Government Relations

UM Legislative Update Newsletter

March 19, 2004

back to Legislative Update: March 19, 2004

Tort Reform Bill Moves to the Senate

Among its major provisions, House Bill 1304 does the following:

  1. Establishes venue in all tort actions occurring in Missouri in the county where the cause of action occurred and establishes rules for venue in causes of action occurring outside of Missouri;
  2. Limits the discovery of a defendant's assets in tort actions, to situations when the court determines that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff will present a submissible case on punitive damages;
  3. Provides that a defendant will be jointly and severally liable for the amount of compensatory and noneconomic damages only if the defendant is found to bear 51% or more of the fault, and a defendant will not be jointly and severally liable for more than the percentage of punitive damages for which fault is attributed to the defendant;
  4. Changes the cap on noneconomic damages from its current limit of $565,000 (after annual inflation adjustment of base amount of $350,000 set in 1986) to $350,000, without an inflation adjustment, and removes the "per occurrence" language;
  5. Limits civil damages recoverable against certain physicians, dentists, hospitals, and others to $400,000 for care or assistance necessitated by traumatic injury and rendered in a hospital emergency room;
  6. Makes it mandatory rather than discretionary that a court dismiss any medical malpractice claim for which the plaintiff fails to file the required supporting expert affidavit and limits the extension of time to file the affidavit;
  7. Changes the requirements for awarding prejudgment interest
    in tort actions;
  8. Requires clear and convincing evidence of liability for
    punitive damages;
  9. Adopts a specific schedule of payment for future medical periodic payments; and
  10. Clarifies that the provisions of the substitute will only apply to causes of action filed after August 28.

back to top