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Tort Reform: Venue/Joinder bill clears Missouri Senate

By a vote of 24-7, along party lines, the Missouri Senate has given approval to a revision of the venue and joinder laws in Missouri. Republicans supported the measure, all Democrats voting on the bill voted no, and three Democrat senators were absent. The bill is Senate Bill 7, sponsored by Sen. Ed Emery.

The bill codifies a recent court case and will keep some cases involving out-of-state matters from being heard in Missouri courts.

During the extremely long debate on the bill, several changes were made and we are still determining the full impact of those changes, but we believe the bill accomplishes the main goal of the legislation: to prevent venue shopping, including using joinder, the process of joining another party as a defendant in a lawsuit, as a tool.

For cases involving injuries occurring within Missouri borders, the venue will be the county where the injury occurred. Cases involving out-of-state injuries allegedly committed by Missouri companies will have venue in the county where the registered agent for the defendant company is located.

The bill now moves to the Missouri House for further consideration.

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