Tort Reform Talking Points - Download Tort Reform Sample Letter to Lawmakers Tort Reform Bills Introduced MSMA, along with other providers, insurers, and business interests are supporting Tort Reform bills HB 1173, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison, and SB 589, sponsored by Sen. Dan Brown. The bills are identical to last year’s legislation, and remove medical malpractice from the common law and create a statutory cause of action for malpractice cases. By doing this, the legislature would then inherit the ability to cap noneconomic damages without violating the right to a jury trail.
In 2012, the Supreme Court rested its decision to strike down Missouri’s caps on this common law/statutory law difference, where common law causes of action violate the state constitution, but statutorily created ones do not . A couple of constitutional amendments have also been introduced (HJR 45 and SJR 25) to restore our caps on non-economic damages. These resolutions, if passed, would ask the state’s electorate to decide the issue at a future election. If the voters pass the resolution, the state constitution would be amended to allow the legislature to cap noneconomic damages. If the voters do not pass it, then a legislative solution to the issue likely dies for a significant amount of time. One of the advantages to the constitutional amendment is that it does not require the Governor’s signature. Once it passes both chambers it goes directly to the ballot. On the other hand, passage would ensure an expensive ballot campaign against the trial attorneys, who have notoriously deep pockets.