Missouri’s unfair legal climate has earned our state a fourth place ranking in the American Tort Reform Association’s annual “Judicial Hellholes” report, released today.
“The ‘Show Me Your Lawsuits State’ has a reputation for a judicial nominating process hijacked by the plaintiff’s bar, a state high court that issues outlier decisions and strikes down civil justice reforms, and a lax standard for admission of expert testimony that allows ‘junk science’ into courts,’” reads the executive summary of the report.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been very vocal about the erosion of Missouri’s civil justice system that has grossly tipped the scales against Missouri’s job creators.
“The facts cited in ATRA’s report are all too familiar to those of us who are fighting to right Missouri’s unbalanced civil justice system at the state capitol and in the courts,” said Dan Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber. “Our inaction toward addressing basic, common-sense tort reforms in Missouri is gaining national attention and that is costing our state jobs and opportunity.”
It’s not just political insiders that have taken notice. Missouri CEOs are deeply concerned. According to a recent Missouri 2030 Gallup survey of more than 1,000 Missouri CEOs and business owners, less than one in four Missouri employers are satisfied with the state’s litigation climate.
Civil justice reforms are leading legislative priorities for the Missouri Chamber, which were released earlier this week. The Missouri Chamber calls for an array of reforms to:
- Align Missouri discrimination standards with federal law.
- Ensure civil lawsuits are capped at a reasonable level.
- Eliminate the joint and several liability standard, which incents lawyers to drag businesses into costly lawsuits.
- Address problems caused by Missouri Supreme Court decisions, such as the well-known Templemire decision and the recent Greer v. Sysco decision.
- Ensure that only qualified professionals are allowed to testify as expert witnesses in cases, an ongoing problem that was brought to light in the Greer v. Sysco decision.
- Reform Missouri’s collateral source standard and allow juries the full scope of information in determining an injured worker’s award, including the amount the worker received in medical insurance, workers’ compensation or other third party sources.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 50,000 employers.