis’s head prosecutor; obtained partial dismissal of Attorney General's case before the prosecutor ultimately resigned, 2023
  • Guthrie v. CSX Transp., Inc., No. 1-22-1583 (Ill. App. 1st Dist. 2022) - tort - defeated defendant's request to appeal certified order denying summary judgment in toxic exposure FELA case, holding only pure legal questions are certifiable for interlocutory appeal, and the issue here depended on factual questions, 2022
  • Kaderly v. Kaderly, 656 S.W.3d 333 (Mo. App. W.D. 2022) - family - upheld finding in divorce that half the wife’s $1.95 million interest in a business she sold was marital property, holding evidence showed wife personally, rather than a shell company, acquired the interest, and she risked marital funds, 2022
  • Molitor v. BNSF Ry. Co., 2022 IL App (1st) 121486 (Ill. App. 1st Dist.) - tort - reversed exclusion of FELA toxic exposure plaintiff's expert witnesses and resulting defense summary judgment, holding experts' opinions that plaintiff's exposure to carcinogens during work for defendant caused lymphoma were admissible, 2022
  • Nelson v. State, No. 124048, 2022 WL 12121061 (Kan. App.) - criminal - reversed the denial of post-conviction relief in a first-degree murder case for ineffective assistance of counsel, holding prior appointed counsel’s failure to investigate the case and raise meritorious post-conviction claims was deficient, 2022
  • Bhaduri v. LMK Constr., Inc., No. 123731, 2022 WL 3330116 (Kan. App.) - commercial - reversed summary judgment in favor of construction company on homebuyer’s consumer claim, holding the evidence supported her claim that the company knowingly misrepresented its charges, which was a proper consumer claim, 2022
  • Four Star Enters. Equip., Inc. v. Empl. Mut. Cas. Co., 648 S.W.3d 903 (Mo. App. S.D.) - commercial - vacated $100,000 judgment for alleged equipment supplier against public construction surety, holding the alleged supplier’s assignment of its claim to another entity divested it of standing to sue the surety, 2022
  • State v. Hartwein, 648 S.W.3d 834 (Mo. App. E.D.) - Criminal - lowered conviction for interference with child custody to lesser offense of attempted interference, holding statute prohibiting “enticement” of child away from lawful custody meant taking child, not just trying to do so, 2022
  • Soetaert v. Novani Flips, LLC, 631 S.W.3d 580 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Tort - represented statewide association of real estate agents as a friend of the court, held state statute limiting real estate agents' liability applies in actions under state consumer protection law, 2021
  • Schutter v. Seibold, 632 S.W.3d 820 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Family - reversed dismissals under UCCJEA of challenge to wage garnishment and action to enforce prior child custody judgment, 2021
  • Olofson v. Olofson, 625 S.W.3d 419 (Mo. banc) - Family - reversed dismissal due to husband's death of wife’s action to set aside divorce property division for fraud, holding husband's death did not moot or abate wife's allegation he committed fraud, and the whole divorce did not have to be set aside if wife prevailed, 2021
  • Gonzales-McLinn v. State, No. 2019-cv-109 (Dist. Ct. of Douglas Cnty., Kan.) - Criminal - on post-conviction review, lowered first-degree murder sentence to 25-to-life, rather than 50-to-life, by negotiating settlement with prosecution resulting in judgment holding trial counsel ineffective, 2021
  • Harder v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., No. 20-1417 (8th Circuit) - Tort - along with three companion cases, all of which questioned the threshold requirements for expert testimony on causation in toxic exposure FELA cases; our appeals led to favorable settlements for our clients in each after summary judgments against them, 2021
  • Holmes v. Union Pac. R.R. Co., 617 S.W.3d 853 (Mo. banc) - Tort - questioned the dismissal of a widow’s FELA case against a railroad for her husband’s wrongful death, 2021
  • In re Luebbert, 987 F.3d 771 (8th Cir.)​ - Bankruptcy - upheld finding that a debtor could not discharge a $650,000 breach-of-contract judgment against him, 2021
