Missouri Business Headlines

House committee approves punitive damages bill

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Trial lawyers in Missouri are all too often using the threat of costly punitive damages to help drive up payouts from businesses. On April 10, A House committee successfully passed House Bill 489 sponsored by Rep. Bruce DeGroot which would curb the overuse of punitive damages in Missouri.

The bill also prevents employers from being subject to punitive damages when a rogue employee engages in outrageous conduct outside the scope of his or her employment, and not acting at the direction of his or her employer.

The Missouri Chamber is a leading supporter of this reform.

“It’s clear that punitive damages are being overused, and that’s one of the factors that has contributed to our state being ranked as having one of the worst legal climates in the U.S.,” said Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “This bill is critical to ensuring that punitive damages are not used to coerce settlements in Missouri lawsuits.”

The Senate version of this legislation is SB 65, sponsored by Sen. Bill White. SB 65 most recently was approved by Senate committee and is awaiting floor action.

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