Reform or reshuffle? Consequences of the 2005 Missouri Tort Reform Act.
Spawned in an era of rising health care costs and bitterly fought political campaigns, the fevered pitch of Missouri's tort reform debate continues, (1) even after Missouri's version of tort reform became law in 2005. (2) In a July 2012 decision applauded by the plaintiffs' bar, (3) the Missouri Supreme Court struck down Missouri's non-economic medical malpractice damages cap as contrary to Missouri constitutional rights; (4) some Missouri legislators now favor a constitutional amendment to overrule the court. (5) Although Governor Nixon vetoed a new 2012 "reform" bill that favored defendants in human rights actions, (6) Missouri's Chamber of Commerce continues to rank that proposal at the top of its 2013 legislative agenda. (7) The Chamber also plans to advance 2013 proposals to entirely eliminate joint and several liability for tort damages (8) and "reform asbestos and silica litigation practices" to "prevent unwarranted claims." (9) Meanwhile, the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys works to "protect access to [Missouri's civil justice] system by advocating against caps on damages, systems that block access to the courts for certain types of lawsuits, and immunity for corporations or public entities when they have harmed someone." (10)
Reviews of Missouri tort reform to date are decidedly mixed. Personal injury attorneys, generally viewed as Democrats, (11) paint themselves as defenders of the most horribly injured plaintiffs whose constitutional rights are violated by statutory restrictions on what a jury is permitted to award (12) and who are disproportionately punished by damages caps. (13) Republican elected officials and "think tanks" along with reputedly Republican business interests claim victory: 2005 tort reform legislation has significantly improved Missouri's business climate and lowered both the number of personal injury claims filed and the cost of professional malpractice insurance. (14)
But both sides of the debate may be long on rhetoric and short on data. 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. Part II of this Note discusses the history of tort reform efforts in general and particularly in Missouri. Part III analyzes key elements and impacts of Missouri's 2005 Tort Reform Act and notes related legislation and Missouri Supreme Court decisions subsequent to passage of that Act. Part IV summarizes the Act's impacts and draws other observations and conclusions from the analysis.
A. The Road to Tort Reform in Missouri
Missouri's United States Senator John C. Danforth fired a loud and locally-heard blast in the tort reform wars in May of 1988, when he "launched into a tirade on the senate floor against some lawyers who specialize in product-liability lawsuits." (15) Soon after, personal injury attorneys in Missouri and around the nation rallied around then-Attorney General Jeremiah "Jay" Nixon, Danforth's opponent in the 1988 Missouri senatorial race. (16) Nevertheless, Danforth was handily re-elected by the largest margin ever in a contested United States Senate election. (17) In 1989, Danforth and other Senators introduced a bill, supported by the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, to reform product liability law and "speed the awarding of compensation to the victims of product-related injuries and ... maintain [the] competitive position [of U.S. companies] in world markets." (18) But, viciously attacked by consumer advocate Ralph Nader as "congressional malpractice" (19) and filibustering Senators, that bill and its younger siblings failed to become federal law. (20) Continuing failure at the federal level shifted the primary tort reform battlefield to the states while federal reform proposals continued to percolate. (21)
Missouri's tort reform combatants allied along much the same lines as in the federal arena, with Chambers of Commerce, doctors, and Republicans touting the benefits of tort reform while plaintiffs' attorneys, consumer advocates, and Democrats warned of tort reform's evils. (22) Two versions of Missouri tort reform failed in 2003 and 2004, when Democratic Governor Bob Holden vetoed bills passed by both houses of the Republican-controlled legislature. (23)
Then along came what tort reform opponents would call a perfect storm: in November 2004, Governor Holden, with 45 percent of the vote, was defeated in the Democratic primary by State Auditor Claire McCaskill. (24) McCaskill, with 48 percent of the vote, was then defeated in the general election by Republican Secretary of State Matt Blunt. (25) That defeat, coupled with continuing Republican retention of majorities in both legislative houses, gave Republicans control of both the legislature and the Governor's mansion for the first time in eight decades, (26) provoking turmoil in political fundraising circles. (27) And that historic convergence of Republican influence led the way, finally, to passage of Missouri's "Tort Reform Act" on March 16, 2005. (28)
Governor Blunt signed the Act two weeks later in a "leapfrog" across the state. (29) Attorneys seeking a plaintiff-friendly venue rushed to file tort claims in the City of St. Louis in time to beat the Act's effective date of August 28, 2005 and the end of venue-shopping as they knew it: 3,280 suits were filed in St. Louis City in August 2005, compared to the typical average of 400 per month.(30)
B. The Meaning of Tort Reform in Missouri
What is tort reform in Missouri?
As in other states, Missouri's tort reform initiative was intended to make Missouri more attractive to businesses of all types by reducing the likelihood of tort lawsuits, reducing the damages plaintiffs could collect for lawsuits that were nevertheless filed, and reducing the cost of liability insurance.
In 2005, the Missouri legislature meandered through a number of permutations of a law to address these goals, settling on a Senate version of House Bill 393, (31) now codified in various sections of the Revised Missouri Statutes.
The new law dipped into a number of areas directly as well as tangentially related to the tort reform debate.
1. The 2005 Act--Original Provisions
VENUE: The 2005 Tort Reform Act extracted tort claims from the state's existing venue statutes and created special venue rules for torts. (32)
In the most dramatic of these rule changes, the Act bluntly requires that "... in all actions in which there is any count alleging a tort and in which the plaintiff was first injured in the state of Missouri, venue shall be in the county where the plaintiff was first injured by the wrongful acts or negligent conduct alleged ..." (33) If the plaintiff is first injured outside the state, venue is in any county where a corporate defendant's registered agent is located or, if a Missouri individual defendant, that defendant's principal place of residence (34) or the plaintiff's place of residence on the date the plaintiff was first injured. (35) When a county is a plaintiff, venue can either be in that county if one or more defendants can be found in that county or where a defendant resides. (36)
If motions are made to dismiss or transfer based on claims of improper venue, such motions are deemed granted if not denied within ninety days of filing unless all parties waive that time period. (37) Venue established in the new Act can only be changed if all the parties unanimously agree. (38)
The Act also provides that the court must, on application of any party, transfer the case to a "proper forum" if, before trial commences, a party is added or removed and that change would have altered the venue determination under section 508.010. (39)
DAMAGES CAPS: Damages caps are also a keystone of the Act: the Act caps punitive damages at the greater of $500,000 or five times the "net amount of the judgment awarded to the plaintiff against the defendant (40) But the caps do not apply if the plaintiff is the State of Missouri or if the defendant pleads guilty to or is convicted of a felony "arising out of the acts or omissions pied by the plaintiff." (41) And the caps do not apply to certain civil actions alleging discrimination where Missouri statutes authorize damages awards. (42) Non-economic medical malpractice damages are further limited, as discussed in detail below. (43)
JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY: The new Act also modifies Missouri's tort-related joint and several liability stipulations. (44) Prior to the new Act, the parties were jointly and severally liable for the total judgment amount. However, if the trier of fact allocated a portion of fault to a judgment-proof plaintiff and any party moved for reallocation of uncollectible amounts, the statute instructed the court to reallocate the uncollectible amount among the remaining solvent parties with the insolvent party retaining continuing liability for damages and contribution. (45) However, no such reallocation could increase the liability of any party whose liability was less than the plaintiff's by more than a factor of two. (46)
Post-reform, joint and several liability for non-punitive damages applies only to those defendants found to bear fault of 51 percent or more: if a defendant bears less than 51 percent of the fault, that defendant is only responsible for its proportionate damages as determined by the trier of fact, unless that defendant is liable for another defendant's fault because the other defendant was acting as its employee or the defendant's liability for the fault of another arises from a duty created by the Federal Employers' Liability Act. (47) Further, defendants are only "severally liable for the percentage of punitive damages for which fault is attributed to such defendant by the trier of fact"--this seems to imply that defendants are no longer truly jointly and severally liable for punitive damages at all. (48) Finally, this section of the statute now explicitly prohibits disclosure of its provisions to triers of fact. (49)
WRONGFUL DEATH: The new Act modifies section 537.090 relating to wrongful death actions authorized by section 537.080 by adding two rebuttable presumptions relating to future income of the deceased. First, if the deceased was not employed full time but was responsible for the care of one or more minors, disabled persons or persons more than sixty-five years of age, the value of the care provided by the deceased is rebuttably presumed to be based on 1 l0 percent of the state's average weekly wage, regardless of the number of such persons cared for. (50) Second, if the deceased is under the age of eighteen, the value of the deceased person's future earnings is rebuttably calculated based on the average of the deceased's two income-earning parents or, if only one parent is earning income, that parent's income. (51)
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: The new Act also expands previous malpractice action "reforms." (52) Missouri medical malpractice law now expressly prohibits the use of expressions of sympathy and "benevolent gestures" to patients or their families (but not statements admitting fault) as evidence in civil actions. (53)
The new reforms also make it more difficult to initiate medical malpractice claims. Previous Missouri medical malpractice law required a plaintiff to file an affidavit stating that the plaintiff has an opinion from a "legally qualified health care provider" that the defendant failed to use such care as a reasonably prudent and careful health care provider would have under similar circumstances and that such failure directly caused or directly contributed to cause the damages claimed. (54) The Reform Act imposes stricter qualifications on the "experts" who can provide such opinions, requires the plaintiff to name the expert in the affidavit, and limits the time allowed for providing the affidavit to ninety days plus one ninety-day extension. (55) The Act also establishes procedures for defendants to require the court to examine the actual opinion in camera and, if the court determines that the opinion does not meet the standards set forth in the Act, (56) the court must conduct a hearing to determine if there is probable cause to believe that a qualified provider will testify that the plaintiff was injured due to a defendant's medical negligence. (57) If the court finds no such probable cause, the court is required to dismiss the petition and hold the plaintiff liable for the defendant's reasonable attorney fees and costs. (58) Presumably this provision causes plaintiffs and their attorneys to think hard before filing medical malpractice suits at all.
