A House-Senate conference has approved this year’s edition of litigation reform. After more than seven hours of discussion, a vote was taken and the outcome was along party lines with the six Republicans voting in favor of it and the four Democrats voting against it. The major issues of contention included caps on monetary awards for damages and an effort to stop the practice of venue shopping by trial attorneys who try to find venues which are more favorable to plaintiffs. During discussion of this issue, Senate Democratic Leader Ken Jacob of Columbia argued venue, suggesting plaintiffs should be allowed to have their cases heard in St. Louis or any other urban area. Jacob says the judges in urban areas are more experienced because they deal with different kinds of litigation. He adds the lawyers are more experienced, as well. Democrats believe litigation reform should focus on medical malpractice, with tighter reins on the insurance companies. Republicans say litigation reform shouldn’t be tied to insurance reform and should extend beyond doctors to businesses being sued.
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