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House committee votes to stop COVID lawsuits

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A bill to stop opportunistic COVID-19 lawsuits has passed another hurdle toward passage.

On March 25, a committee in the Missouri House of Representatives voted in favor of Senate Bill 51.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer and championed by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is a critical effort to protect Missouri employers against the growing wave of COVID-19 litigation.

One recent report counted more than 5,800 COVID-related complaints that have been filed across the country. That number will rise as trial attorneys continue to pour tens of millions of dollars into advertising to recruit plaintiffs.

However, the number of lawsuits today likely vastly underrepresents the problem in Missouri. Our state’s statute of limitations allows plaintiffs to wait years before filing a suit. It will likely be 2025 or later before Missouri can begin to assess the quantity and scope of the litigation caused by this pandemic.

That’s why the Missouri Chamber is urging the Missouri House pass Senate Bill 51 as soon as possible.

Passing legislation to stop this job-killing wave of litigation is the Missouri Chamber’s number one priority for the legislative session. Employers today are completely exposed to this litigation, and they are deeply concerned. In fact, roughly 800 employers and Missourians have joined our call for action on this issue.

The Missouri Chamber has been leading the effort to pass emergency legislation on this issue since last April.

The vote by the Missouri House Special Committee on Litigation Reform, chaired by Rep. Bruce DeGroot, is an important step forward. The committee voted 6-2 in favor of Senate Bill 51.

With the vote, the bill now moves closer to debate on the floor of the Missouri House of Representatives. The Missouri Chamber is urging House members to pass the bill and send it directly to Gov. Mike Parson, who has called for this to be the first bill to hit his desk this session.

Trial attorneys and other special interest groups are actively working stop Senate Bill 51. Additionally, misinformation is being spread about the bill.

That’s why the Missouri Chamber is asking the business community to make sure your local representative understands the importance of Senate Bill 51 and votes “yes” when the bill comes to the House floor.

Here are five things you can do to help this bill be passed into law:

  1. Call your local representative and ask them to support Senate Bill 51. Find your representative.
  2. Send a letter to your local newspaper expressing support for Senate Bill 51. Here are some points to consider for your letter.
  3. Email your representative and ask them to vote yes on Senate Bill 51. Use this tool.
  4. Share your support for Senate Bill 51 on social media, tagging your representative if possible.
  5. Let us know why Senate Bill 51 is important to your business. Share your story here.



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