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Partner James R. Howell is a personal injury and medical malpractice attorney at Prochaska, Howell & Prochaska LLC Law Firm. He entered professional law in 1987 and quickly discovered a talent for helping the injured. After 18 years of litigation practice with several of the most successful trial lawyers in Kansas, he joined PHP Law Firm as a partner in 2005.

With settlements and verdicts in excess of $25 million, Howell litigates personal injury cases that include medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, construction accidents and motor vehicle accidents.

Howell has long subscribed to a conviction that every person who has been injured is entitled to the best representation available. It doesn’t matter who they are, the cost, the severity of the injury, or how complex the litigation. His focus has always been to build a sincere professional and personal relationship with those he represents. He works hard to win them fair and just compensation to help them recover from financial loss, physical injury and mental suffering. His care and concern continue long after his clients’ recovery.

Through a number of professional legal associations, Howell is a frequent lecturer at legal seminars, a prolific writer of legal articles, and enjoys extensive involvement in various local, state and national bar associations. To promote affordable and quality education, he also serves on the Board of Trustees of Butler Community College.

He enjoys spending time related to his wife and two children, music, vintage car restoration, carpentry, and landscaping.

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Organizations Supported

  • The Lord’s Diner
  • Honor Flight Network
  • Various Charitable Car Shows
  • Various Organizations in Support of Veterans

The people we represent are devastated, so I subscribe to the philosophy that I want to help them, not just financially, but emotionally and physically. I care deeply about my clients from the beginning of their case and long after their recovery.

Notable Successes

$2200000
Global Settlement
$1400000
Settlement
$1300000
Verdict
$800000
Settlement
  • $2.2 million

    Global settlement for a construction accident related to a recently constructed deck that pulled away from a home, collapsed, killed one person and injured other guests

  • $1.4 million

    Settlement (based on $1.5 million in damages) for trucking negligence after a woman was killed by inattentive driving by the operator of a wheat truck

  • $1.3 million

    Verdict for premises liability when a customer brushed against an improperly fastened glass shelf at a department store causing it to fall and strike the foot of a customer resulting in tarsal tunnel syndrome

  • $800,000

    Settlement for a construction accident related to the negligent operation of a crane and improper rigging that caused permanent injury to a leg and foot

  • $500,000

    Settlement for nursing home negligence in which a nursing home aide caused bi- lateral hip fractures when transferring a resident from a wheelchair to a whirlpool bath, which resulted in hospitalization followed by death

  • $525,000

    Settlement for hospital/radiology/family practice negligence when a hospital’s defective call light system lead to a patient fall and hip fracture. A radiologist and family practice physician missed the fracture. A delay led to avascular necrosis and a hip replacement.

  • $250,000

    Settlement for motor vehicle negligence when a man suffered a herniated disc as a result of a negligent driver running a stop sign

  • $250,000

    Settlement for premises liability when a customer who had stopped at local co-op store to have their tires changed walked across the shop floor, stepped onto a mechanic creeper and feel, injuring their knee and requiring surgery

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $23 million in damages) for hospital/obstetrical negligence when a prolapsed cord occurred and a delay in a C-section resulted in profound brain injury

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $22 million in damages) for hospital/obstetrical negligence when there was a delay in the emergency C-section, signs of fetal distress and then a profound hypoxic brain injury

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $22 million in damages) for hospital and nursing negligence when nursing negligence, understaffing and the failure to implement policy changes recommended by JCAHO involving ventilators left a working mother of two in a persistent vegetative state

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $20 million in damages) for medication error/hospital, nursing and pharmacy negligence when a medication error resulted in severe hypoxic brain damage of a newborn twin

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $20 million in damages) for obstetrical negligence when there was fetal distress caused by external cephalic version and a failure to perform a C-section that resulted in profound hypoxic brain injury

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $20 million in damages) for obstetrical/family practice negligence when the failure to diagnose placental abruption by a medical resident, faculty supervisor and obstetrician as part of a collaborative family practice program led to profound hypoxic brain injury

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $16 million in damages) for physician negligence when a family practice doctor delivered a baby in a rural hospital and missed a diagnosis following the baby vomiting large amounts of green demises due to a twisted bowel

