March 24, 2023 Less than a minute read

Missouri lawmakers consider critical legal reform legislation

Lawmakers are considering several pieces of legislation that would bring much-needed reform to Missouri’s legal system.

On Tuesday, March 21, the House General Laws Committee heard testimony on five tort reform bills, including HB 272. Sponsored by Rep. Alex Riley (R-Springfield), this bill would reduce the statute of limitations in personal injury cases from five years to two years. 

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry strongly supports this legislation, as well as its companion bill, SB 117, which is sponsored by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-Parkville). Currently, only three other states have a longer statute of limitations for personal injury cases.

“We believe that putting Missouri in alignment with 47 other states that have shorter statutes of limitations is a good thing for economic competitiveness,” said Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber.

Mark Behrens, an attorney with Shook, Hardy & Bacon, spoke on behalf of the American Tort Reform Association. He said finding the truth becomes more complex for jurors over time.

“What do we call juries? They are fact finders. They are searching for the truth,” Behrens said. “How do they get there through our adversarial system? Through evidence presented by the parties and cross examination. They’re going to rely on witness testimony. Well, over time, memories fade. They rely on documents, and over time, documents are misplaced.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, the Missouri Chamber also testified in support of three other tort reform bills:

  • HB 628, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters), creates the Consumer Legal Funding Act to regulate consumer legal funding companies. These businesses loan money to individuals who are awaiting a legal settlement. It also creates rules for litigation finance companies, which loan money to people so they can pursue legal action.
  • HB 273, sponsored by Riley, updates the collateral source rule, allowing only the actual cost of medical treatment to be introduced as evidence in court.
  • HB 274, sponsored by Riley, deals with asbestos exposure cases. It addresses abuses to the asbestos trust fund system, as well as the over-naming of defendants in asbestos claims.

For more information on these bills, contact Heidi Sutherland, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs, at

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