Published by:  Eureka Missouri Chamber of Commerce
Located online at:  eurekachamber.us


Chamber News
The Missouri House passes HB 393, comprehensive civil justice reform
By The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Feb 16, 2005, 10:01

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

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


Missouri Chamber applauds passage of comprehensive civil justice reforms

JEFFERSON CITY (Feb. 16, 2005) – The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry today applauded the passage of House Bill 393, comprehensive civil justice reform, which was debated by the Missouri House over the last two days.

“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,” said Michael Grote, Missouri Chamber general counsel.  “Thirty-two states have implemented tort reforms in recent years, while this critical legislation has been blocked by the Plaintiff’s Bar in Missouri.  Now, Missouri lags far behind these states in implementing protections that are critical to job retention and quality of life in our state.”

House Bill 393 contains numerous provisions designed to bring balance to Missouri’s civil justice system, including:

  • Venue reform - Limiting the current practice of moving litigation to unrelated, plaintiff-friendly venues in an effort to secure unfair verdicts by requiring cases to be filed in the county where the alleged injury occurred.
  • Joint and several liability reform - Eliminating a provision in Missouri law that allows defendants who are as little as one percent liable for an injury to be held liable for the entire judgment.
  • Punitive damages cap - Limiting punitive damages to $250,000 or three times the amount of the actual damages awarded, whichever is greater.
  • Non-economic damages cap - Instituting a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages for medical malpractice, with no inflationary allowance.  The current cap is $350,000, but with an inflationary allowance, the cap has grown to $565,000.

Facing a fierce Plaintiffs’ Bar lobby, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is standing up to opponent’s claims that this legislation would take away rights of consumers.  “Our unbalanced civil justice system is an injustice to all citizens,” argued Grote.  “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.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.org) 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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