    • The doctor refused to transport the baby to a tertiary hospital until it was almost dead, even though the rural hospital lacked a ventilator for pediatric patients.
    • Upon arrival, the baby was diagnosed and emergency surgery completed.
    • Sixty percent of the bowel was necrotic and removed.
    • The baby had multiple surfers but ultimately died secondary to complications following the settlement of the suit.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $16 million in damages) for surgery followed by permanent disability

    • The patient experienced abdominal pain and saw a surgeon.
    • The surgeon performed gall bladder removal even though all testing was negative, and the pathology showed no problem with the gallbladder.
    • The surgeon improperly clipped the bile duct leading to the leaking of bile and severe complications resulting in permanent disability.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $15 million in damages) for pediatric neurology negligence when there a was failure to diagnose a brain tumor and provide the proper treatments, which resulted in hydrocephalus and permanent brain injury in a teenager

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $15 million in damages) for family practice/emergency medicine negligence when failure to diagnose sub-arachnoid hemorrhage resulted in quadriplegia

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $12 million in damages) for obstetrical negligence when excessive use of vacuum extraction and failure to perform a timely C-section resulted in severe hypoxic brain damage

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $12 million in damages) for Emergency Room (ER) and hospitalist negligence when there was a delay in diagnosing a spinal hematoma as the cause of back pain resulting in eventual death

    • The patient experienced back pain secondary to a spontaneous spinal hematoma, causing pressure on the spinal cord.
    • The Emergency Room (ER) doctor failed to schedule an MRI to investigate the possibility of spinal hematoma.
    • The patient had worsening back pain and returned.
    • A second Emergency Room (ER) doctor failed to order an MRI but admitted the patient under the care of a hospitalist. The hospitalist worked up cardiac as opposed to back pain.
    • Two days later, the patient’s legs were paralyzed due to the delay in diagnosing spinal hematoma as the cause of the back pain. The patient developed decubitus ulcers that are uncontrollable while in rehab and was sent to a burn unit out of state.
    • The patient remained hospitalized for more than a year and was sent home to die because nothing more could be done. The patient died following the settlement of the suit.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $10 million in damages) for family practice negligence when there was a failure to diagnose and treat a rare kidney virus the led to the loss of both kidneys, prolonged dialysis and a kidney transplant

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $10 million in damages) for physician and nursing negligence when there was a failure to diagnose and intervene in a timely manner, which caused paralysis of the legs and complications

    • An elderly patient was hospitalized for dehydration and back pain following a fall at home.
    • The hospitalist failed to work up the cause of the back pain, and the nurses failed to timely report the onset of leg paralysis.
    • The patient had a blood pocket from the fall that was compressing the spinal cord. Failure to timely diagnose and intervene led to paralysis of the legs and complications.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $10 million in damages) for radiology negligence when there was a failure to properly interpret an x-ray finding of subluxation of spinal vertebra caused cord injury and permanent paralysis

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $4 million in damages) for defective product and installation when a cleaning crew was seriously hurt

    • An elevator at a beef packing plant was improperly designed and installed.
    • A cleaning crew entered the elevator, and it free fell 25 feet to a concrete pad.
    • The cleaning crew was seriously hurt including amputations, fractures and extensive hospitalization and rehabilitation.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $3.2 million in damages) for family practice negligence when failure to diagnose and treat pulmonary embolism following a gall bladder surgery resulted in the death of a working pregnant mother with three children

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $3 million in damages) for surgical negligence when failure to diagnose and timely operate on a post-operative spinal hematoma led to the permanent loss of bowel and bladder control and leg paralysis

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $3 million in damages) for failure to diagnose Mesenteric Ischemia

    • The patient was hospitalized for dissecting aortic aneurysm.
    • During the hospitalization, the patient developed severe abdominal pain.
    • An endovascular surgeon consulted and performed diagnostic aortogram. The procedure was not properly performed, and progressing mesenteric ischemia was missed.
    • The patient had emergency surgery to save the bowel, but 50 percent of the bowel was lost due to the delay. The patient is now work disabled.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $2.5 million in damages) for a construction accident when there was a failure to inspect reaving on a crane resulting in the collapse of the boom crane, severance of a worker’s arm and death

