SS/SCS/SB 832 - This act modifies provisions relating to tort actions, specifically unlawful merchandising practices and products liability claims.
UNLAWFUL MERCHANDISING PRACTICES (Sections 407.012-407.027) - 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, 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, prove that the unlawful act caused him or her to enter into the transaction, and establish damages with a reasonable degree of certainty. Damages shall be measured as the person's out-of-pocket loss. The cause of action accrues on the date that the product is purchased or leased due to unlawful merchandising practices. No civil claim may be brought for unlawful merchandising practices to recover damages for personal injury or death.
Actions regarding the advertisement, merchandise, or transaction for a new residence are not subject to suit or criminal prosecution for unfair or deceptive sale methods when the sale contract contains an express warranty and a disclaimer from liability for unlawful merchandising practices.
CLASS ACTIONS (Section 407.025) - In unlawful merchandising practices class actions, 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 how the claims will be tried in a time efficient manner.
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.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY (Sections 537.761-537.763) - 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.
The provisions of this act only apply to causes of action that accrue on or after the act's effective date. The act also contains a severability clause.
This act is similar to HB 2089 (2018) and SB 5 (2017) and to provisions contained in SCS/SB 1102 (2018), SB 258 (2017), SB 793 (2016), SB 782 (2016), and SB 487 (2015).