The Tort Reform Act also prohibits discovery as to a defendant's assets until the trial court determines it is more likely than not that the plaintiff will be able to "present a submissible [punitive damages] case to the trier of fact." (59)
Pre-tort reform, a medical malpractice plaintiff could recover up to $350,000 in non-economic damages from each defendant. (60) The new Act limits total non-economic damages, exclusive of punitive damages, to not more than $350,000, regardless of the number of defendants in the lawsuit, and subsumes exemplary damages and damages for aggravating circumstances in the definition of punitive damages. (61)
Further, the Act limits a court's ability to flexibly structure future medical damages installments at the request of any party: unless the parties agree otherwise, the number of installments is now based solely on life expectancy evidence presented at trial by the plaintiff and United States Treasury bill rates for the auction immediately preceding the judgment. (62) Because Treasury bill rates are typically lower than returns that can be achieved with other investments, (63) the new valuation system benefits defendants, and, because some plaintiffs may live longer than their actuarially determined life expectancy, some may spend the last years of their lives with no payments for medical services at all. (64) The bill is silent on whether heirs receive continuing periodic payments if an injured party dies before that party's expectancy-determined life span ends. (65)
The reform bill appears to completely eliminate joint and several liability for medical malpractice--no individual or entity is liable to a plaintiff for the actions or omissions of any other entity or person--and eliminates inflation increases in the damages caps. (66)
The Act also exempts physicians providing treatment at city, county, or non-profit health centers from liability for civil acts or omissions damages, with three exceptions: the exemption does not apply if (1) the damages arose from gross negligence or willful or wanton acts or omissions; (2) the physician maintained liability insurance other than coverage under the state legal expense fund; or (3) the damages involve abortion. (67) To qualify for the exemption, treatment must be certified in advance as rendered completely free of charge--the physician may not seek or receive compensation from any other party or insurer. (68)
The 2005 malpractice reforms significantly limit venue in medical malpractice actions: for purposes of determining venue under reenacted section 508.010, (69) the plaintiff "shall be considered injured by the health care provider only in the county where the plaintiff first received treatment by a defendant for a medical condition at issue in the case." (70)
In addition, the legislation creates a "rebuttable presumption that the dollar amount necessary to satisfy the financial obligation to the health care provider represents the value of the medical treatment rendered" (71) and allows the court to determine, based on collateral evidence and outside the jury's hearing, the value of the medical treatment. (72)
The reforms also address a number of more narrowly applicable aspects of Missouri's medical malpractice laws. First, malpractice reforms now explicitly protect any long-term care facility licensed under RSMo. Chapter 198--Convalescent, Nursing and Boarding Homes. (73) Second, the new revisions redefine medical test information-related negligence to exclude situations where the patient is duly informed but the tests were negligently performed or the results were erroneous. (74) Third, for cases involving minors, the new revisions reduce the maximum time period for filing an action to the later of ten years from the date of the allegedly negligent act or two years from the date of the minor's eighteenth birthday--before the reform, the statute permitted such actions to be filed within ten years from the date of the minor's twentieth birthday. (75)
The Act also expands the definition of medical peer review committee to specifically include health care professionals employed by universities and university-affiliated health care entities and those appointed by authorized representatives of "long-term care facilities," expands privileges applicable to the materials produced by such committees, and explicitly states that proper or improper disclosure to any person or entity does not waive privileges. (76)
OTHER CHANGES: First, the 2005 Tort Reform Act makes service of process easier for everyone. (77)
Second, the Act sets the rate at which interest accrues on unpaid tort awards at 5 percent more than the Federal funds rate, (78) fixed in the judgment document and unchanged thereafter. (79) Non-tort judgments continue to accrue interest at a flat 9 percent. (80)
Today, the Federal funds rate hovers neat" zero percent--plaintiffs who receive awards involving multi-year payouts during this historically low interest period will be disadvantaged if interest rates and inflation rise during the payout term. (81) Prejudgment interest from initial demand or settlement offer is permitted, but only if such an offer is made in accordance with the fairly stringent requirements of the Act (82) and a cause of action is filed within 120 days of the offer. (83) Prejudgment interest is limited to 3 percent more than the Federal funds rate, again fixed by the court in the judgment. (84)
Third, the Act provides that it supersedes the Missouri Rules of Civil Procedure where the two conflict. (85)
Fourth, unless a plaintiff proves a defendant is hiding or sequestering assets to avoid payment of the judgment, the Act caps appeal bond or other surety device amounts at $50 million and allows the court to reduce the ordinarily required amount of a bond under circumstances specified in the Act. (86)
Finally, the Act combines plaintiffs to further limit some non-economic damages payments: spouses are construed as one plaintiff for purposes of loss of consortium damages, as are all entities asserting wrongful death claims. (87)
2. Interpretations and Modifications of the 2005 Act
APPLICABILITY: Per its terms, the Act applies to all causes of action filed after August 28, 2005. (88) In 2010, the Missouri Supreme Court further limited the Act's application, holding that the new non-economic damages cap established by House Bill 393 may not be applied to causes of action that accrued before the Act's 2005 effective date because "the Missouri constitution prohibits laws that are retrospective in operation." (89)
VENUE: In September 2007, the Missouri Supreme Court addressed how the other venue-related provisions of the Reform Act interact with court rules. The state supreme court determined that Court Rule 51.03, permitting an automatic change of venue when the prescribed venue is a county with a population of less than 75,000, (90) did not conflict with or contradict the Act's new requirement that venue is where a Missouri-based plaintiff was first injured by the wrongful acts or negligent conduct alleged. (91) In other words, venue can be automatically changed based on the state supreme court's "less than 75,000 population" rule, even though the new Act might be construed to prohibit that reassignment. (92) The court observed that the Missouri legislature knew full well how to explicitly prohibit a change of venue when it desired such a prohibition and had not done so in the 2005 Act. (93)
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DAMAGES CAP: As noted above, Missouri's highest court ruled in July 2012 that the Act's cap on non-economic medical malpractice damages offends Missouri's constitution and struck down that portion of the law. (94) Assessments of the potential impact of this recent decision are mixed. (95)
Further, although a 2012 review of the constitutionality of the Act's venue provisions seemed likely, that opportunity was thwarted by a settlement prior to oral argument. (96) Those provisions will almost certainly be tested in a future Missouri Supreme Court case.
On August 28, 2010, Missouri celebrated (depending on one's perspective) the fifth anniversary of the effective date of the 2005 Tort Reform Act. (97) Thus, five years of post-reform data are available to study the Act's impacts. Those records establish that tort reform has significantly reduced the number of tort actions filed in Missouri and distributed the remaining actions more uniformly throughout the state. (98) Unfortunately, the database is not sufficiently complete to permit a constructive analysis of judgments for and against plaintiffs and the amounts of judgments and settlements pre- and post-reform. (99)
BACKGROUND: Missouri has a total of 115 counties and forty-five judicial circuits. (100) Since Missouri's six million people are not evenly distributed throughout its counties, (101) thirty-five of the forty-five judicial circuits encompass more than one county: (102) fifteen circuits include two counties each, ten include three counties, five include four counties and five include five counties. (103) The map below shows relative populations of the various counties and groupings into judicial circuits. (104)
DATA ACCESS: Statewide records on all Missouri court filings are maintained by the Office of the [Missouri] State Court Administrator ("OSCA"); (105) release of that data is governed by rules promulgated by the Missouri Supreme Court. (106) Those rules provide that bulk distribution of records shall be made only upon approval of the Missouri State Judicial Records Committee ("SJRC") and only for non-commercial purposes.(107) The Committee's membership is comprised of twelve state judges from circuits throughout the state. (108) The Committee made the data used in this analysis available to the author of this Note. (109)
DATA UTILITY: The database's utility for analyzing the 2005 Tort Reform Act's effectiveness in terms of number and distribution of tort cases throughout the state is excellent. (110) But, because dispositions and judgments are not consistently recorded, the database is not useful for analyzing the impact of tort reform on the amounts and frequencies of plaintiff and defendant successes. (111)
Due to these data limitations, the following analysis focuses on evaluating the number of tort filings and the distribution of those filings throughout Missouri's forty-five judicial circuits before and after comprehensive tort reform in 2005.
METHODOLOGY: As noted above, a number of attorneys rushed to file tort actions in circuits perceived as favorable to plaintiffs in the days immediately preceding the August 2005 effective date of the new Reform Act: in the City of St. Louis, that rush produced a 720 percent increase in pre-effective date filings. (112) In addition to skewing the filing data for the year immediately prior to the Act's effective date, this phenomenon also presumably produced an anomalously lower number of filings in the year immediately after the Act's effective date. To account for this "transition period," the analysis presented in this Note excludes the one-year periods immediately before and immediately after August 28, 2005, but includes the four years immediately preceding and the four years immediately following that "transition period" as illustrated below.
TORT REFORM IMPACTS: The 2005 Act significantly reduced the overall numbers of tort filings in Missouri courts: the annual number of such filings in the "baseline" period averaged 17,698 per year, while annual filings in the "post-reform" period averaged 14,865--a significant decline of 16 percent. (113)
The Act's impact on distribution of tort filings throughout Missouri is even more dramatic. When analyzed by county and circuit of filing, comparison between the above "baseline" and "post-tort reform" periods reveals a dramatic shift in filing venue, illustrated below. (114)
The number of tort filings in the more populous circuits can be expected to exceed such numbers in less populous circuits, simply because more potential litigants and more litigation-spawning activity are located in those populous circuits. Pre-reform, however, the number of filings in the most populous circuits was extraordinarily disproportionate to the populations and numbers of jobs and businesses in those circuits. Post-reform, disproportionality remains but is far less egregious than in the baseline period. (115)
Pre-reform, the top five circuits accounted for 43.9 percent of Missouri's six million people, (116) 56.4 percent of Missouri's 2.6 million jobs (117) and 47.4 percent of Missouri's 160,000 businesses. (118) But a lopsided 77.5 percent of Missouri tort cases were filed in those circuits--a discrepancy ranging from 20 percent in terms of businesses to nearly 35 percent in terms of population. (119) Post-reform, the percentage of Missouri tort filings in those top circuits dropped to 66.8 percent--a nearly 11 percent overall reduction. (120)
As the graph below illustrates, the reduction was particularly significant in the 22nd Circuit--the City of St. Louis. Pre-reform, that circuit's 3,800 average annual tort filings accounted for 21.5 percent of the total in the state. (121) Post-reform, average annual filings dropped by more than 50 percent, to slightly more than 1,800 per year, or 12.3 percent of the total post-reform state filings. (122) A less dramatic but significant reduction, from 18.3 percent of the state's total to 15.3 percent of the state's total, also took place in Jackson County, where a significant portion of the land area is occupied by a portion of the City of Kansas City. (123)
In the other three largest circuits, the overall number of tort filings decreased in keeping with the statewide reduction in total filings, but the percentage of total state filings increased slightly as filings migrated from the urban to the suburban portions of Missouri's metropolitan areas. (124)
As reflected in the pre-reform distribution of tort filings, (125) many tort plaintiffs and their attorneys believe, regardless of whether that belief is fact or fiction, that chances of a hefty plaintiff's verdict are far better in front of a so-called inner-city jury. (126) Post-reform venue limitations make it far more difficult for Missouri plaintiffs to access those juries if their injuries do not occur in the "inner cities," so filing venues have shifted to other jurisdictions, suburban and rural, throughout the state. (127) As the chart below illustrates, the data also demonstrate that in many of the smaller circuits, post-reform filings have increased both as a percentage of total Missouri filings and in raw numbers: of the reduced number of total Missouri tort cases, many have been "displaced" from the larger inner-city circuits and migrated to smaller rural districts. (128)
In addition to labeling cases broadly as torts, the database also "sub-classifies" filings more narrowly within the overall tort classification, as medical malpractice, property damage, civil rights, etc. (129) But the manner in which tort filings are "sub-classified" may vary from circuit to circuit depending on the quality of case file scrutiny performed by court staff. Data may also reflect new sub-classifications added during the time periods examined. Thus, sub-classification comparisons may not provide a completely accurate reflection of the amount of actual change within narrower sub-classes. For example, a grand total of one "bulk tort damages" case was filed in the baseline period, while a total of 5,257 such cases were filed in the post-reform period. (130) That change is clearly anomalous, indicating that something other than tort reform has influenced distribution within sub-classes. But, in relatively clear-cut sub-classifications, the data seem to be instructive.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE: As described in Part II, the 2005 Tort Reform Act severely limited damages available in malpractice actions and made such actions more difficult to pursue. Presumably as a result of these changes, malpractice filings dropped 30 percent throughout the state. (131) In St. Louis City, where medical facilities provided more than 16 percent of the jurisdiction's 222,000 jobs in 2010, (132) the number of malpractice filings dropped by 65 percent. (133) At the same time, Greene County, generally considered a rural area even though home to the major city of Springfield, experienced a 30 percent increase in malpractice filings--medical facilities account for nearly 16 percent of that county's 149,000 jobs. (134)
Many other rural circuits experienced even more significant increases in medical malpractice filings, presumably reflecting stringent post-reform medical malpractice venue constraints. (135)
WRONGFUL DEATH: Overall, wrongful death filings decreased by 23 percent. (136) While some overlap between malpractice and wrongful death filings is likely, the most significant decreases among large counties seem to have occurred in Jackson County (62 percent) and Greene County (55 percent). (137) Again, many rural low-population circuits experienced significant increases in wrongful death actions that likely reflect stringent post-reform venue constraints. (138)
OTHER PERSONAL INJURY TORTS: The remaining OSCA personal injury categories--product liability, vehicular, and other--are analyzed as a group. Overall, tort filings in these categories decreased by 11 percent. (139) City of St. Louis filings decreased by 49 percent, while filings in other counties in the metropolitan area increased: St. Louis County by nearly 14 percent and St. Charles County by 8.5 percent. (140) Pre-reform, St. Louis City recorded the largest number of "other personal injury" tort filings in Missouri; post-reform, St. Louis County now holds that dubious rank. (141) As with the sub-classifications discussed above, these "other personal injury" torts increased significantly in a majority of the rural circuits. (142)
PROPERTY DAMAGE: Property damage tort claims decreased by 9 percent overall, and, in four of the five circuits with the largest numbers of pre-reform property damage claims, in significant percentages, ranging from 42 percent in the City of St. Louis to 61 percent in the 13th Circuit--that circuit includes the Jefferson City-Columbia area counties of Boone and Callaway. (143)
In St. Louis County, property damage tort claims increased by nearly 500 percent. (144) Interestingly, in raw numbers, the increase in St. Louis County claims (1,467 over the four-year post-reform data period) is roughly equal to St. Louis City's decrease (1,363). (145) Presumably this shift again reflects the Act's more stringent limitations on venue choice.
