Punitive Damages Bill Becomes Law

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2020

Contact: Mike Kelley, (573) 751-2173

Punitive Damages Bill Becomes Law

Jefferson City — On Wednesday, July 1, Senate Bill 591 was signed into law by the governor in St. Peters, Missouri, and then again at a second, re-signing event in Springfield, Missouri, later that day. This measure, sponsored by Sen. Bill White, R-Joplin, modifies provisions relating to civil actions, including punitive damages and unlawful merchandising practices.

Voted “do pass” by the Senate Government Reform Committee early in the session on Jan. 22, SB 591 was negotiated during an all-night filibuster on a different piece of legislation and perfected by the Senate on March 2. Following the return of lawmakers to the State Capitol, the House of Representatives heard the bill in committee when the Legislature reconvened and voted to pass it in its chamber on May 12.

The new law goes into effect on August 28, 2020, and will apply to any cause of action filed after that date. “As an attorney, I am aware of how meritless punitive damages claims were being misused in our legal system,” explained Sen. White. “It has been a priority of mine for several years to set the record straight and reform our state’s civil justice system,” he added.

Senator Bill White, John Gentry from Positronics Industries, Rep. Sonya Anderson and Matt Morrow from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce watch Gov. Mike Parson sign SB 591 into law.

For more information about Sen. White, please visit senate.mo.gov/white.