Missouri Business Headlines

Product liability bill passes Senate committee

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A Missouri Senate committee has approved a bill to place reasonable time limits on product liability lawsuits while also amending the bill to include important reforms to improve Missouri’s legal climate.

By a vote of 5-2 the Missouri Senate Government Reform Committee approved House Bill 186 on April 30.

The legislation is by Rep. Curtis Trent, a Republican from Springfield, and addresses Missouri’s product liability problem. Currently in Missouri, trial attorneys can bring product-related claims against companies decades after the item was offered for sale. When so much time has passed, it’s often the case that the original manufacturer has gone out of business, causing retail businesses to bear the burden of defending these products.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has supported this legislation throughout the session. Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, shared information with Senate committee members showing that more than 20 states already place limits on whether attorneys can sue over problems with old products.

Before approving the bill, the committee added language that would stop the overuse of punitive damages, and included other civil justice reform provisions.

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