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Chamber News
By The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mar 16, 2005, 15:23

March 16, 2005
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry                                    
428 East Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65102

(573) 634-3511
Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO
Michael Grote, Missouri Chamber General Counsel
Karen Buschmann, Missouri Chamber Director of Communications

Comprehensive civil justice reform legislation makes its way to Gov. Blunt for signature

JEFFERSON CITY (March 16, 2005) – Missouri lawmakers have settled upon comprehensive civil justice reform legislation to be sent to Gov. Matt Blunt for signature.  Today, the Missouri Senate and House approved the conference committee’s version of the legislation finalized late last night. 

“The package is a strong one,” said Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and CEO

Daniel P. Mehan.  “This legislation would go a long way to correct abuses that have deteriorated Missouri’s health care network and put an enormous strain on Missouri’s employers – stifling product development and job growth.”

The key provisions of the legislation include:

  • Venue reform – The legislation will end the current practice of moving litigation to unrelated, plaintiff-friendly venues in an effort to secure unfair verdicts.  The legislation will require cases to be filed in the county where the alleged injury occurred and eliminates an existing Supreme Court rule allowing for discretionary transfers of cases in counties of 75,000 persons or less.  Additionally, the legislation will eliminate the ability of plaintiffs to add or remove defendants solely for the purpose of defeating the venue provisions.
  • Joint and several liability limitation – The legislation will require that a party be found 51 percent or more at fault before being held jointly liable for other defendant’s culpability. Current law allows a party that is as little as 1 percent at fault to be held 100 percent liable for the damages.  The Missouri Chamber had pushed for complete elimination of joint and several liability, but this effort was blocked in the Senate.
  • Punitive damage caps - The legislation will cap punitive damages at $500,000, or five times the actual damages of an action, whichever is greater.
  • Non-economic damage caps - The legislation will cap non-economic damages at $350,000, with no cost of living adjustment.
  • Provisions to provide collateral source information in cases - The legislation will allow collateral source information in court proceedings.  The legislation will also allow the actual dollar amount expended by the plaintiff to the health care provider to be introduced to the trier of fact.

“These provisions are important to employers, but in reality, this is a pro-consumer bill.  Our unbalanced tort system has become an injustice to all citizens,” said Mehan.  “It’s a hidden tax on everything we buy resulting in higher prices on consumer goods, fewer economic opportunities, higher insurance rates, and skyrocketing health care costs.  We applaud the Missouri Senate and House for swift action on this issue.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry ( was founded in 1923 and is the largest business association in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.




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