Missouri Business Headlines

Trial attorneys attempting to buy crucial Senate seat

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Trial attorneys are attempting to block future efforts to reform Missouri’s legal climate by buying a northern Missouri Senate seat.

The trial attorney cash infusion is boosting Nate Walker, one of four Republicans running to replace Sen. Brian Munzlinger in Senate District 18.

Missouri has one of the worst legal climates in the nation. The state is currently rated as having the 49th worst legal climate in the nation by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. The American Tort Reform Association calls St. Louis courts a Judicial Hellhole.

Walker, who currently serves in the Missouri House of Representatives, has not supported the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s efforts to pass reforms to our state’s legal climate. His vote record shows votes against venue and joinder reform and punitive damages reform — two critical pieces of legislation that could help bring fairness to our state’s courtrooms. He was absent from a vote on the Business Premises Safety Act.

All three of Walker’s opponents, Cindy O’Laughlin, Craig Redmon and Lindell Shumake, are solid supporters of tort reform efforts.

The latest polling shows Walker trailing in the race. However, there is a fear that he could use his trial attorney donations to narrow the gap and perhaps win the August 7 primary.

Adding an anti-tort reform vote to the Missouri Senate could gravely harm the chances of fixing our state’s legal climate. In recent years, the Missouri House of Representatives has passed numerous bills to improve our courts only to see these efforts stall in the Missouri Senate due to the work of a small group of tort reform opponents.

“This is what the Missouri Chamber PAC is up against this election cycle,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “The trial attorneys will be trying to buy this race and others to stop our progress on our tort reform agenda. We need to push back by supporting candidates who are willing to stand up for our top priorities.”

The Missouri Chamber PAC has not endorsed in this race, but wanted to share this important information with our membership. We cannot allow our pro-business agenda to be compromised by legislators who are not willing to stand up for our top priorities.

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