Missouri Chamber supports tort reform measure to limit frivolous lawsuits

In an effort to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits filed in Missouri, Sen. Gary Romine (R) has filed legislation that would introduce fairness into the civil tort process by creating a “loser pays” system in Missouri. Under SB 37, the bill would award attorney’s fees and court costs in cases where a settlement offer was rejected and when the court rules on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

Sen. Romine has argued that the system would put some risk on plaintiffs to discourage individuals from filing lawsuits they are unlikely to win. The bill was heard by the Senate Small Business Insurance and Industry committee.

Romine’s bill would also require that when a court rules on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim the court may award costs and reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party that the court determines are equitable and just.

“The Missouri Chamber is supportive of this legislation because it can reduce the number of baseless lawsuits and lower litigation costs,” Jay Atkins, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, testified. “It may also create a better business climate and attract new employers to the state.”

Another bill heard by the committee was Senate Bill 227, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery (R), which would specify that no evidence of collateral sources pertaining to the cost of medical treatment shall be admissible except as provided by the act.

Sen. Mike Kehoe (R) also introduced Senate Bill 233, which would modify provisions relating to expert witnesses.

No votes were taken on the bills.

For more information about this issue, please contact Jay Atkins, General Counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce at jatkins@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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About mochamber

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry understands that the quality of life in our state depends on quality jobs for Missourians. To that end, we have one simple mission: to protect and advance Missouri business.

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