The State Senate has ended a filibuster that stretched over three days and has granted preliminary approval to a bill that would bring about civil litigation reform. Specifically, the legislation aims to put the brakes on escalating malpractice insurance rates for doctors – many of whom say they are being forced to retire or leave the state. These skyrocketing rates, according to supporters of the legislation, are the result of trial lawyers filing lawsuit after lawsuit against doctors. The legislation would also end the practice known as venue shopping, which allows trial attorneys to “shop” for friendly venues in which their cases could be heard. St. Louis has a reputation, both in the state and nationally, as being a plaintiff-friendly locale in which awards are often much higher than they would be had the cases been heard anywhere else. The bill needs one more positive vote before it clears the Senate. The House has already passed its version of a tort reform bill. Governor Bob Holden said yesterday he would veto the Senate bill in its current form.
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