SB 5 Modifies provisions relating to tort actions specifically unlawful merchandising practices, products liability claims, and venue requirements
Sponsor: Richard
LR Number: 0165S.01I Fiscal Notes
Committee: Government Reform
Last Action: 5/12/2017 - Informal Calendar S Bills for Perfection--SB 5-Richard Journal Page:
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2017

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Current Bill Summary

SB 5 - This act modifies provisions relating to tort actions specifically unlawful merchandising practices and products liability claims and venue requirements.

UNLAWFUL MERCHANDISING PRACTICES (Sections 407.012-407.025) - In civil actions in which a purchaser or leasee is seeking damages for the loss of money or property due to the unfair or deceptive sale methods of a product primarily used for personal, family, or household purposes, the courts shall be guided by the policies of the Federal Trade Commission and federal law prohibiting unfair competition and deceptive acts in commerce. Missouri law governing such actions shall not apply to transactions permitted or regulated by the Federal Trade Commission or a state or federal agency. A person seeking to recover damages in such cases shall demonstrate that he or she acted reasonably and shall establish damages with a reasonable degree of certainty. Damages shall be measured as the person's out-of-pocket loss as set forth in this act. In order to recover such damages, the person shall prove that the unlawful practice caused him or her to enter into the transaction that resulted in the person being damaged. The court may award injunctive relief. No civil action may be brought under unlawful merchandising practices relating to a product used for personal, family, or household purposes to recover damages for personal injury or death.

CLASS ACTIONS (Section 407.025) - In unlawful merchandising practices class action claims resulting from the sale of a product primarily used for personal, family, or household purposes, only compensatory damages may be recovered. Further, each class member shall prove that the unlawful practice caused him or her to enter into the transaction that resulted in the class member being damaged. The court may not infer that damages proven to have been suffered by one or more class members were suffered by all class members. If awarded, attorney's fees shall bear a reasonable relationship to the amount of the judgment. An order permitting a class action shall specify certain items as set forth in this act.

Prior to an entry of judgment against a defendant, the court shall require each member of the class claiming to be entitled to monetary relief to submit a statement to the court requesting a specific dollar amount. The amount of the judgment shall not exceed the sum of the money owed to each class member. Further, in such unlawful merchandising practices suits or products liability suits, plaintiffs may not join in one action if their claims are based on separate occurrences. Separate purchases of the same product and separate injuries from the same product are considered separate occurrences under the act.

VENUE (508.010) - In a tort case where the plaintiff is injured outside of Missouri and a venue requirement is not prescribed by law, then venue is in the county containing the seat of state government.

PRODUCTS LIABILITY (Sections 537.761-537.762) - In any products liability action in which a plaintiff alleges a design defect, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove that there was a safer alternative design and that the defect was a proximate and producing cause of the injury, damage, or death for which the plaintiff is seeking recovery.

Currently, a products liability order of dismissal for a defendant whose liability is based solely on his or her status as a seller shall not divest a court of venue or jurisdiction that was proper at the beginning of the action. Further, the defendant seller dismissed in the action shall remain a party to such action for venue and jurisdiction purposes. This act repeals these provisions.

This provision is identical to SB 4 (2017) and HB 459 (2017) and also identical to provisions in SS/HCS/HB 460 (2017) and SB 258 (2017).

This act contains a severability clause.

Provisions of this act are substantially similar to sections contained in SB 793 (2016) and SB 487 (2015) and identical to SB 782 (2016).