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Reform or Reshuffle? Consequences of the 2005 Missouri Tort Reform Act

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Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


Has tort reform really improved Missouri’s business and medical services climate—or not? Has tort reform really penalized the most severely injured plaintiffs and dampened others’ appetites to pursue personal injury claims—or not? Has the elimination of “venue shopping” really affected the distribution and fairness of lawsuits throughout Missouri—or not? Has tort reform in the medical malpractice arena reduced the cost of health care—or not? Has Missouri’s brand of tort reform “worked” to reduce frivolous lawsuits and outrageous jury awards, thereby improving Missouri’s business climate, or does Missouri need more revolutionary changes? Or should Missouri revert towards its “old” version of tort law, a litigation environment believed to be fairer by consumer advocates, disability rights groups, and plaintiff’s attorneys?

This Note attempts to answer these questions by comparing the history of claims filed for the periods preceding and following the August 28, 2005 effective date of Missouri’s tort reform legislation.