Missouri Business Headlines

House passes bill creating 15-year time limit on product lawsuits

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A Missouri Chamber priority bill to establish a commonsense time limit on product liability lawsuits was passed by the Missouri House of Representatives on April 18.

Currently in Missouri, trial attorneys can bring claims against products decades after the item was offered for sale. When so much time has passed, it’s often the case that the original manufacturer has gone out of business, causing retail businesses to bear the burden of defending products they sold, but didn’t design or construct.

House Bill 186 would limit these lawsuits to 15 years. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Curtis Trent, a Republican from Springfield.

“This is a generous bill. Many felonies in this state have a statute of limitations of three years,” said Rep. Trent, during House floor debate on his bill. “I think that 15 years for product liability, to bring some certainty to our businesses, is a very reasonable policy and the very least we can do.”

The bill passed by a vote of 102 to 50 and now moves to the Senate. A similar bill, Senate Bill 100, was debated on the Senate floor this week but did not reach a vote.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has testified in support of this legislation in both the House and Senate and will continue to advocate for its passage this session.

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