The State Senate has given final approval to its version of legislation aimed at reforming the state’s civil justice system. The tort reform bill addresses several issues, including medical malpractice – an effort aimed at protecting physicians from ever increasing malpractice insurance premiums brought about by lawsuits. It also give some protection to the state’s businesses, especially in the area of so-called venue shopping. That’s the practice by which plaintiffs’ attorneys “shop” for friendly venues in which their cases can be heard. Moving venues, often to plaintiff-friendly St. Louis, tends to result in favorable verdicts for plaintiffs and awards higher than those that would be seen in most other areas of the state. The business community is pleased with the Senate action. Mike Grote, General Counsel for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, says business has been hurt by lawyers filing lawsuit after lawsuit, especially in situations in which lawyers are successful in efforts to “shop” for a jurisdiction that has little, if any, relationship to the cause of action. The measure now goes to the House, which has passed its own version of tort reform.
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