  • Vallejo v. BNSF Ry. Co., No. 119100 (Kan. App.) - Tort - reversed a $385,000 personal injury judgment against a railroad and obtained judgment for the railroad, 2021
  • In re Estate of Lentz, 476 P.3d 1151 (Kan.) - Estate - reversed a lower appellate court's dismissal of an heir's appeal challenging the valuation of an estate, 2020
  • Berman Deleve Kuchan & Chapman LLC v. 417 Rentals LLC, 598 S.W.3d 915 (Mo. App. S.D.) - Bankruptcy - reinstated law firm's registration of $160,000 bankruptcy attorney fee order that lower court had vacated, 2020
  • Torres v. Torres, 606 S.W.3d 168 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Family - affirmed finding in divorce that $349,000 increase in value of the husband's business was marital property, 2020
  • State ex rel. Koehler v. Midkiff, 596 S.W.3d 630 (Mo. banc) - Family - obtained writ prohibiting determining contested temporary custody of child during divorce without a hearing, 2020
  • SnugglyCat, Inc. v. Opfer Commc'ns, Inc., 953 F.3d 522 (8th Cir.) - Intellectual property - affirmed allowing dismissal of trademark infringement claims "without prejudice" despite prevailing-party attorney fee statute, 2020
  • In re Purported Lien at District at City Center, 462 P.3d 181 (Kan. App.) - Commercial - reversed judgment that had struck subcontractor's bona fide $400,000 mechanic’s lien as "fraudulent", 2020
  • State v. Rigsby, 589 S.W.3d 661 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Criminal - reversed felony DWI conviction and sentence and obtained re-sentencing as first-time misdemeanor, 2019
  • The Weitz Company v. UMB Bank, N.A., No. 18-3447 (8th Cir.) - Commercial - our appeal led to a favorable settlement for a company whose multimillion-dollar claims against a bank were dismissed, 2019
  • In re Marriage of Towle and LéGaré, 439 P.3d 327 (Kan. App.) - Family - reversed order legally separating couple after wife died, and for husband to pay her share to her son, 2019
  • Johnson v. CoreCivic, No. 18-8014 (8th Cir.) - Class actions - defeated defendants’ requests for permission to appeal class action certification in Wiretap Act case, 2019
  • State v. Fitzpatrick, No. 14BS-CR01104 (Circuit Court of Bates County, Mo.) - Criminal - obtained new trial on all charges in felony sexual offense case without having to appeal, 2018
  • Olson v. Olson, 559 S.W.3d 395 (Mo. App. S.D.) - Family - reversed long-distance custody schedule and increase in child support for out-of-state father, 2018
  • Castleberry v. Debrot, 424 P.3d 495 (Kan.) - Medical malpractice - upheld $900,000 wrongful death verdict after physician failed to diagnose impending stroke, 2018
  • G&G Mech. Contractors, Inc. v. Jeff City Indus., Inc., 549 S.W.3d 492 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Commercial - upheld $150,000 award of prejudgment interest on balance due under construction contract, 2018
  • In re A.F., 538 S.W.3d 396 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Juvenile/Family - reversed outright the termination of client’s parental rights over his three children, holding there was no evidence of any abuse, neglect, or inability to parent legally justifying a termination, 2018
  • In re Marriage of Speir, 538 S.W.3d 396 (Mo. App. S.D.) - Family - vacated all proceedings in divorce modification and obtained new proceedings before different judge, holding client had right to change of judge that erroneously had been denied, 2018
  • City of Raymore v. O'Malley, 527 S.W.3d 857 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Criminal - representing city, reversed dismissal of city's prosecution of defendant and upheld city's disorderly conduct ordinance as constitutional, 2017
  • State ex rel. Yoest v. McEvoy, 529 S.W.3d 383 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Constitutional - obtained writ commanding county collector to allow clients to bid at tax sales, 2017
  • Combs v. Cordish Cos., 862 F.3d 671 (8th Cir.) - Civil rights - reversed summary judgment dismissing race-discrimination claim against entertainment district, 2017
  • Consolver v. Hotze, No. 110483 (Kan.) - Tort - reinstated $100,000 attorney fee award that lower appellate court had overturned, 2017
  • Doe v. Hughes, No. WD79064 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Tort - upheld $9 million judgment for disabled woman who repeatedly was raped by her caregiver's husband, 2016