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $2.2 million in damages) for psychiatric hospital negligence when there was a failure to properly assess and monitor a patient admitted to the hospital following a suicide attempt and the patient committed suicide in their room

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $2 million in damages) for family practice negligence when there was a failure to diagnose malignant melanoma resulting in the fatal spread of cancer and reduced life expectancy

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.75 million in damages) for medication error/ pharmacy negligence when a prescription filled in error led to a toxic overdose, brain damage and death

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.75 million in damages) for surgical negligence when failure to diagnose and treat post-operative bleed following a colon resection led to death

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.6 million in damages) for a construction accident and defective product design when a worker guiding a paving machine was run over by a wheel of the machine due to poor design and lost their lower leg

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.5 million in damages) for nursing and hospital negligence when a patient’s airway closes and dies

    • The patient underwent a throat procedure for sleep apnea.
    • They were released the next day but returned with shortness of breath and an inability to swallow. The patient was admitted to a regular floor.
    • Oxygen saturation suddenly fell, and nurses failed to report the change to a physician.
    • The patient’s airway closed and is found dead by a nurse the next morning.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.5 million in damages) for family practice/radiology/ physician assistant negligence when the failure to diagnose a dissecting aortic aneurysm by a physicians assistant, radiologist and family practice physician led to death

  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1.5 million in damages) for nursing negligence and eCare system negligence when a patient had a cardiac arrest and died

    • A patient was admitted for various ailments.
    • The patient was monitored by hospital nursing staff and a remote care facility using the eCare system.
    • When the patient’s blood pressure trended down, there was no intervention by anyone. Their blood pressure fell to critical levels; the patient coded and died.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1 million in damages) for hospital nursing negligence when a right-hand artery and blood flow was destroyed

    • A college student visited an Emergency Room (ER) with severe headaches.
    • A nurse improperly started an IV in an artery in their right hand and administered caustic medication for nausea.
    • The artery and blood flow to the patient’s fingers were destroyed.
  • Confidential settlement

    (Based on $1 million in damages) for orthopedic negligence when there was permanent injury to a patient’s hand

    • A patient fell and fractured their arm. An Emergency Room (ER) doctor called in an orthopedic surgeon for the repair.
    • The doctor failed to use a protective device while drilling free-hand into the bone to place screws in the rod. The drill bit caught and severed the radial nerve.
    • Nerve grafts were done in an attempt to repair the damage, but there was permanent injury to the hand, restricting a firm grip and partial use of the fingers.