In rural circuits, the pattern of migration for property damage torts is less pronounced than for other types of torts, perhaps reflecting the relatively low numbers of such claims both before and after re form. (146)
The number of tort filings in the property damage classification statewide decreased by 9 percent, compared to the 16 percent reduction in statewide tort filings overall. (147) It is possible that the typical property damage claim involves a smaller amount of money than a claim involving human life and the Reform Act's damages caps may have consequently had less impact on such lower value torts. (148) But it is also possible that changes in circuit staff sub-classification methodology may account for the apparent discrepancy. (149)
OTHER TORTS: It is likely that methodology changes also account for much of the apparent change in the catch-all "other tort" sub-classification. Based strictly on the data, filings sub-classified as "other torts" appear to have decreased by a staggering 53 percent. (150) However, as noted earlier, filings classified as "bulk tort damages" increased dramatically in the post-reform period from only one claim in the four pre-reform data years to 5,257 post-reform. (151) The vast majority of the changes in the "other torts" and "bulk tort" categories took place in St. Louis County: "other torts" decreased by more than 10,000 filings, while "bulk torts" increased by 5,218. (152) If those "bulk torts" are added back to the "other torts" sub-classification, the overall post-reform reduction in "other torts" is a more plausible 27 percent. (153)
Finally, although the raw numbers of filings involved are relatively small, two categories--asbestos torts and torts relating to violations of federal employment and state public accommodations laws--did not experience post-reform filing decreases. (154)
ASBESTOS: Asbestos claims held relatively constant at approximately one hundred filings per year across the state both pre- and post-reform, although filing distribution changed: numbers of claims increased in the smaller circuits. (155)
PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND EMPLOYMENT: More interesting is the fact that public accommodations and employment-related torts increased overall by 17 percent. (156) Pre-tort reform, only ten of the forty-five circuits experienced any such filings at all, and the four-year total of 1,724 pre-reform claims were concentrated primarily in St. Louis City and Jackson County/Kansas City. (157) Post-reform, forty-two of the forty-five circuits experienced one or more such claims. (158) Although it is difficult to say definitively without more detail on particular cases, it is likely that the Reform Act's exemption of housing-related discrimination claims from damages caps (159) contributed to the increase and that new venue constraints applicable to all torts impacted the distribution of these claims more broadly throughout the state.
But, as noted above, tort reform advocates have now set their sights on reforming Missouri's public accommodations and employment laws to more closely mirror federal law.
OTHER RELATED IMPACTS: The unintended consequences of 2005 changes to Missouri's workers compensation laws may, to some extent, have offset the Act's impact in reducing tort claims: the workers compensation law changes make it possible, at least until legislators and/or courts address those consequences, for injured workers to file civil tort actions where remedies were previously limited by older versions of workers compensation statutes. (160) Reductions in numbers of personal injury torts might be even greater than shown by the data if filings for injuries that would otherwise have been confined to workers compensation claims are excluded.
It is clear from analysis of available data that Missouri's 2005 Tort Reform Act has dramatically reduced the overall number of tort filings across the state. (161) Observers can also infer from the data that both damages caps and venue changes have played a role in that reduction: in actions relating to housing discrimination pursuant to section 213.111 R.S. Mo., (162) exempt from the 2005 damages caps, filings have increased, bucking the trend. (163)
It is also clear that tort reform has dramatically redistributed the remaining tort actions nevertheless filed. (164) Before 2005, most tort filings were concentrated in the state's urban areas, particularly in "inner cities" where plaintiffs and their attorneys believed juries were more sympathetic. The dramatic post-reform filing reductions in those urban areas demonstrate that reform has drastically altered the ability of plaintiffs to bring suit in jurisdictions perceived as plaintiff-friendly, eliminating some tort actions altogether and forcing those that remain into venues (often rural) that previously experienced little such activity. (165)
Whether such redistribution is positive or negative depends on the observer's perspective. Those who favor unfettered access to tort justice view such reduction and redistribution as an unwarranted restriction on plaintiffs' rights, while defendants who felt beleaguered by frivolous pre-reform lawsuits view the reduction and redistribution as a plus. Jurisdictions previously burdened with lawsuits bearing little relationship to activities within their court systems welcome the redistribution: it eases overloaded dockets and allows those overburdened systems to focus on other problems, like crime, that more immediately concern their citizens. Tort reform has also presumably made inner city jurisdictions less susceptible to discrimination by corporations who fear the wrath of plaintiff-friendly juries in slip-and-fall cases. But some legislators fear that the recent Watts" decision striking down medical malpractice damages caps (166) on top of 2005 venue restrictions that force medical malpractice torts back into rural areas will actually hurt Missouri's rural population by making it even harder for such areas to attract and retain doctors. (167)
The dramatic reduction in the number of tort cases has also likely impacted the business of litigation and contributed to the legal industry's "recession." (168)
With the Act's damages caps, tort reform advocates also intended to reduce monetary impacts on unsuccessful tort defendants, particularly corporate defendants. But reform's impacts on this aspect of the agenda are far harder to measure.
As noted earlier, the state database does not include complete or reliable data on tort litigation outcomes--and for very good reasons. Many judicial staffs at the circuit level are overburdened, and even those who are not do not always classify cases consistently. Determining the amount of a judgment or settlement often requires close reading of the actual court documents (169)--a task that often exceeds the research and data entry capacity of overburdened staffs.
Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the go-to "trade publication" for Missouri attorneys, (170) tracks outcomes in far more detail and includes verdicts and amounts for both jury and bench trials as well as some settlement results. But that database is relatively new, with its first records originating in 2005. (171) And, presumably because the publication focuses on particularly newsworthy outcomes and those that attorneys "self-report," the database includes only a small fraction of total tort cases: from 2005 through the end of 2011, the database catalogued roughly 1,500 results for all varieties of tort and non-tort actions, less than 3 percent of the filings in the post-reform data period analyzed above. (172) The lack of readily available prevailing party and monetary award data makes it impossible to reliably measure the impact of tort reform on monetary damages impacts. Lack of coordination between appeals tribunal databases and trial court databases also makes it difficult to determine whether trial court outcomes were reversed on appeal.
This state of affairs presents the opportunity for improving the consolidation, accuracy, and utility of data in Missouri's judicial records system. The state court administrator's office has already taken major steps towards improving data quality and availability, including outcome data, with its statewide electronic filing initiative, now operative for all Missouri appeals tribunals and St. Charles and Callaway Counties and expected to be operative in 2013 for an additional twenty-four of Missouri's 115 counties. (173) As the system expands to include all Missouri circuits, all future case filings, including disposition records, will be available online, even if those documents are not translated into fields in the database. To the extent that old records can be scanned and linked to the database, it will also be possible for interns working with the court system to translate these documents into the appropriate data fields without physically examining each of the more than 120,000 case files necessary to effectively analyze the monetary effectiveness of 2005 tort reform.
As noted in the description of the pilot electronic filing system, appropriations for Missouri's court system have experienced and continue to experience cuts, making allocations of resources for data enhancement difficult. (174) Members of the legal community and members of the legislature concerned about the impact of torts on both justice and Missouri's business environment may wish to examine ways to make greater investments in the quality of historical pre- and post-reform tort data before proceeding with efforts to further change Missouri's tort system with either additional reform or reversion.
In summary, this Note clearly demonstrates that tort reform has been effective: available data clearly show that restraints on venue-shopping and presumably damages limits have substantially reduced the number of tort actions filed in Missouri courts and that the remaining tort actions have been distributed more equitably throughout the state. It is likely that both reduction in the number of tort cases filed and filing redistribution have in fact improved Missouri's business and medical services climate.
And it is likely that the Reform Act's curtailment on medical malpractice claims, demonstrated by the 30 percent reduction in malpractice filings, has reduced malpractice premiums as proponents claim and improved the ability of our universities and medical centers to attract the best doctors and researchers. (175) But the impact of the recent Watts decision (176) has yet to be felt. Whether the reduction in claims has reduced the overall cost of health care is a question best left to those engaged in the national health insurance debate.
Other important questions of fairness--whether Missouri's tort reform has really penalized the most severely injured plaintiffs and dampened others' appetites to pursue legitimate personal injury claims--remain unanswered.
Although proponents of tort reform can claim victory in measurable areas, it is not yet possible to examine the cost of that victory to plaintiffs and the rewards of that victory to businesses and others who are willing or unwilling participants in the tort wars. Claims that tort reform has in fact drastically reduced settlement costs do not appear to be supported by available facts, (177) although such claims may very well be true.
This Note is but a snapshot of tort reform in Missouri: the Missouri legislature and Missouri courts will inevitably continue to reshape Missouri tort law. As noted in the Introduction, the Act's venue limitations have yet to be tested in Missouri courts, (178) and new reform proposals populated the 2013 legislative menu. (179) Reform-related court rulings will undoubtedly continue to clarify the effects of Missouri's tort reform efforts. Those rulings will undoubtedly attract spirited defenses and hostility and, together with the lobbying efforts of business interests and social justice organizations, breed more legislative initiatives. The composition of the Missouri Supreme Court will have great impact on where constitutional lines are ultimately drawn; the political composition of the Missouri legislature and the political party of Missouri's governor will greatly impact whether and what types of legislative initiatives fail or succeed.
