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Hearings focus on tort reform issues: AIM supports restoring sanity to system

On Tuesday, the Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee heard bills that would bring some common sense to the courtroom, both of which were supported by Associated Industries of Missouri.

Senator Mike Kehoe (R-Jefferson City) presented SB 233, a bill that would require an expert witness to have expertise in the field in which they claim to be an expert.  He said the bill would model Missouri statute after language used in federal court and 40 other states.  Attorneys testified the bill would clear up confusion in current state law as to what qualifies a person to speak as an “expert” and said it would help keep “junk science” out of the courtroom.  Many testified in support. Only opposition was from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys and one “expert” witness that complained about the time consumed by affidavits and other proof required in states where this language is law.

In the same hearing, Senator Ed Emery (R-Lamar) presented SB 227, a bill that would allow plaintiffs to recover charges that are actually paid, rather than charges that are billed by a medical provider in tort cases. Again, the only opposition was from the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys.

And later that same day, the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee met to hear HB 118, sponsored by Rep. Eric Burlison (R-133 Springfield), a bill to restore a statutory cause of action and thereby restore non-economic damage caps in medical malpractice cases.  Many testified in support of the bill, including Associated Industries of Missouri, doctors and several insurance and medical groups.

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