The House Health and Mental Health Policy committee voted do pass an important bill that would put caps on the amount of medical malpractice damages in Missouri.
The committee discussed Senate Bill 239, which would re-establish legislation putting a cap on malpractice payouts. Sen. Dan Brown, the sponsor of the bill, thinks the cap should be placed in order to encourage more doctors to practice in Missouri.
The Missouri Chamber was a lead proponent of sweeping tort reforms passed in 2005 that included placing medical malpractice caps.
In 2012, the Missouri Supreme Court overturned caps on malpractice payouts, citing it was unconstitutional via the English common law. The Missouri Chamber fought the overturning of the law.
“Non-economic damages awards, such as for pain and suffering, are highly subjective and inherently unpredictable – there is no market for pain and suffering,” the Missouri Chamber wrote in a brief. “In recent years, a confluence of factors has led to a significant rise in the size of pain and suffering awards, creating the need for statutory upper limits to guard against excessive and unpredictable outlier awards. Such awards may occur when juries are improperly influenced by sympathy for the plaintiff, bias against a deep-pocket defendant, or desire to punish the defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff.”
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is in support of the bill and Brian Bunten testified on its behalf. For more information about tort reform, please contact Brian Bunten, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 573-634-3511.