Given the lack of data on the pre- and post-reform dollar volumes of awards and settlements, both proponents and opponents of tort reform should concentrate on gathering and analyzing more data before making sweeping pronouncements on the need for more reform, lamenting reform excesses in current law, definitively declaring total victory or defeat, or--at worst--making new changes to Missouri's tort laws without full knowledge of the impacts of the 2005 Act.
FIGURE 1. MAP OF MISSOURI COUNTIES AND JUDICIAL CIRCUITS COUNTY DISTRIBUTION WITHIN CIRCUITS # # TOTAL COUNTIES CIRCUITS COUNTIES 1 10 10 2 15 30 3 10 30 4 5 20 5 5 25 TOTALS: 45 115 TABLE 1. ALL TORT CASES FILED-PRE- AND POST-REFORM BY CIRCUIT TOTAL ALL TORT CASES FILED (BY CIRCUIT) 2010 2005 COUNTIES IN POPU- 2005 BUSI- CIRCUIT CIRCUIT LATION JOBS NESSES 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler 16,413 3,353 452 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 39,949 14,695 1,180 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, 27,982 9,377 871 Mercer 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, 42,876 14,371 1,349 Nodaway, Worth 5th Andrew, Buchanan 106,492 46,561 2,942 6th Platte 89,322 36,088 2,200 7th Clay 221,939 86,652 4,970 8th Carroll, Ray 32,789 6,897 761 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 27,306 8,802 927 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 47,788 18,742 1,444 11th St. Charles 360,485 117,022 7,566 12th Audrain, Warren, 70,278 19,890 1,676 Montgomery 13th Boone, Callaway 206,974 94,623 5,189 14th Howard, Randolph 35,558 12,621 956 15th Lafayette, Saline 56,751 18,490 1,506 16th Jackson 674,158 363,766 18,619 17th Cass Johnson 152,073 37,598 3,045 18th Cooper, Pettis 59,802 24,800 1,624 19th Cole 75,990 53,398 2,404 20th Franklin, Gasconade, 130,592 45,710 3,535 Osage 21st St. Louis 998,954 618,555 33,658 22nd St. Louis City 319,294 222,519 8,067 23rd Jefferson 218,733 44,851 3,969 24th St. Francois, Ste. 120,925 34,894 2,804 Genevieve, Madison, Washington 25th Naries, Phelps, Pulaski, 132,614 37,934 2,783 Texas 26th Camden, Laclede, Miller, 140,493 47,338 4,187 Moniteau, Morgan 27th Bates. Henry, St. Clair 49,126 13,510 1,393 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, 55,426 17,444 1,616 Vernon 29th Jasper 117,404 56,694 3,472 30th Bentoon, Dallas, 112,799 22,385 2,205 Hickory, Polk, Webster 31st Greene 275,174 149,170 7,985 32nd Bollinger, Cape 107,008 51,130 3,207 Girardeau, Perry 33rd Mississippi, Scott 53,549 18,588 1,654 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 37,252 13,274 991 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 61,921 21,142 1,305 36th Butler, Ripley 56,894 22,931 1,632 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, 65,987 21,207 1,861 Shannon 38th Christian, Taney 129,097 39,23 3,296 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 106,433 30,537 2,558 40th McDonald, Newton 81,197 24,960 1,557 41st Macon, Shelby 21,939 6,879 673 42nd Crawfofd, Dent, Iron, 71,200 17,677 2,195 Reynolds, Wayne 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, 66,687 17,383 1,690 Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 42,222 8,325 882 45th Lincoln, Pike 71,082 16,542 1,404 TOTALS: 5,988,927 2,608,548 160,260 TORT TORT CASES CASES CHANGE CHANGE FILED FILED POST- IN IN 8/28/00 8/28/06 AS % CASES/ CASES/ THROUGH THROUGH # OF PRE- 1,000 1,000 CIRCUIT 8/27/04 8/27/10 CHANGE REFORM PERSONS JOBS 1st 76 38 (38) 50.0% (2.32) (11.33) 2nd 31 172 141 554.8% 3.53 9.60 3rd 116 109 (7) 94.0% (0.25) (0.75) 4th 5 162 157 3240.0% 3.66 10.92 5th 1,006 815 (191) 81.0% (1.79) (4.10) 6th 541 619 78 114.4% 0.87 2.16 7th 581 1,748 1,167 300.9% 5.26 13.47 8th 129 148 19 11470.0% 0.58 2.75 9th 89 104 15 116.9% 0.55 1.70 10th 38 289 251 760.5% 5.25 13.39 11th 2,067 1,903 (164) 92.1% (0.45) (1.40) 12th 240 285 45 118.8% 0.64 2.26 13th 1,512 1,223 (289) 80.9% (1.40) (3.05) 14th 184 203 19 110.3% 0.53 1.51 15th 265 270 5 101 9% 0.09 0 27 16th 12,986 9,126 (3,860) 70.3% (5.73) (10.61) 17th 172 766 594 445.3% 3.91 15.80 18th 419 385 (34) 91.9% (0.57) (1.37) 19th 674 498 (176) 73.9% (2.32) (3.30) 20th 662 628 (34) 94 9% (0.26 (0.74) 21st 20,895 18,193 (2,702) 87.1% (2.70) (4.37) 22nd 15,194 7,339 (7,855) 48.3% (24.60) (35.30) 23rd 1,987 1,390 (597) 70.0% (2.73) (13.31) 24th 748 597 (151} 79.8% (1.25) (4.33) 25th 495 580 85 117.2% 0.64 2.24 26th 194 921 727 474.7% 5.17 15.36 27th 138 320 182 231.9% 3.70 13.47 28th 283 250 (33) 88.3% (0.60) (1.89) 29th 1,128 1,031 (97) 91.4% (0.83) (1.71) 30th 513 610 97 118.9% 0.86 4.33 31st 3,697 3,173 (524) 85.8% (1.90) (3.51) 32nd 618 574 (44) 92.9% (0.41) (0.86) 33rd 300 354 54 118.0% 1.01 2.91 34th 270 258 (12) 95.6% (0.32) (0.90) 35th 353 384 31 108.8% 0.50 1.47 36th 34 442 408 1300.0% 7.17 17.79 37th 460 460 0 100.0% O.OO 0.00 38th 604 826 222 136.8% 1.72 5.66 39th 146 627 481 429.5% 4.52 15.75 40th 148 411 263 277.7% 3.24 10.54 41st 46 72 26 156.5% 1.19 3.78 42nd 364 341 (23) 93.7% (0.32) (1.30) 43rd 46 309 263 671.7% 3.94 15.13 44th 24 190 166 791.7% 3.93 19.94 45th 315 318 3 101.0% 0.04 0.18 TOTALS: 70,793 59,461 (11,332) 84.0% (1.89) (4.34) TABLE 2. TOP FIVE CIRCUITS: TORT CASES FILED-PRE- AND POST- REFORM COMPARED WITH OTHER CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS TORT CASES PRE- AND POST-REFORM WITH OTHER CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS TOP FIVE (5) CIRCUITS POPULATIONS POPULATION COUNTIES IN 2010 % OF CIRCUIT CIRCUIT POPULATION MO. 21st St. Louis 998,954 16.7% 16th Jackson 674,158 11 3% 11th St. Charles 360,485 6 0% 22nd St. Louis City 319,294 5.3% 31st Greene 275,174 4.6% TOTAL MISSOURI: 5,988,927 CASES PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS 21st 20,895 29.5% 12.8% 16th 12,986 18.3% 7.1% 11th 2,067 2.9% -3.1% 22nd 15,194 21.5% 16.1% 31st 3,697 5.2% 0.6% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 CASES POST-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CHANGE IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS DISCREPANCY 21st 18,193 30.6% 13.9% 1.1% 16th 9,126 15.3% 4.1% -3.0% 11th 1,903 3.2% -2.8% 0.3% 22nd 7,339 12.3% 7.0% -9.1% 31st 3.173 5.3% 0.7% 0.1% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 JOBS JOBS COUNTIES IN 2005 % OF CIRCUIT CIRCUIT JOBS MO. 21st St. Louis 618,555 10.3% 16th Jackson 363,766 6.1% 22nd St. Louis City 222,519 3.7% 31st Greene 149.170 2.5% 11th St. Charles 117,022 2.0% TOTAL MISSOURI: 2,608,548 CASES PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS 21st 20,895 29.5% 19.2% 16th 12,986 18.3% 12.3% 22nd 15,194 21.5% 17.7% 31st 3,697 5.2% 2.7% 11th 2,067 2.9% 1.0% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 CASES POST-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CHANGE IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS DISCREPANCY 21st 18,193 30.6% 20.3% 1.1% 16th 9,126 15.3% 9.3% -3.0% 22nd 7,339 12.3% 8.6% -9.1% 31st 3,173 5.3% 2.8% 0.1% 11th 1,903 3.2% 1.2% 0.3% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 BUSINESSES BUSINESSES COUNTIES IN 2005 % OF CIRCUIT CIRCUIT BUSINESSES MO. 21st St. Louis 33,658 0.6% 16th Jackson 18,619 0.3% 22nd St. Louis City 8,067 0.1% 31st Greene 7,985 0.1% 11th St. Charles 7,566 0.1% TOTAL MISSOURI: 160,260 CASES PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS 21st 20,895 29.5% 29.0% 16th 12,986 18.3% 18.0% 22nd 15,194 21.5% 21.3% 31st 3,697 5.2% 5.1% 11th 2,067 2.9% 2.8% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 CASES POST-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF DISCREPANCY--% THROUGH TOTAL POPULATION VS. % CHANGE IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 TORTS TORTS DISCREPANCY 21st 18,193 30.0% 30.0% 1.1% 16th 9,126 15.3% 15.0% -3.0% 22nd 7,339 12.3% 12.2% -9.1% 31st 317 5.3% 5.2% 0.1% 11th 1,903 3.2% 3.1% 0.3% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 TABLE 3. TOP FIVE CIRCUITS: TORT CASES FILED--PRE- AND POST-REFORM COMPARED WITH OTHER CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS (CUMULATIVE) TORT CASES PRE- AND POST-REFORM WITH OTHER CIRCUIT CHARACTERISTICS TOP FIVE (5) CIRCUITS (CUMULATIVE) POPULATIONS POPULATION COUNTIES 2010 CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT POPULATION CUMULATIVE % OF MO. 21st St. Louis 998,954 998,954 16.7% 16th Jackson 674,158 1,673,112 27.9% 11th St. Charles 360,485 2,033,597 34.0% 22nd St. Louis City 319,294 2,352,891 39.3% 31st Greene 275,174 2,628,065 43.9% TOTAL MISSOURI: 5,988,927 CASES: PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF COUNTIES THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 20,895 20,895 29.5% 16th Jackson 12,986 33,881 47.9% 11th St. Charles 2,067 35,948 50.8% 22nd St. Louis City 15,194 51,142 72.2% 31st Greene 3,697 54,839 77.5% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 DISCREPANCY CASES: POST-REFORM --% POPULATION 8/28/06 % OF COUNTIES VS. % THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 8/27/10 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 12.8% 18,193 18,193 30.6% 16th Jackson 19.9% 9,126 27,319 45.9% 11th St. Charles 16.8% 1,903 29,222 49.1% 22nd St. Louis City 33.0% 7,339 36,561 61.5% 31st Greene 33.6% 3,173 39,734 66.8% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 DISCREPANCY CHANGE IN --% DISCREPANCY POPULATION COUNTIES VS. % CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 21st St. Louis 13.9% 1.1% 16th Jackson 18.0% -1.9% 11th St. Charles 15.2% -1.6% 22nd St. Louis City 22.2% -10.8% 31st Greene 22.9% -10.6% TOTAL MISSOURI: JOBS JOBS COUNTIES CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT 2005 JOBS CUMULATIVE % OF MO. 21st St. Louis 618,555 618,555 23.7% 16th Jackson 363,766 982,321 37.7% 22nd St. Louis City 222,519 1,204,840 46.2% 31st Greene 149,170 1,354,010 51,9% nth St. Charles 117,022 1,471,032 56.4% TOTAL MISSOURI: 2,608,548 CASES: PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF