JEFFERSON CITY – State Sen. Ed Emery (R-District 31), who sponsored the just signed into law tort reform bill, hopes that it will make it more difficult for out-of-state plaintiffs to bring their lawsuits to Missouri.
Senate Bill 7 will toughen rules around who may join civil suits in the state. Previously, the bar to join a civil suit in Missouri was low, making the state an attractive place for out-of-state attorneys and plaintiffs to join already-filed suits. The new law tightens the requirements to join an existing suit and sets up stricter rules regarding the circumstances in which plaintiffs can claim Missouri as an appropriate venue for their case to be heard.
Emery celebrated the signing of the bill as a victory for all Missourians that would lighten the load on the state's courts and create a more-favorable economic climate.
"The thousands of out-of-state plaintiffs that gather up in St. Louis because the courts seem to be so much more favorable for plaintiffs there have not only loaded up the courts but they've also, I think, infringed on the rights of Missourians. I am pleased that we're going to be able to go back to the letter of the law as it is written," he said.
In campaigning for passage of the bill, Emery noted that less than 10 percent of plaintiffs in mass tort cases being heard in St. Louis are actually residents of the state of Missouri.
Supporters of the bill, including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, believe the new rules will make Missouri a more attractive place to do business without the fear of large-scale lawsuits.
In a statement following the signing, Parson echoed that sentiment.
"Today, we took a great step in bringing fairness to our courts and giving Missouri businesses the opportunity for competitive economic growth," the governor said in a July 10 press release.