SS #4/SB 546 - This act modifies provisions of civil procedure regarding joinder and venue.
JOINDER (507.040, 507.050)
In a civil action where the plaintiff is injured outside of the state, claims arising out of separate purchases of the same product or separate incidents involving the same product shall not be joined regardless of whether the claims arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences with a common question of law.
In addition to current law regarding when plaintiffs and defendants may join in one civil action, this act states that in tort actions two or more plaintiffs may be joined in a single action only if each plaintiff can independently establish proper venue. Likewise, two or more defendants may be joined in a single action only if the plaintiff can establish proper venue and personal jurisdiction for each defendant individually. However, defendants may be joined in an action if the defendants are indispensable and there is no venue in which the plaintiff can establish proper venue against each defendant independently. If proper venue or personal jurisdiction cannot be established for each plaintiff or defendant, then the plaintiff or defendant will be deemed misjoined, the claims will be severed from the action, and the claims shall be transferred to a county with proper venue. If there is no county in Missouri in which venue exists, then the claims shall be dismissed without prejudice. The parties may be joined when all of the parties have waived their objection to the misjoinder.
In cases that are pending as of the effective date of the act, determined to be misjoined, and transferred to a new venue, pretrial rulings made by the transferring court may only be reconsidered for good cause.
Two or more plaintiffs injured at the same time outside of the state as a result of a single occurrence may be joined in one action in Cole County.
VENUE (508.010, 508.012, 537.762)
For the purposes of meeting the venue requirement, the principal place of residence for an individual whose employment conduct is at issue in the action shall be the corporation's principal place of residence. The principal place of residence for a corporation is the county where the corporation has its registered agent, or for a domestic or foreign insurance company the county where its registered office is maintained. If a foreign insurance company does not have a registered office in Missouri, then the residence of the foreign insurance company shall be Cole County.
When the action is alleging a claim for uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits and the plaintiff was injured inside of the state, venue shall be in the county where the plaintiff was injured. If the plaintiff was injured outside of the state and claiming uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits, then venue shall be determined as provided in current law for tort claims where the injury occurred out of state.
In all other actions against an insurer, venue shall be in the county either of the insurer's principal place of residence, the insured's principal place of residence at the time the insurance contract was issued, or where the injury occurred.
When transfer of venue is denied in error by a trial court, an appellate court shall reverse the trial court's judgment and a finding of prejudice is not required for reversal.
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 act is similar to HB 1578 (2018), to provisions in SCS/SB 1102 (2018), and SB 258 (2017).