Member Profile: Hon. Timothy O'Leary (Ret.)

Hon. Timothy O'Leary (Ret.)
Polsinelli Shughart
900 W. 48th Place
Kansas City, MO 64112
Email: Click for email

Tel: (816) 374-0535
Fax: (816) 374-0509

MO Chapter:

ADR Services Include:

Mediation; Arbitration; Early Neutral Evaluation; Discovery Referee; Special Master


Hon. Timothy O'Leary (Ret.) has substantive case experience in the following areas...

Class Actions
Consumer Fraud
Contract Disputes
Health Care
Legal Malpractice
Libel & Slander
Local Govt./Municipalities
Medical Malpractice
Nursing Homes
Personal Injury
Premises Liability
Product Liability
Professional Liability
Professional Malpractice
Property Damage
Railroad & Trucking
Real Estate
Shareholder Disputes
Wrongful Death



After 20 years of public service as a Jackson County Circuit Judge, Timothy O’Leary returned to private practice where his experience as a trial judge, in trying hundreds of cases, makes him valuable to clients in the resolution of disputes. His practice concentrates on alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation, in cases of all degrees of complexity, often involving millions of dollars. Mr. O’Leary has mediated and arbitrated to conclusion many hundreds of cases since his return to practice. He has engaged in the general practice of law representing both plaintiffs and defendants and his experience has taken him all over the world, including Auckland, New Zealand, and Perth, Australia, where he arbitrated 36 cases.

While he is widely respected in legal circles, Judge O'Leary became well-known as the judge who managed the Hyatt Hotel skywalk collapse litigation in state court. Hundreds of cases were settled in a class action settlement and disposed of in record time for a mass disaster. In addition, Judge O'Leary decided the Declatory Judgement action which was filed to determine coverage disputes involving the 23 insurance companies who insured the parties in that disaster. His rulings on those issues in two separate appeals were affirmed by the Missouri Court of appeals.

Judge O’Leary also served as Special Judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri, the Missouri Court of Appeals-Western District, and the Missouri Court of Appeals-Southern District.


  • J.D., University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Law, 1956
  • A.B., University of Missouri - Columbia 1952

Memberships & Affiliations

  • The Missouri Bar
  • The Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association
  • Lawyers Association of Kansas City
  • University of Missouri Law Foundation - Board of Trustees
  • Supreme Court Appointee: Missouri Citizens Commission on Compensation (established to set the salaries for the General Assembly, state elected officials and the Judiciary)
  • Governor's Advisory Commission on the Organization of the Judicial Department, 1995
  • Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Instructions for 16 years, 1978-1994
  • Supreme Court Appointee: Task Force on Gender Justice, 1993
  • Inns of Court (Program President, 1984-1989)


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