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Missouri Chamber responds to the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s inaccurate editorial

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We take issue with a recent St. Louis Post Dispatch Editorial that asserts that making Missouri’s courts balanced for all Missourians somehow damages our state.

Missouri courts have become a destination to bring frivolous lawsuits, and our broken consumer protection law is one reason why. A law that was created to protect consumers, the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, is now more commonly being used against consumers to make trial attorneys rich.

Often in these cases the “deceived” consumers take home a few dollars while the lawyers reap millions. The law needs to be tightened to block unmerited cases so truly injured people can be protected.

The changes in Senate Bill 5 would align the MMPA with 31 other states by bringing the law back to its original intention: to protect consumers, like Ms. Bishop cited in your editorial. The propaganda spread by some plaintiffs’ lawyers that the bill would wholly exempt the used car industry, or any industry for that matter, from being held accountable for deception is pure nonsense. No court would view the MMPA, as amended by the bill, as exempting used car dealers from claims by people. No state or federal law or regulation permits a company to sell a car without a floorboard, no agency approves such a sale, and there are no regulations governing the sale of a floorboard-less car.

Missouri is getting national attention for being one of the easiest places in the nation to bring meritless claims against employers. Often, rather than face thousands in legal fees and biased courts, employers simply settle out of court. That’s not justice, that’s extortion. Senate Bill 5 is an important step to bring justice in our courts for all parties, including job creators.

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