But there is hope for Missouri in 2017.
It’s a good thing tort reform is a top priority for the Missouri Legislature this year because the state’s legal landscape has recently earned a dubious distinction. According to a 2016-2017 report from the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF), St. Louis is the No. 1 judicial hellhole in the country, thanks to Missouri’s weak venue law and too-lenient standard for ‘expert’ testimony, which essentially allows “junk science.”
Missouri’s legal environment is so lax that St. Louis has become a magnet for product liability lawsuits, consumer class actions, and asbestos claims, the report says. In fact, plaintiffs are traveling from across the country just to sue in St. Louis because of the likelihood of a fast trial, a favorable ruling, and a big award. To ensure this, plaintiffs’ law firms have inundated the St. Louis media market with misleading ads to taint the defendants’ reputation in the minds of jurors.
Thankfully, the report was not all doom and gloom. ATRF noted several reasons for hope:
- In April 2016, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the state’s statutory limit on noneconomic damages for wrongful death claims.
- Bipartisan legislative majorities passed two tort reform measures in 2016 (which were vetoed by former Gov. Nixon).
- Newly elected Gov. Eric Greitens represents a fresh start with reform-minded majorities in both chambers of the Legislature.
“Missouri lawmakers are expected to introduce at least six civil justice reform bills in the legislation session that start[ed] Jan. 4,” said NFIB/MO State Director Brad Jones in a statement. “NFIB is looking forward to working with our elected leaders to ensure that Missouri has a legal environment where everyone is treated equally.”
Visit http://www.judicialhellholes.org/2016-2017/city-of-st-louis-missouri/ to read the full ATRF report on St. Louis.