COUNTIES THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 20,895 20,895 29.5% 16th Jackson 12,986 33,881 47.9% 22nd St. Louis City 15,194 49,075 69.3% 31st Greene 3,697 52,772 74.5% nth St. Charles 2,067 54,839 77.5% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 DISCREPANCY CASES: POST-REFORM --% POPULATION 8/28/06 % OF COUNTIES VS. % THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 8/27/10 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 5.8% 18,193 18,193 30.6% 16th Jackson 10.2% 9,126 27,319 45.9% 22nd St. Louis City 23.1% 7,339 34,658 58.3% 31st Greene 22.6% 3,173 37,831 63.6% nth St. Charles 21.1% 1,903 39,734 66.8% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 DISCREPANCY CHANGE IN --% DISCREPANCY POPULATION COUNTIES VS. % CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 21st St. Louis 6.9% 1.1% 16th Jackson 8.3% -1.9% 22nd St. Louis City 12.1% -11.0% 31st Greene 11.7% -10.9% nth St. Charles 10.4% -10.6% TOTAL MISSOURI: BUSINESSES BUSINESSES COUNTIES 2005 CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT BUSINESSES CUMULATIVE % OF MO. 21st St. Louis 33,658 33,658 21.0% 16th Jackson 18,619 52,277 32.6% 22nd St. Louis City 8,067 60,344 37.7% 31st Greene 7,985 68,329 42.6% 11th St. Charles 7,566 75,895 47.4% TOTAL MISSOURI: 160,260 CASES: PRE-REFORM 8/28/00 % OF COUNTIES THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 20,895 20,895 29.5% 16th Jackson 12,986 33,881 47.9% 22nd St. Louis City 15,194 49,075 69.3% 31st Greene 3,697 52,772 74.5% 11th St. Charles 2,067 54,839 77.5% TOTAL MISSOURI: 70,793 DISCREPANCY CASES: POST-REFORM --% POPULATION 8/28/06 % OF COUNTIES VS. % THROUGH TOTAL CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 8/27/10 CUMULATIVE TORTS 21st St. Louis 8.5% 18,193 18,193 30.6% 16th Jackson 15.2% 9,126 27,319 45.9% 22nd St. Louis City 31.7% 7,339 34,658 58.3% 31st Greene 31.9% 3,173 37,831 63.6% 11th St. Charles 30.1% 1,903 39,734 66.8% TOTAL MISSOURI: 59,461 DISCREPANCY CHANGE IN --% DISCREPANCY POPULATION COUNTIES VS. % CIRCUIT IN CIRCUIT TORTS 21st St. Louis 9.6% 1.1% 16th Jackson 13.3% -1.9% 22nd St. Louis City 20.6% -11.0% 31st Greene 21.0% -10.9% 11th St. Charles 19.5% -10.6% TOTAL MISSOURI: TABLE 4. MEDICAL MALPRACTICE PERSONAL INJURY--MALPRACTICE (BY LARGEST # OF CASES--2000-2004) 8/28/00 THROUGH CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 22nd St. Louis City 865 21st St. Louis 785 16th Jackson 663 31st Greene 153 29th Jasper 107 13th Boone, Callaway 90 5th Andrew, Buchanan 64 19th Cole 62 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 58 11th St. Charles 47 24th St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 46 7th Clay 42 23rd Jefferson 37 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 34 33rd Mississippi, Scott 31 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 26 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 17 17th Cass, Johnson 16 14th Howard, Randolph 15 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 14 18th Cooper, Pettis 14 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 13 6th Platte 12 26th Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 10 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 10 28th Barton, Cedar, Dado, Vernon 10 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 10 15th Lafayette, Saline 9 38th Christian, Taney 8 40th McDonald, Newton 7 36th Butler, Ripley 7 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler 7 45th Lincoln, Pike 5 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 5 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 4 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 4 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 3 41st Macon, Shelby 3 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 2 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 2 8th Carroll, Ray 2 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 1 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 1 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth 0 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 0 TOTALS: 3,321 CHANGE 8/28/06 POST- THROUGH REFORM % OF CIRCUIT 8/27/10 # BASELINE 22nd 304 (561) 35.1% 21st 553 (232) 70.4% 16th 379 (284) 57.2% 31st 199 46 130.1% 29th 72 (35) 67.3% 13th 87 (3) 96.7% 5th 16 (48) 25.0% 19th 41 (21) 96.7% 32nd 51 (7) 87.9% 11th 53 6 112.8% 24th 26 (20) 56.5% 7th 104 62 247.6% 23rd 27 (10) 73.0% 25th 25 (9) 73.5% 33rd 29 (2) 93.5% 20th 15 (11) 57.7% 37th 12 (5) 70.6% 17th 18 2 112.5% 14th 3 (12) 20.0% 35th 24 10 171.4% 18th 14 0 100.0% 30th 11 (2) 84.8% 6th 14 2 116.7% 26th 30 20 300.0% 42nd 6 (4) 60.0% 28th 6 (4) 60.0% 34th 4 (6) 40.0% 15th 9 0 100.0% 38th 20 12 250.0% 40th 13 6 185.7% 36th 54 47 771.4% 1st 2 (5) 28.6% 45th 3 (2) 60.0% 10th 14 9 280.0% 27th 10 6 250.0% 3rd 5 1 125.0% 12th 9 6 300.0% 41st 3 0 100.0% 43rd 11 9 550.0% 2nd 18 16 900.0% 8th 2 0 100.0% 39th 10 9 1000.0% 9th 8 7 800.0% 4th 10 10 1000%+ 44th 0 0 N/A TOTALS: 2,324 (997) 70.0% TABLE 5. WRONGFUL DEATH WRONGFUL DEATH (BY LARGEST # OF CASES-2000-2004) 87/28/00 THROUGH CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 16th Jackson 1,066 22nd St louts City 641 21st St. Louis 375 31st Greene 298 13th Boone, Callaway 89 29th Jasper 74 23rd Jefferson 67 7th Clay 64 11th St. Charles 57 24th St Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 55 5th Andrew, Buchanan 54 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 52 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 52 19th Cole 46 33rd Mississippi, Scott 42 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 41 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 41 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 38 6th Platte 36 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 35 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 35 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 34 18th Cooper, Pettis 33 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, Vernon 33 38th Christian, Taney 25 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 25 45th Lincoln, Pike 20 17th Cass, Johnson 16 8th Carroll, Ray 16 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 16 26th Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 13 14th Howard, Randolph 13 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 12 15th Lafayette, Saline 9 40th McDonald, Newton 8 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 7 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 7 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler 7 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 4 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 3 41st Macon, Shelby 3 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 2 36th Butler, Ripley 1 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 1 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth 0 TOTALS: 3,566 CHANGE 8/28/06 POST- THROUGH REFORM %OF CIRCUIT 8/27/10 # BASELINE 16th 405 (661) 38.0% 22nd 335 (306) 52.3% 21st 329 (46) 87.7% 31st 134 (164) 45.0% 13th 78 (H) 87.6% 29th 74 0 100.0% 23rd 76 9 113.4% 7th 73 9 114.1% 11th 65 8 114.1% 24th 56 1 101.8% 5th 33 (21) 61.1% 25th 58 6 111.5% 20th 51 (1) 98.1% 19th 46 0 100.0% 33rd 26 (16) 61.9% 30th 34 (7) 82.9% 32nd 31 (10) 75.6% 37th 47 9 123.7% 6th 35 (1) 97.2% 42nd 41 6 117.1% 35th 33 (2) 94.3% 34th 31 (3) 91.2% 18th 34 1 103.0% 28th 21 (12) 63.6% 38th 31 6 124.0% 12th 31 6 124.0% 45th 31 11 155.0% 17th 45 29 281.3% 8th 19 3 118.8% 3rd 5 (11) 31.3% 26th 80 67 615.4% 14th 14 1 107.7% 27th 32 20 266.7% 15th 32 23 355.6% 40th 57 49 712.5% 39th 38 31 542.9% 9th 11 4 157.1% 1st 6 (1) 85.7% 43rd 41 37 1025.0% 10th 22 19 733.3% 41st 10 7 333.3% 2nd 17 15 850.0% 36th 39 38 3900.0% 44th 19 18 1900.0% 4th 16 16 1000%+ TOTALS: 2,742 (824) 77% TABLE 6. OTHER PERSONAL INJURY OTHER PERSONAL INJURY (BY LARGEST # OF CASES--2000-2004) 8/28/00 THROUGH CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 8/27/04 22nd St. Louis City 8,474 16th Jackson 5,726 21st St. Louis 4,713 31st Greene 3,178 11th St. Charles 1,043 23rd Jefferson 1,030 13th Boone, Callaway 848 29th Jasper 565 5th Andrew, Buchanan 528 24th St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 443 38th Christian, Taney 430 7th Clay 409 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 393 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 360 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 328 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 325 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 321 19th Cole 303 18th Cooper, Pettis 263 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 219 6th Platte 205 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 203 33rd Mississippi, Scott 173 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 170 45th Lincoln, Pike 157 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 138 15th Lafayette, Saline 136 14th Howard, Randolph 115 ?6th Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 109 17th Cass, Johnson 100 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 98 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, Vernon: 90 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 78 40th McDonald, Newton 64 8th Carroll, Ray 61 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 59 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 52 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyter 35 41st Macon, Shelby 29 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 24 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 23 10th Marion, Monroe. Ralls 20 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 18 36th Butler, Ripley 16 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth 3 TOTALS: 32,074 CHANGE 8/28/06 POST- THROUGH REFORM % OF CIRCUIT 8/27/10 # BASELINE 22nd 4,312 (4,162) 50.9% 16th 3,616 (2,110) 63.20% 21st 5,358 645 113.7% 31st 2,283 (895) 71.8% 11th 1,132 89 108.5% 23rd 868 (162) 84.3% 13th 747 (101) 88.1% 29th 686 121 121.4% 5th 575 47 108 9% 24th 308 (134) 69.7% 38th 600 170 139.50% 7th S20 411 200.5% 20th 387 (6) 98.5% 25th 354 (6) 98.3% 37th 329 1 100.3% 32nd 329 4 101.2% 30th 429 108 133.6% 19th 261 (42) 86.1% 18th 193 (70) 73.4% 35th 248 29 113.2% 6th 316 111 154.1% 42nd 19S (8) 96.1% 33rd 204 31 117.9% 34th 168 (2) 98.8% 45th 164 7 104.5% 12th 162 24 117.4% 15th 146 10 107.4% 14th 121 6 105.2% ?6th 537 428 492.7% 17th 409 309 409.0% 39th 416 318 424.5% 28th 156 66 173.3% 27th 180 102 230.8% 40th 258 194 403.1% 8th 85 24 139.3% 9th 45 (14) 76.3% 3rd 58 6 111.5% 1st 15 (20) 42.9% 41st 44 15 151.7% 2nd 104 80 433.3% 43rd 155 132 673.9% 10th 178 158 890.0% 44th 120 102 666.7% 36th 261 245 1631.3% 4th 77 74 2566.7% TOTALS: 28,409 (3,665) 89% TABLE 7. PROPERTY DAMAGE PROPERTY DAMAGE (BY LARGEST # OF CASES--2000-2004) CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 16th Jackson 22nd St. Louis City 11th St. Charles 13th Boone, Callaway 21st St. Louis 19th Cole 29th Jasper 6th Platte 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 24th St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 15th Lafayette, Saline 18th Cooper, Pettis 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 45th Lincoln, Pike 38th Christian, Taney 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, Vernon 5th Andrew, Buchanan 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 7th Clay 23rd Jefferson 33rd Mississippi, Scott 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 40th McDonald, Newton 26th Camden, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 14th Howard, Randolph 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 8th Carroll, Ray 17th Cass, Johnson 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 31st Greene 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 41st Macon, Shelby 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 36th Butler, Ripley 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth TOTALS: CHANGE 8/28/00 8/28/06 POST-REFORM THROUGH THROUGH % OF CIRCUIT 8/27/04 8/27/10 # BASELINE 16th 3,515 2,027 (1,488) 57.70% 22nd 2,609 1,246 (1,363) 47.8% 11th 781 395 (386| 50.6% 13th 423 165 (258) 39.0% 21st 299 1,766 1,467 590.6% 19th 244 85 (159) 34.8% 29th 208 100 (108) 48.1% 6th 1S8 108 (50) 68.4% 20th 144 106 (38) 73.6% 32nd 132 91 (41) 68.9% 24th 128 122 (6) 95.3% 15th 77 43 (34) 55.8% 18th 75 79 4 105.3% 42nd 73 55 (18) 75.3% 30th 70 70 0 100.0% 37th 69 38 (31) 55.1% 45th 66 64 (2) 97.0% 38th 59 105 46 178.0% 28th 58 36 (22) 62.1% 5th 57 167 110 293.0% 35th 51 49 (2) 96.1% 7th 49 351 302 716.3% 23rd 46 295 249 641.3% 33rd 37 56 19 151.4% 3rd 36 26 (10) 72.2% 12th 34 41 7 120.6% 34th 32 34 2 106.3% 40th 31 50 19 161.3% 26th 27 127 100 470,4% 14th 26 23 (3) 88.5% 25th 22 70 48 318.2% 8th 20 25 5 125.0% 17th 19 178 159 936.8% 1st 19 12 (7) 63.2% 27th 18 49 31 272.2% 31st 12 294 282 2450.0% 39th 11 89 78 809.1% 9th 10 21 11 210.0% 43rd 7 47 40 671.4% 41st 6 7 1 116.7% 10th 3 38 35 1266.7% 2nd 3 19 16 633.3% 36th 2 48 46 2400.0% 44th 2 27 25 1350.0% 4th 0 41 41 1000%+ TOTALS: 9,768 8,885 (883) 91% TABLE 8. OTHER TORT OTHER TORT (BY LARGEST # OF CASES--2000-2004) CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 8/28/00 through 8/27/04 21st St. Louis 14,723 16th Jackson 1,666 22nd St. Louis City 811 23rd Jefferson 807 5th Andrew, Buchanan 302 29th Jasper 173 11th St. Charles 138 6th Platte 130 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, Vernon 92 38th Christian, Taney 82 24th St. Francois Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 77 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 67 45th Lincoln, Pike 67 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 62 13th Boone, Callaway 61 31st Greene 56 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 47 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 42 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 40 40th McDonald. Newton 36 26th Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 35 18th Cooper, Pettis 34 15th Lafayette, Saline 34 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 33 8th Carroll, Ray 30 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 29 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 27 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 25 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 24 17th Cass, Johnson 21 19th Cole 19 7th Clay 17 33rd Mississippi, Scott 17 14th Howard, Randolph 15 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 10 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 10 37th Cartel, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 8 36th Butler, Ripley 8 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 8 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler 8 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 7 41st Macon, Shelby 5 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 3 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth 2 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 0 TOTALS: 19,908 CIRCUIT CHANGE 8/28/06 POST- through REFORM %OF 8/27/10 # BASELINE 21st 4,600 (10,123) 31.2% 16th 1,930 264 115.8% 22nd 533 (278) 65.7% 23rd 93 (714) 11.5% 5th 11 (291) 3.6% 29th 76 (97) 43.9% 11th 221 83 160.1% 6th 89 (41) 68.5% 28th 23 (69) 25.0% 38th 56 (26) 68.3% 24th 77 0 100.0% 30th 55 (12) 82.1% 45th 53 (14) 79.1% 32nd 64 2 103.2% 13th 99 38 162.3% 31st 188 132 335.7% 20th 59 12 125.5% 42nd 29 (13) 69.0% 12th 38 (2) 95.0% 40th 25 (11) 69.4% 26th 134 99 382.9% 18th 35 1 102.9% 15th 29 (5) 85.3% 35th 28 (5) 84.8% 8th 12 (18) 40.0% 39th 61 32 210.3% 25th 54 27 200.0% 27th 36 11 144.0% 34th 12 (12) 50.0% 17th 75 54 357.1% 19th 47 28 247.4% 7th 287 270 1688.2% 33rd 24 7 141.2% 14th 26 11 173.3% 43rd 44 34 440.0% 9th 12 2 120.0% 37th 23 15 287.5% 36th 29 21 362.5% 3rd 11 3 137.5% 1st 3 (5) 37.5% 10th 29 22 414.3% 41st 8 3 160.0% 44th 21 18 700.0% 4th 14 12 700.0% 2nd 12 12 1000%+ TOTALS: 9,385 (10,523) 47% TABLE 9. DISCRIMINATION DISCRIMINATION: EMPLOYMENT/ACCOMMODATIONS CIRCUIT COUNTIES IN CIRCUIT 22nd St. Louis City 16th Jackson 40th McDonald, Newton 9th Chariton, Lynn, Sullivan 13th Boone, Callaway 29th Jasper 30th Benton, Dallas, Hickory, Polk, Webster 5th Andrew, Buchanan 42nd Crawford, Dent, Iron, Reynolds, Wayne 35th Dunklin, Stoddard 21st St. Louis 11th St. Charles 31st Greene 7th Clay 23rd Jefferson 17th Cass, Johnson 26th Camden, Laclede, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan 25th Maries, Phelps, Pulaski, Texas 20th Franklin, Gasconade, Osage 38th Christian, Taney 24th St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Madison, Washington 32nd Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Perry 39th Barry, Lawrence, Stone 6th Platte 19th Cole 45th Lincoln, Pike 12th Audrain, Warren, Montgomery 43rd Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, DeKalb, Livingston 37th Carter, Howell, Oregon, Shannon 18th Cooper, Pettis 36th Butler, Ripley 15th Lafayette, Saline 28th Barton, Cedar, Dade, Vernon 33rd Mississippi, Scott 27th Bates, Henry, St. Clair 10th Marion, Monroe, Ralls 4th Atchison, Gentry, Holt, Nodaway, Worth 44th Douglas, Ozark, Wright 2nd Adair, Lewis, Knox 34th New Madrid, Pemiscot 14th Howard, Randolph 8th Carroll, Ray 3rd Grundy, Harrison, Putnam, Mercer 41st Macon, Shelby 1st Clark, Scotland, Schuyler TOTALS CHANGE CIRCUIT 8/28/2000 8/28/2006 POST- THROUGH THROUGH REFORM % 8/27/2004 8/27/2010 # OF BASELINE 22nd 1,509 261 (1,248) 17.3% 16th 205 706 501 344.4% 40th 2 8 6 400.0% 9th 2 5 3 250.0% 13th 1 47 46 4700.0% 29th 1 20 19 2000.0% 30th 1 7 6 700.0% 5th 1 11 10 1100.0% 42nd 1 14 13 1400.0% 35th 1 2 1 200.0% 21st 0 364 364 1000%+ 11th 0 37 37 1000%+ 31st 0 75 75 1000%* 7th 0 110 110 1000%+ 23rd 0 31 31 1000%+ 17th 0 38 38 1000%+ 26th 0 11 11 1000%+ 25th 0 18 18 1000%+ 20th 0 7 7 1000%+ 38th 0 10 10 1000%+ 24th 0 6 6 1000%+ 32nd 0 8 8 1000%+ 39th 0 12 12 1000%+ 6th 0 57 57 1000%+ 19th 0 18 18 1000%+ 45th 0 3 3 1000%+ 12th 0 4 4 1000%+ 43rd 0 11 11 1000%+ 37th 0 10 10 1000%+ 18th 0 29 29 1000%+ 36th 0 8 8 1000%+ 15th 0 11 11 1000%+ 28th 0 8 8 1000%+ 33rd 0 13 13 1000%+ 27th 0 13 13 1000%+ 10th 0 6 6 1000%+ 4th 0 1 1 1000%+ 44th 0 3 3 1000%+ 2nd 0 0 0 N/A 34th 0 7 7 1000%+ 14th 0 4 4 1000%+ 8th 0 4 4 1000%+ 3rd 0 4 4 1000%+ 41st 0 0 0 N/A 1st 0 0 0 N/A TOTALS 1,724 2,022 298 117%
(1.) See S.B. 379, 96th Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Session (Mo. 2011) and H.B. 785, 96th Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Session (Mo. 2011) (placing new restrictions on product liability claims); Christopher Yarbro, Medical Malpractice Reform Could Exact Huge Costs, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Feb. 24, 2011, available at http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/article 2bbe527c-ld91-5714-9c09-0b70ee307f61.html; 2013 Legislative Agenda, MO. CHAMBER OF COM. & INDUSTRY, available at http://www.mochamber.com/mx/hm.asp?id=Legislative Agenda (last visited Dec. 27, 2012).
(2.) Mo. General Assembly Sends Workers' Comp. Tort Reform Bills to Blunt, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (Mar. 16, 2005, 6:17 PM), http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouislstories/2005/03/14/daily 53.html?jst=b_ln_hl; Blunt Will Sign Tort Reform in St. Louis Tuesday, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (Mar. 28, 2005, 10:51 AM), http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2005/03/28/daily8.html.
(3.) Blythe Bernard & Virginia Young, Medical malpractice cap is struck down by Missouri Supreme Court, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (Aug. 1, 2012), available at http://www .stltoday.com/news/state-and-regional/missouri/medical-malpractice-cap-is-struck-down-bymissouri-supreme- court/article_7bb71afd-add3-5cde-a253-07faaade808c.html.