  • Colorado Bar Association
  • Kansas Bar Association (Fellow and Long-standing Member)
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Wichita Bar Association
    • Medical Legal Committee (Past Chair and Long-standing Member)
    • Civil Practice Committee (Past Chair and Long-standing Member)
  • Kansas Association for Justice – Consumer Advocate Award (2010)
  • Kansas Association for Justice – Distinguished Service Award (2008)
  • Kansas Association for Justice Recognition and Award for Service as the Journal Board of Editors Chair (2005-2013)
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • Missouri & Kansas Super Lawyers (2007 to 2013)
  • National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers (2013)
  • The Best Lawyers in America – Medical Malpractice (2013)
  • Wichita Business Journal – Best Lawyers – Medical Malpractice Law (2010)
  • American Association for Justice (Products Liability Section and Medical Malpractice Section)
  • American Bar Association (Long-standing Member)
  • American Trial Lawyers Association (Long-standing Member)
  • Kansas Association for Justice (Chairman of the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers, Past Chair and Long-standing Member of the Amicus Curiae Committee, Member of the Executive Committee, Member of the Board of Governors)
  • Kansas Bar Association (Fellow)
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum (Long-standing Member)
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Compensating An Injured Minor – Is Loss of Future Earning Capacity Too Speculative?”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Credibility: Expert Witness on Trial”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Depositions-Strategies and Preparation: A Primer”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Diversity Jurisdiction: Is the Move Enough?”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Don’t Forget – KTLA is a Friend of the Court”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Ethics In Handling Medical Records Pre- suit and In Civil Discovery”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Future Consequences of a Present Injury – Maximizing Damages”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Loss of Earning Capacity in the “Better Than Before” Client – Maximizing Damages”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Non-economic Damage Caps: An Analysis of Miller v. Johnson”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Nuts and Bolts: Settlements Involving Minors and Incapacitated Persons”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Obtaining Medical Records Under the New Kansas Health Information Technology And Exchange Act”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Personal Preference Evidence of Expert Witnesses – Cox v. Lesko Revisited”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Physician’s Right to Elect Treatment To Be Used: PIK 3d 123.11”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Recent
  • Changes in the Expert Rules: A Resolution or New Battleground”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “The Locality Rule of P.I.K. 3d 123.10, A Hidden Danger”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Trucking Accidents Part I – Investigation”
  • Journal of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association – “Trucking Accidents Part II – Litigation”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Watch Out for That Employee Healthcare Provider: Notice of Claim Issues”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Who is that Mystery Man in the Operating Room? – Manufacturer Representatives Scrub in for Surgery”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Written Discovery – A Bag of Tools Part One”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Written Discovery – A Bag of Tools Part Two”
  • Journal of the Kansas Association for Justice – “Written Discovery – A Bag of Tools Part Three”
  • Annual Crown Center Convention – “Deposition Strategy & Tips”
  • Deposition Workshop – “Introduction to Depositions and Strategy”
  • “Gathering Case Information in the Automobile Case”
  • Jury Perceptions in Motor Vehicle Cases – Ethics and Then Some – “The Lighter Side”
  • Kansas Association for Justice
  • Kansas Association for Justice
  • Kansas Association for Justice
  • Kansas Association for Justice – “Gathering Case Information For the Auto Case”
  • Kansas Association for Justice – Written Discovery – “A Bag of Tools”
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas Bar Association – Annual Kansas Health Law Institute – “Current Trends in the Use of Expert Witnesses in Medical Malpractice Cases”
  • “Keeping it Simple: The Best Approach to Preparing Experts For Trial”
  • “Obtaining Medical Records Under the New Kansas Health Information Technology and Exchange Act”
  • “The Strategy and Use of Expert Disclosures”
  • Wichita Bar Association
  • Wichita Bar Association – “Changes in the Rules on Expert Disclosures”
  • Wichita Bar Association- Civil Practice – “ABCs of Motor Vehicle Cases – Investigation to Settlement”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Civil Practice – Accidents on Trial – “Inside the Mind of the Juror”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Civil Practice – “ERISA and PIP, Ethics in Civil Practice and Lien Reimbursement”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Civil Practice – “How to Settle a Personal Injury Case”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “Direct Examination of the Expert: Heading Off Cross- Examination”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “Effective Use of Written Discovery”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “Evidence and Discovery in Civil Litigation”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “HIPAA, The Sedgwick County Medical Legal Code & Legal Ethics, Ethics in Handling Medical Records”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “How to Effectively Address Evidentiary Issues With Motions In Limine”
  • Wichita Bar Association and Kansas Association for Justice
  • Wichita Bar Association – Medical/Legal – “Basic Medicine for The Lawyer & Medical Records Update”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Medical/Legal – CSI – Wichita – “Medical Forensics for the Lawyer”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Medical/Legal – “Use of Expert Witnesses in Personal Injury Cases”
  • Wichita Bar Association Seminar – “Evidence and Civil Discovery in Civil Litigation”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “The Practicalities of the Medical/Legal Arena, Personal Injury Meets Medicaid Law”
  • Wichita Bar Association – “Useful Tips in Civil Litigation, Ethics In Discovery and Then Some”
  • Wichita Bar Association – Venue – “Choosing the Battleground”
    Workshop Faculty”

Legal Assistant

    Christina Stephen

    Office Manager / Legal Assistant

    Serving PHP Law Firm since 2008, Christina Stephen oversees the office operations, including marketing and IT. She also assists Attorney James R. Howell with his cases, which are typically personal injury cases that include medical malpractice, product liability, wrongful death, construction accidents and motor vehicle accidents.

Meet Our Support Staff

Our personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys are supported by a team of highly qualified and compassionate legal assistants and secretaries.

About Our Staff