Civil Justice Reform

One of the biggest challenges to Missouri’s business climate is the need for continued, meaningful legal reform. The trial bar is intent on increasing the amount of time employers spend in court. Each year, dangerous, anti-business legislation is pushed by this powerful and well-funded special interest.

Reform to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) is a leading priority of the Missouri Chamber.  The law as currently written and interpreted promotes costly and sometimes outlandish lawsuits for which consumers and jobseekers pay the price.  A few simple reforms can begin to return Missouri’s MMPA to its original mission of preventing and punishing truly deceptive business practices.

“Like many state consumer protection laws, the well-intentioned MMPA originated in the 1960s.  But since then, the law has been so distorted and contorted by legislative amendments and judicial interpretations that it’s now just as likely to be used to boost trial lawyers’ bank accounts as it is to compensate truly defrauded consumers,” Mehan said.

A 2009 study by Northwestern University’s Searle Civil Justice Institute shows that reported decisions of consumer fraud claims in Missouri from 2000 to 2009 rose an astonishing 678 percent – more than four times the national average — even as the state’s population rose just over 6 percent.

In addition to reforms to the MMPA, the Missouri Chamber will revisit legal reforms, including joint and several liability, third-party liability and employment law.