State senate to discuss bill limiting punitive damages Tuesday morning
JEFFERSON CITY - A bill that would severely restrict a plaintiff's ability to pursue punitive damages is scheduled to be heard Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.
Punitive damages are awarded in addition to actual damages as a form of punishment in cases of especially harmful behavior. They are what many counties in Missouri are seeking from opioid manufacturers, in an attempt to hold them accountable for the ongoing nationwide opioid crisis.
Each member of the Government Reform Committee discussing the bill represents at least one of those counties, which include Barton, Henry, Vernon, Adair, Chariton, Knox, Leis, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Schuyler, Shelby, Crawford, Dent, Phelps, Pulaski, Christian, Buchanan, and St. Louis.
The bill, SB-591, would require intentional or deliberate actions on the part of the defendant, as opposed to the current standard of recklessness or conscious disregard for the safety of others.
It is opposed by the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, who is sending four members to the hearing to testify against the bill: Immediate Past President Steve Gorny, Current President Brett Emison, MATA Board member Shawn Foster, MATA Board member, and Missouri Safe and Sober founder Kurt Larson.