  • Gray v. United States, 833 F.3d 919 (8th Cir.) - Criminal - obtained resentencing for client convicted and sentenced for possessing twice drug quantity he actually did, 2016
  • State ex inf. White ex rel. Clements v. Cacioppo, No. 16CY-CV01441 (Cir. Ct. of Clay County, Mo.) - Municipal - defeated prosecutor’s and mayor’s attempt to obtain writ of quo warranto ousting city councilman, 2016
  • Bereal v. Bajaj, 371 P.3d 349 (Kan. App.) - Medical malpractice - obtained new trial for client paralyzed by air injected into his heart during routine procedure, 2016
  • Greer v. Sysco Food Sys., 475 S.W.3d 655 (Mo. banc) - Worker's compensation - overruled 20 years of case law to uphold $100,000 award for severely injured claimant, 2015
  • In re Alternate Fuels, Inc., 789 F.3d 1139 (10th Cir.) - Bankruptcy - reversed denial of secured creditor's $3.8 million claim, 2015
  • Whelan Sec. Co. v. Kennebrew, 477 S.W.3d 148 (Mo. App. E.D.) - Employment - reversed $235,000 summary judgment against former employee accused of violating non-compete agreement, 2015
  • State v. Capone, 344 P.3d 970 (Kan. App.) - Criminal - vacated felony DWI conviction and sentence, 2015
  • Perren v. Perren, 475 S.W.3d 741 (Mo. App. S.D.) - Family - upheld restraining order protecting client from brother who had attacked and severely injured him, 2015
  • In re Adoption of C.T.P., 452 S.W.3d 705 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Family - prevented wife's former paramour from claiming child custody in husband's stepparent adoption, 2014
  • March v. Midwest St. Louis LLC, 417 S.W.3d 248 (Mo. banc) - Tort - upheld trial court's grant of new trial for personal injury plaintiff due to perjury that lower court had overturned, 2014
  • D.S.K. ex rel. J.J.K. v. D.L.T., 428 S.W.3d 655 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Family - Clarified custody rights of husband who raised children born of wife's extramarital affair, 2013
  • Bateman v. Platte Cnty., 363 S.W.3d 39 (Mo. banc) - Land use - Restored judgment declaring road to be private easement, which lower court had overturned, 2012
  • Rinehart v. Bateman, 363 S.W.3d 357 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Tax - Restored 149,000% reduction in agricultural landowner’s property tax that lower court had overturned, 2012
  • Whelan Sec. Co. v. Kennebrew, 379 S.W.3d 835 (Mo. banc) - Employment - Defended trial court’s ruling that non-compete covenants against client were invalidly overbroad, 2012
  • State v. Fleming, 286 P.3d 239 (Kan. App.) - Criminal - Overturned client's felony theft conviction as unconstitutionally multiplicitous (double jeopardy), 2012
  • D.R. Sherry Constr., Ltd. v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 316 S.W.3d 899 (Mo. banc) - Insurance - Restored policyholder’s $475,000 verdict against its insurer that a lower appellate court had overturned, 2010
  • Mid-Mo. Waste Sys. v. LaFarge N. Am., Case No. 09-3485 (8th Cir.) - Commercial - Our brief for plaintiff who had lost at trial led to major multinational corporation settling on appeal, 2010
  • Phan v. State, Case No. 0816-CV36955 (Mo. 16th Cir.) - Criminal - Vacated decade-old felony conviction and 13-year prison sentence; prosecution did not appeal, 2009
  • Kinnaman-Carson v. Westport Ins. Corp., 283 S.W.3d 761 (Mo. banc) - Insurance - Required insurance company to pay injured couple their $1,700,000 judgment against its policholder, 2009
  • City of Kan. City v. Carlson, 292 S.W.3d 368 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Municipal - Questioned whether city could prohibit bars from allowing smoking indoors when state law permitted bars to do so, 2009
  • In re Estate of Bell, 316 S.W.3d 899 (Mo. App. W.D.) - Estate - Overturned $325,000 settlement forced on beneficiary of estate worth more than twice that amount, 2009
  • Doe v. Merritt, 261 S.W.3d 672 (Mo. App. S.D.) - Constitutional - Required state to delete person from its "sex offender" registry who it had added retroactively, 2008

Office location for Jonathan Sternberg

2323 Grand Boulevard
Suite 1100
Kansas City, MO 64108

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