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Missouri Tort Reform Brings "Flood" of Lawsuits

Missouri's 2005 tort reform bill took effect today, but its impending effect brought a flood of new lawsuits over the past few weeks as plaintiffs attorneys raced to get cases filed before the change in law.

"Greene County Circuit Clerk Michael Carr said his office was "inundated" this month with at least 478 civil cases. A daily average of 50 to 60 cases was filed last week, including 110 submitted Wednesday and about 100 on Thursday, Carr said. . . . . The office typically files about five to six cases daily."

Missouri's reform bill (H.B. 393) eliminated a number of venue-shopping provisions under prior law and tightened limits on punitive damages.

Prior Missouri reforms had required that 50% of any punitive damages award be paid to a state fund. (Out of Balance, p. 167). The 2005 reform bill imposes an additional cap on punitive awards that may not exceed the greater of $500,000 or five times the "net judgment" awarded to the plaintiff in the case.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.