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House committee approves critical legal reform bill

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A Missouri House committee has approved a critical litigation reform bill in an effort to improve the state’s legal climate.

House Bill 2206 focuses on Missouri’s outdated, litigation-friendly statute of limitations.

Current law allows plaintiffs in Missouri to wait up to five years before filing personal injury lawsuits. That’s double or more the amount of time provided by many other states.

House Bill 2206 addresses this problem by setting a two-year statute of limitations for bringing personal injury claims, and for claims relating to uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Litigation Reform passed the bill on March 8 by a vote of 6-3.

A similar bill in the Senate, Senate Bill 631, was approved by a committee in January.

Bill sponsors Rep. Curtis Trent, a Republican from Springfield, and Sen. Bill Hegeman, a Republican from Cosby, have been champions for this legislation.

This reform is important to the business community. In its most recent report, the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform ranked Missouri’s overall legal climate as 44th in the nation.

Modifying Missouri’s statute of limitations would demonstrate that our state is serious about providing justice to all litigants in a timely manner.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Litigation Reform also approved House Bill 1717 on March 8. This bill by Rep. Alex Riley, a Republican from Springfield, would increase fairness in asbestos exposure cases by requiring a claimant to provide all parties in an action with a sworn statement that all asbestos trust claims that the claimant can file have been completed and filed.

Read more about the Missouri Chamber’s legal reform priorities here.

For more information on this or other legal reform topics, contact Carol Mitchell, Missouri Chamber general counsel, at cmitchell@mochamber.com or call (573) 634-3511.

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