(4.) Watts v. Lester E. Cox Med. Ctrs., 376 S.W.3d 633 (Mo. 2012).
(5.) Bernard & Young, supra note 3.
(6.) Press Release, Off. of Mo. Governor Jay Nixon, Gov. Nixon vetoes Senate Bill 188; says it would undermine the Missouri Human Rights Act (Apr. 29, 2011), available at http://governor.mo.gov/newsroom/2011/Gov_Nixon_vetoes_Senate_Bill_188.
(7.) 2013 Legislative Agenda Civil Justice, Mo. CHAMBER OF COM. & INDUSTRY, available at http://www.mochamber.com/mx/hm.asp?id=CivilJustice (last visited Dec. 27, 2012).
(10.) Helping to Balance the Scales of Justice--Protection of the Civil Rights System, MO. ASS'N OF TRIAL. ATT'YS, available at https://www.matanet.org/index.cfm?pg=Issues (last visited Dec. 27, 2012).
(11.) See, e.g., Neil Gordon, Organizational donors: Profiles of the top organizational donors in 2003 and 2004, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY (May 26, 2005, 12:00 AM) (last updated Aug. 18, 2011, 2:25 PM), http://www.iwatchnews.org/2005/05/26/5838/organizationaldonors (last visited Dec. 29, 2012) (describing the Association of Trial Lawyers of America as an organization that "as a whole leans toward Democrats" but also supports Republicans due to its many prominent Republican members).
(12.) See, e.g., Demystifying Tort Reform: Claims of "frivolous" lawsuits are wildly exaggerated, BROWN & BROWN ATTORNEYS AT LAW, http://brownlawoffice.com/practice_ areas.php?display=tort reform (last visited Dec. 29, 2012).
(13.) See, e.g., Missouri Narrows Tort Reform Caps, Passes on Constitutionality Questions, HOLMAN SCHIAVONE, LLC, http://www.kdh-law.com/Articles/Missouri-Narrows-Tort-ReformCaps-Passes-on-Constitutionality- Question.shtml (last visited Feb. 9, 2012) (lamenting the Missouri Supreme Court's failure to address the constitutionality of non-economic damages caps in Klotz v. St. Anthony's Med. Ctr., 311 S.W.3d 752, 759-60 (Mo. 2010); reprinted in DISABLED WORLD (Aug. 19, 2010), http://www.disabled-world.com/news/america/missouri/ tort-reform.php).
(14.) See, e.g., Matt Blunt, How Missouri Cut Junk Lawsuits: We Showed How to Do Malpractice Reform, if Congress Wants a Model, WALL ST. J., Sept. 22, 2009, at A3, available at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204488304574426823146241800.html; David Stokes, Tort Reform Has Been Great for Missouri, SHOW-ME INSTITUTE DAILY (Apr. 25, 2008, 12:25 PM), http://www.showmedaily.org/2008/04/tort-reform-has.html (last visited Dec. 29, 2012) (quoting Governor Blunt's Southeast Missourian statement that average settlement costs fell nearly 14 percent and total claims against Missouri doctors dropped by 61 percent from 2005 to 2006); John C. Hagan III et al., Show Me Tort Reform: the Missouri Experience, CATARACT & REFRACTIVE SURGERY TODAY, Jan. 2010, at 65, available at http://bmc today.net/crstoday/2010/01/article.asp?f=show-me-tort-reform-the-missouri-experience; Chris Rizo, Missouri's Tort Reforms Credited for Decreased Litigation, LEGALNEWSLINE.COM (Apr. 28, 2008, 11:50 PM), http://www.legalnewsline.com/news/211563-missouris-tort-reforms-credited-for-decreased-litigation (last visited Dec. 29, 2012) (quoting the legislative consultant for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry's assertions that the state's legal climate has improved significantly since tort reform).
(15.) Tart Retort, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Mar. 28, 1988, at 9A.
(16.) Trial Lawyers Support Jay Nixon, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, May 9, 1988, at 4A.
(17.) Mark Schlinkmann, GOP Savoring Danforth Win, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Nov. 21, 1988, at 1B.
(18.) Linda Eardley, Danforth Pushes for Change, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, July 26, 1989, at 9A.
(19.) Ralph Nader, Tort 'Reform' That Injures Consumers: Danforth Plan Is A Boon For Manufacturers And A Bust For Victims Of Negligence, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, Dec. 2, 1991, at 3B.
(20.) Sherman Joyce, Product Liability Law in the Federal Arena, 19 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 421, 422-24 (1996).
(21.) See. e.g., HENRY COHEN, CONG. RESEARCH SERV., 95-97 A, FEDERAL TORT REFORM LEGISLATION: CONSTITUTIONALITY AND SUMMARIES OF SELECTED STATUTES (updated May 23, 2002), available at http://www.policyarchive.org/handle/10207/bitstreams/ 281.pdf.
(22.) Heather Cole, Earl Walker, Trial Lawyers Top Donors to Democrats; Anheuser-Busch, May Lead Republican Donors, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (July 27, 2003), http://www.biz journals.com/stlouis/stories/2003/07/28/story6.html (explaining that the Democratic party was the big winner in plaintiffs' attorney contributions, while corporate donors generally supported Republicans, although some corporate donors supported Democratic Governor Holden for various reasons).
(23.) Editorial, Take a Gamble on Tort Reform, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (June 8, 2003), http:// www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2003/06/09/editoriall.html?page-all (asking Governor Holden for a special session to resolve issues after vetoing the tort reform bill); Holden's Medical Malpractice Veto Survives, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (May 14, 2004), http://www.biz journals.com/stlouis/stories/2004/05/10/daily78.html (reporting the Republican legislature's failure to override Governor Holden's veto of 2004 tort reform legislation).
(24.) McCaskill Defeats Holden in Primary, MO. LAW. WKLY. (Aug. 9, 2004), http://mo lawyersmedia.com/blog/2004/08/09/mccaskill-defeats-holden-in-primary/.
(25.) The Midwest, WASH. POST, Nov. 4, 2004, at A41.
(27.) See Tort Reform Shaping State Politics, Attorneys' Loyalty, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (Dec. 26, 2004), http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2004/12/27/editoria12.html?page-all (reporting unfounded rumors that the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys had given $500,000 to the Republican party, and speculating on Democratic fears that their stalwart donors would begin to play the field).
(28.) See Conference Committee Substitute for Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for House Committee Substitute for House Bill No. 393, 93d Gen. Assemb., 1st Reg. Session (Mo. 2005) [hereinafter "Act," "Reform Act," "Tort Reform Act," or "House Bill 393"], available at http://www.house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills051/billpdf/truly/HB0393T.PDF.
(29.) Blunt Will Sign Tort Reform, supra note 2.
(30.) City Lawsuits Jumped 720% before Tort Reform Deadline, ST. LOUIS BUS. J. (Sept. 18, 2005), http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/stories/2005/09/19/focus2.html?page=all.
(31.) House Bill 393, supra note 28.
(32.) Id. [section][section] 508.010.4-508.010.14, at 5-6.
(33.) Id. at 5 ([section] 508.010.4).
(34.) Id. [section] 508.010.5(1).
(35.) Id. [section] 508.010.5(2).
(36.) Id. [section] 508.010.6.
(37.) Id. [section] 508.010.10.
(39.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 19.
(40.) Id. at 8. On August 18, 2012, the cap on punitive damages was effectively increased by the Missouri Supreme Court, by ruling that attorney fees must be added to the amount of non-punitive damages before the five times multiplier is applied. Hervey v. Mo. Dep't of Corr., 379 S.W.3d 156, 163-65 (Mo. 2012).
(41.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 7.
(42.) Id.; see also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.111 (2012) (referencing [section] 213.040, which prohibits housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, or familial status; [section] 213.045, which prohibits discriminatory lending practices; [section] 213.050, which prohibits discriminatory practices by real estate brokers and agents; and [section] 213.070(3), which prohibits housing discrimination by the State and any of its political subdivisions).
(43.) See infra Part II.B.1, at MEDICAL MALPRACTICE.
(44.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 11-12.
(45.) Id. at 12.
(46.) Id. at 11.
(47.) Id. at 12; see also Federal Employers' Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. [section] 51.
(48.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 12.
(49.) Id. at 12.
(50.) Id. at 13; see also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 287.250.
(51.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 13; see also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 537.080.
(52.) MO. REV. STAT. [section] 516.105.
(53.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 18 (new [section] 538.229).
(54.) Id. [section] 538.225, at 17.
(59.) Id. at 7.
(60.) Id. at 14.
(61.) Id. at 14-17 ([section] 538.210-.220).
(62.) Id. at 16.
(63.) See, e.g., Individual Bonds': U.S. Treasury, FIDELITY.COM, https://www.fidelity.com/ fixed-income-bonds/individual-bonds/us-treasury-bonds (last visited Apr. 4, 2013) ("Treasuries are debt obligations issued and backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Because they are considered to have low credit or default risk, they generally offer lower yields relative to other bonds.").
(64.) See generally David Brown, Life expectancy in the U.S. varies widely by region, in some places is decreasing, WASH. POST (June 15, 2011 ), http://articles.washingtonpost.com/20 11-06-15/national/35235628_1_population-health-metrics-expectancy-christopher-j-l-murray.
(65.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 16.
(66.) Id. at 15.
(67.) Id. at 18.
(69.) Id. at 4.
(70.) Id. at 18 (new [section] 538.232).
(71.) Id. at 3-4 (new [section] 490.715.5).
(73.) Id. at 13 (revisions to [section] 538.205); see also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 198 (2012).
(74.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 9.
(76.) Id. at 9-11 ([section] 537.035).
(77.) Id. at 1-2 (new [section] 355.176).
(78.) The Federal funds rate is "the interest rate that banks with excess reserves at a Federal Reserve district bank charge other banks that need overnight loans ... [and] often points to the direction of US interest rates. The most sensitive indicator of the direction of interest rates, since it is set daily by the market, unlike the prime rate and the discount rate." NASDAQ, http://www.nasdaq.com/investing/glossary/f/federal-funds-rate (last visited Dec. 29, 2012).
(79.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 2.
(80.) Id. at 2-3 ([section] 408.040).
(81.) In the early 1980s, the effective Federal funds rate exceeded 10 percent; today, the effective Federal funds rate hovers around zero percent. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Effective Federal Funds Rate, FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS, http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/FEDFUNDS (last visited Dec. 29, 2012).
(82.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 2 3 ([section] 408.040, changing the allowable rate at which interest accrues on unpaid tort judgments and the conditions upon which and rate at which prejudgment interest accrues).
(85.) Id. at 6 (new [section] 508.011).
(86.) Id. at 8 (new [section] 512.099).
(87.) Id. at 15-16([section] 538.210).
(88.) Id. at 19.
(89.) Klotz v. St. Anthony's Med. Ctr., 311 S.W.3d 752, 759-60 (Mo. 2010) (relying on State ex rel. St. Louis-San Francisco Ry. Co. v. Buder, 515 S.W.2d 409, 411 (Mo. 1974) and Doe v. Phillips, 194 S.W.3d 833,850 (Mo. 2006)); see also House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 14 15.
