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ATRA report: Legal climate improves but work remains

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St. Louis remains a “Judicial Hellhole” this year, according to a new report from the American Tort Reform Association. But thanks to a number of important reforms championed by Gov. Eric Greitens and legislative leaders, the city’s courts are no longer ranked the worst in the nation.

The new report ranks St. Louis as the nation’s third worst hellhole, behind the states of Florida and California. The American Tort Reform Association attributes Missouri’s improvement to tort reform measures passed this year, including common sense expert witness standards and a law that stops plaintiffs from using inflated damages to trigger windfall-sized awards.

“While we welcome the improvement, this new national report from the American Tort Reform Association shows that the statutes and case law that guide Missouri’s legal process remain stacked against the business community,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “When the Legislative Session begins next month, the Missouri Chamber will continue to lead the effort to bring greater fairness to our state’s courtrooms.”

The Missouri Chamber’s recently-released 2018 Legislative Agenda outlines several important steps the state can take to further improve the legal climate:

  • Reinstate punitive damage caps limiting the amount of recoverable damages in certain cases.
  • Clarify Missouri’s venue and joinder laws to curb venue shopping in Missouri courts.
  • Strengthen the Missouri Merchandising Practices act to reduce frivolous lawsuits filed by classes of individuals who suffered no actual harm.

Click here to see all the civil justice reform items included in the Missouri Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Agenda.

The report from the American Tort Reform Association expresses confidence that Missouri can continue to improve:

“With a governor and legislative majorities further determined to improve their state’s economy by making their state decidedly less hospitable to out-of-state plaintiffs and meritless lawsuits, reform momentum can be maintained and more progress can be made,” according to the report.

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