Trial attorneys willing to invest thousands in upcoming elections to keep St. Louis City as a litigation destination
Following the recent $4.7 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson, Missouri made national news as legal experts from around the country highlighted Missouri’s weak venue statutes, low standards for admitting expert witness testimony and St. Louis City’s historically plaintiff-friendly juries.
“Missouri courts are an increasingly dangerous place for businesses,” said Missouri Chamber General Counsel Justin Arnold. “It’s no accident that St. Louis City court dockets are jammed with product-liability cases – cases that often have little or no ties to St. Louis or our state.”
The Missouri Chamber has led the push for tort reform legislation, with some success. However, efforts to pass changes to the law so that claims unrelated to Missouri stay out of Missouri courts continue to fall short.
“Trial attorneys have strong influence in the Missouri Legislature,” Arnold said. “They are a well-funded force, and protecting Missouri’s lax venue law is their top objective.”
Trial attorneys also invest heavily in political candidates. Since the 2014 election cycle, trial attorney interests have poured more than $7.5 million into political campaigns according to Money Trail, a website that tracks trial attorney political contributions. The website also shows that despite recent campaign finance restrictions, more than $350,000 has been invested by trial attorneys in the upcoming 2018 elections.