May 9, 2024 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber supports legislation to reform class action lawsuit process

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is backing a tort reform bill that would simplify the rules surrounding class action lawsuits.

SB 1509, sponsored by Sen. Curtis Trent (R-Springfield), was heard this week by the Senate Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee.

Trent’s bill would make several technical changes to bring Missouri’s class action rules in line with federal law.

He said the changes will make the legal process fairer and simpler.

“Basically, our certification process is backward from what federal law does. We want to put that in the same order,” Trent said. “The federal law has produced fair and balanced outcomes.”

Among those testifying in support of the bill was Matt Price, chief legal officer for Diamond Pet Foods. He told lawmakers that Missouri’s current class action process puts the onus on the defense, rather than the plaintiff.

“This is a pro-business and jobs issue,” Price said. “Most businesses in Missouri are small businesses, with the average business having 14 employees. Yet small businesses bear 81 percent of all business tort liability cases. They lack the resources to fight meritless lawsuits. In 2020, excessive class action litigation cost Missouri over 55,000 jobs.” 

Missouri has a reputation for its unfair legal climate. According to the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, the state’s legal climate ranks 44th in the nation. The American Tort Reform Association says St. Louis is the nation’s eighth worst Judicial Hellhole. The Missouri Chamber is leading the push for reforms to bring fairness to our state’s legal system, ensuring legal climate is not an impediment to economic growth.

Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs Heidi Geisbuhler Sutherland testified that passing SB 1509 would bring Missouri in line with its surrounding states.

“This legislation would make Missouri more business friendly,” Geisbuhler Sutherland said.

For more information, contact Geisbuhler Sutherland at or call (573) 634-3511.


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