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Disappointing Legislative Session Comes to a Close in Missouri

The Missouri Legislature adjourned on the evening of Friday, May 19, 2018, without passing significant legal reform legislation. Lawmakers gave many reasons for their failure that ranged from “we passed enough tort reform in 2017” to “we ran out of time.” These excuses ring hollow.

Among the much-needed reforms considered were venue reform, amendments to the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), and legislation to allow evidence of seat belt non-use.

Venue reform legislation was first introduced eight years ago and MMPA four years ago, yet lawmakers, continue to manufacture reasons for their inaction.   It is beyond dispute that cases are flocking from all over the country to St. Louis because of the lax venue rules and lucrative damages available under the MMPA.

A reasonable observer would have to conclude that Republican lawmakers, who hold the majority in both legislative chambers, either condone lawsuit abuse and thus are aligned with the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys or are incapable of taking on a wealthy entrenched interest.  Either way, Missouri’s “Show Me Your Lawsuit State” nickname will remain as will the status of St. Louis as a Judicial Hellhole, so long as policy makers fail to abjure their allegiance to wealthy personal injury lawyers.

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