Senate venue and joinder bill sent to House
Venue and joinder reform — legislation that’s considered critical to this year’s work to reform Missouri’s legal climate — made more progress this week as Senators completed work on their proposal.
Senate Bill 7 addresses a longstanding issue which allows lawsuits with little-or-no connection to Missouri to be filed in plaintiff-friendly St. Louis and Kansas City courts.
The state’s current venue and joinder laws have attracted a flood of litigation from outside of Missouri.
Out of the 13,252 mass tort plaintiffs involved in cases being heard in St. Louis City, only 1,035 are Missouri residents, according to bill sponsor Sen. Ed Emery, a Republican from Lamar. He contends Missouri is “being used as the nation’s courtroom.”
On March 4, the Senate passed the bill 24-7, sending it to the House of Representatives where it was forwarded to a committee for further discussion.
The state’s lax venue and joinder laws are a major reason why Missouri and St. Louis annually rank as having some of the worst legal climates in the nation. This negative reputation hurts our ability to be competitive for economic growth opportunities. Improving our state’s competitiveness is one of the four key drivers of Missouri 2030, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s strategic initiative for growth.
The Missouri Chamber will continue to advocate for venue and joinder reform and other needed legal climate legislation as the session continues.