Supreme Court takes another bite out of Missouri tort reforms

Missouri Chamber

With a new ruling that bypasses Missouri’s limit on punitive damages, the state’s Supreme Court continues to erode a successful 2005 reform law.

In their decision, released on Sept. 9, the Supreme Court reinstated a $1 million judgment against a used car dealer who defrauded a customer. The court’s ruling uses centuries’ old legal language to sidestep the clear, current 2005 statute limiting punitive damages at $500,000.

The decision comes two years after the Supreme Court similarly overturned Missouri’s 2005 cap on medical malpractice lawsuits.

“Less than 10 years ago, our state was a haven for frivolous lawsuits, outrageous judgments and skyrocketing litigation insurance premiums. In 2005, we fixed it. Lawsuits declined dramatically and premiums decreased. With this ruling, we’re seeing a trend where the Missouri Supreme Court is working to undo our progress and open the flood gates once again,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO…

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