Missouri Business Headlines

Gov. Nixon’s vetoes mean Missouri will likely 
retain “Judicial Hellhole” status

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Two vetoes by Gov. Jay Nixon will help Missouri keep its reputation as having one of the worst legal climates in the nation.

The state currently rates as a “Judicial Hellhole” according to the American Tort Reform Association. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform says Missouri’s legal climate ranks 42 in the nation.

The Missouri General Assembly worked to address these concerns by passing two important legal reform bills this session. Senate Bill 591, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, a Republican from Bolivar, would have required that people who testify as expert witnesses actually have expert knowledge of the topic. Senate Bill 847, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery, a Republican from Lamar, would have helped prevent out-of-proportion judgments by clarifying that in injury lawsuits, plaintiffs can only recover the costs of the actual medical expenses they incurred. The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supported both bills.

However, both bills have now been vetoed by Gov. Nixon.

“The legal climate reform bills passed this session represented a common-sense first step toward moving our state back into the judicial mainstream. While this veto is very disappointing, it’s not unexpected. Trial attorney special interests are entrenched in Jefferson City, making it incredibly difficult to make any progress toward creating a fair judiciary in our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “The only good news is that this is an election year and voters will have the opportunity to select new representation. Over the next few months we will be urging Missourians to elect lawmakers and statewide office holders who value a fair judiciary over the interests of trial attorneys.”

For more information, contact Brian Bunten, Missouri Chamber general counsel, at bbunten@mochamber.com or by phone at 573.534.3511.

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