A bill that would limit lawsuits in Missouri has moved forward in the House. Representative Richard Byrd of Kirkwood, the sponsor, claims the measure would address a growing problem in the state that is causing medical malpractice insurance to skyrocket and chasing doctors and business out of the state. He says it would merely take the edge of the handful of extremely high jury damage awards that have caused the spike in insurance rates. The legislation would also restrict so-called venue shopping – the practice of trial attorneys looking to have their cases heard in friendly jurisdictions in which juries often side with the plaintiff and recommend high awards. Opponents charge the bill would keep victims from being fairly compensated and would let those responsible for negligent acts off the hook.