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Committee votes to create reasonable time limits for Missouri lawsuits

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A Missouri Senate committee is backing an effort to put reasonable time limits on product liability lawsuits.

Under current Missouri law, a company can be held liable for a product it sold 50 years ago — even if it didn’t manufacture it.

Senate Bill 100 would place a 15-year limit on product liability lawsuits. A Senate committee has voted 5-1 to move the bill forward.

During a recent hearing on the bill, sponsor Sen. Jeanie Riddle, a Republican from Holts Summit, said the current situation in Missouri places an undue burden on our manufacturers and works against the state’s efforts to attract jobs and business investment.

“Objects in our everyday lives cannot be expected to last forever,” said Sen. Riddle.

Current state law on this issue also creates a major burden for retailers, who may be forced to indefinitely defend products that they did manufacture in the event that the company that made the product has gone out of business.

Missouri businesses O’Reilly Auto Parts and Danuser Machine testified in support of the bill.

As the bill moves out of committee, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry will continue to advocate for establishing these time limits.

“We do feel that the 15-year time limit proposed on this bill is a reasonable amount of time for our manufacturers and sellers to contemplate litigation for products that they put into the stream of commerce,” said Matt Panik, vice president of government relations at the Missouri Chamber. “It’s something we definitely support.”

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