(90.) Mo. Sup. Ct. R. 51.03; State ex rel. Audrain Healthcare, Inc. v. Sutherland, 233 S.W.3d 217, 218-19 (Mo. 2007); see also House Bill 393, supra note 28 (revisions to [section] 580.010).
(91.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 5 ([section] 508.010.4).
(93.) Audrain Healthcare, 233 S.W.3d at 218.
(94.) Watts, 376 S.W.3d at 637-46.
(95.) See, e.g., Bernard & Young, supra note 3; Brett Emison, Guest commentary: Court got malpractice decision right, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (Aug. 10, 2012), http://www.stltoday .com/news/opinion/guest-commentary-court-got-malpractice-decision-right/article bld88c00-9 06d-51 ce-b02e-18ead9861828.html.
(96.) Scott Lauck, Challenge to venue law settles before argument, MO. LAW. WKLY., Dec. 3, 2012, at 5, available at http://molawyersmedia.com/blog/2012/12/01/challenge-to-venuelaw-settles-before-argument/.
(97.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 8, 19.
(98.) See infra App. A, Figs. 3-4, Tbl. 1.
(100.) Map published by Missouri Office of the State Court Administrator at http://www .courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=321 (last accessed Dec. 29, 2012) (shading, population data, and larger titles added by author); 2010 Decennial Census, U.S. BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, Table GCT-PH1, available at http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview .xhtml?pid=DEC_10_SF1_GCTPH1.ST05&prodType=table (select "Missouri" in geography drop-down menu) (last accessed Dec. 29, 2012).
(101.) At the time of the 2010 census, Worth County had only 2,171 people while St. Louis County had nearly one million. 2010 Decennial Census, supra note 100.
(102.) See 2010 Decennial Census, supra note 100.
(103.) See Your Missouri Courts, OFF. OF THE [MO.] ST. CT. ADMIN., http://www.courts .mo.gov/page.jsp?id-233; see also Missouri CaseNet, OFF. OF THE [Mo.] ST. CT. ADMIN., https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome.do (both last accessed Dec. 30, 2012).
(104.) The map is based on sources cited supra note 100.
(105.) Your Missouri Courts, OFF. OF THE [MO.] ST. CT. ADMIN., http://www.courts.mo. gov/page.jsp?id=233; see also Missouri CaseNet, OFF. OF THE [Mo.] ST. CT. ADMIN., https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/base/welcome.do (both last accessed Dec. 30, 2012).
(106.) Mo. Ct. Operating R. 2: Public Access to Records of the Judicial Department (adopted Aug. 24, 1998, last revised effective July 1, 2012, effective Jan. 1, 2012), available at http://www.courts.mo.gov/courts/ClerkHandbooksP2RulesOnly.nstTe2aa3309ef5c449186256be 20060c329/dc2e80286afa4ad286256ca60051dee2?OpenDocument.
(107.) Id. at 2.10.
(108.) Letter from the Honorable Jimmie Edwards, Chair, Mo. State Jud. Records Comm., to author (Dec. 12, 2011) (footer listing committee members) (maintained in author's files and attached as Appendix B to this Note).
(109.) Id. (evidencing the State Judicial Records Committee's approval of the author's request for a bulk distribution of case records for use in this Note). Records for all cases classified as torts and filed in the Missouri Circuit Court system from July 1, 2000 through June 30, 2011 were made available on January 3, 2012, and received on January 9, 2012. Data fields received include the circuit and county in which the case was filed, the initial filing date, the disposition date, the case identification number, the tort sub-classification (wrongful death, five personal injury sub-classifications malpractice, product liability, vehicular, federal employment liability, and "other personal injury" property damage, asbestos, bulk tort damages, employment discrimination and public accommodations pursuant to Mo. Rev. Stat. [section] 213.111--and "other torts") and some data on the amounts of "judgments against.'" The data also indicate whether the case was assigned to a circuit judge or to an associate.
(110.) See infra App. A, Figs. 34, Tbl. 1.
(111.) Staff in Missouri's forty-five judicial circuits enter data on each case in a common tracking system and submit that data to OSCA. Because an individual responsible for entering the data in one circuit may not always sub-classify a case using the same thought process as that individual's counterparts in other circuits, sub-classification data may be less reliable than a case's primary classification as a tort. Further, "judgment against" data is not always entered by circuit court staff, presumably due to extremely high case volumes in some circuits and the variety of case dispositions possible--of the 187,046 tort filings in the eleven-year time period for which data was received, "judgment against" amounts were recorded for only 15,424, or 8.25 percent. "Judgments against" amounts will obviously not be recorded in those situations where the case was settled, the factfinder sided with the defendant, or the case was dismissed, but it is unlikely that the number of judgment amounts entered into the database reflects all judgments against. Because the available data is not useful for analyzing the impact of Missouri's tort reform on the amounts and frequencies of plaintiff successes, the Conclusion section infra discusses no-cost methods of improving the comprehensiveness of case disposition data. Data maintained in author's files.
(112.) See City Lawsuits Jumped 720%, supra note 30.
(113.) See supra note 111 text; see also infra App. A, Tbl. 1.
(114.) See infra App. A, Figs. 3-4, Tbls. 1-3.
(115.) See infra App. A, Tbls. 2-3.
(116.) 2010 Decennial Census, supra note 100; see also population aggregations maintained in author's files.
(117.) 2005 Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STAT. (download ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/special.requests/cew/2005/2005.all.county_high_level.zip, extract employment and business establishments data for Missouri and Missouri counties) (last accessed Dec. 30, 2012); see also employment and business establishment aggregations by county and circuit maintained in author's files.
(119.) Data download maintained in author's files, supra note 109; see also author's aggregations, tables and graphs prepared from that data download, included in this Note and maintained in author's files; circuit county composition map, supra note 100; and 2005 county, employment, and business establishment, supra notes 100, 116 and 117 and accompanying text.
(120.) See supra note 119 and accompanying text.
(123.) Id.; see also Regional Planning Boundaries in Greater Kansas City, MID-AMERICA REGIONAL COUNCIL (Dec. 2010), available at http://marc.org/gis/assets/Planning_boundaries .pdf (last visited Dec. 30, 2012).
(124.) See supra note 119 and accompanying text.
(125.) See infra App. A, Figs. 34, Tbl. 1.
(126.) Show Me Tort Reform: the Missouri Experience, supra note 14 ("Inner-city juries in St. Louis and Kansas City are much more sympathetic to plaintiff's cases than out-of-state juries. Quirky state law allowed tort lawyers from all over Missouri to move their trials to these two venues.").
(127.) Data maintained in author's files; see also tables and graphs prepared from that data download and included in this Note and Appendix A.
(129.) See supra notes 109, 127.
(130.) See data analysis maintained in author's files.
(131.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 4.
(132.) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STAT., http://data .bls.gov/pdq/querytool.jsp?survey=en (select state = Missouri; area = St. Louis City; in industries, select "NAICS 621 Ambulatory health care services" and "NAICS 622 Hospitals"; select ownerships = federal, state and local governments and private; select all establishment sizes; select all employees; select "get data" and aggregate) (last accessed Jan. 21, 2012); see also data download and aggregations maintained in author's files; see also tables and graphs prepared from that data download and included in this Note.
(133.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 4.
(134.) See supra note 132 (use note 132's data extraction process but substitute Greene County for St. Louis City) and infra App. A, Tbl. 4.
(135.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 4.
(136.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 5.
(139.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 6.
(143.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 7.
(146.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 7.
(148.) See generally FAQ Detail: How high are the damage awards for plaintiffs who prevail in general civil trials?, BUREAU OF JUST. STAT., http://bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=qa&iid =422 (last visited Apr. 5, 2013) (graph showing that in 2005 the median motor vehicle plaintiffs award was approximately $25,000 while the median medical practice award was approximately $400,000).
(150.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 8.
(154.) Data and aggregations maintained in author's files.
(156.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 9.
(159.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 8. See also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.111, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2130000111.HTM; MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.040, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2130000040.HTM; MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.045, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2130000045.HTM; Mo. REV. STAT. [section] 213.050, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2130000050 .HTM; MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.070, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/ 2130000070.HTM.
(160.) Christine Simmons, Accidental injury standard must be reviewed, court says--Lawyers say ruling is result of 2005 changes to workers' comp, MO. LAW. WKLY. (Dec. 19, 2011), http://molawyersmedia.com/blog/2011/12/19/accidental-injury-standard-must-be-reviewed -court-says/; see also Veto Message--Senate Substitute for Senate Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 572, Off of Mo. Governor Jay Nixon (Mar. 16, 2012), available at http:// governor.mo.gov/newsroom/pdf/2012/sb572veto.pdf; David A. Lieb, State COP to tackle workers' compensation, MO. LAW. WKLY., Dec. 31, 2012, at 5.
(161.) See generally supra Part III.
(162.) House Bill 393, supra note 28, at 8; see also MO. REV. STAT. [section] 213.111, available at http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C200-299/2130000111.HTM.
(163.) See infra App. A, Tbl. 9.
(164.) See generally supra Part III.
(165.) See generally supra Part III; and infra App. A, Figs. 1,3-4, Tbl. 1.
(166.) Watts, 376 S.W.3d at 637-46.
(167.) Bernard & Young, supra note 3; but see Jeffrey A. Herman, Physicians shouldn't fear end of damages cap, MO. LAW. WKLY., Sept. 10, 2012, at 8.
(168.) See generally Employment of Workers on Nonfarm Payrolls Monthly Data Not Seasonally Adjusted, MO. ECON. RES. & INFO. CENTER, http://www.missourieconomy.org/industry/ces/default.aspx (last visited Apr. 5, 2013) (in January 2013, 19,800 people were employed in the legal services industry in Missouri, down nearly 8 percent from a high of 21,500 in January 2007).
(169.) For example, in Jackson County Case No. 02CV235322 involving a hog farm and a March 22, 2010 verdict for neighbors harmed by smell, the "amount of judgment" data field says only "see text." In this relatively recent example, the total amount of the verdicts for the fifteen plaintiffs can be determined by reading the text of the .pdf "judgment entered" file available on the website, but that total is not available in the database itself for purposes of a bulk data analysis. Older cases do not generally have access to the text of judgment orders. See Missouri CaseNet, OFF. OF THE [Mo.] ST. CT. ADMIN., https://www.courts.mo.gov/casenet/ base/welcome.do.
(170.) About Our Papers, MO. LAW. WKLY., http://molawyersmedia.com/news/missourilawyers-weekly/(last visited May 25, 2013).
(171.) See Verdicts & Settlements, MO. LAW. WKLY., http://verdicts.molawyersmedia.com/ (last visited Apr. 5, 2013) (noting that at least some of the verdicts and settlements in the database are self-reported and that pre-2006 verdicts and settlements must be researched by searching the entire publication rather than the database).
(172.) Id. The author extracted all verdicts and settlements in the Missouri Lawyers Weekly database and compared the number included in that database to the number of cases filed in the Office of State Court Administrator records for the same period, as shown in Appendix A, Table 1. The extracted data and the calculation yielding the "less than 3 percent" statistic are maintained in the author's files.
(173.) See Honorable Richard B. Teitelman, Chief Justice, Mo. Supreme Court, 2012 State of the Judiciary Address, transcript available at https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id-51974 ("We also owe you many thanks for helping the courts with their efforts in the area of technology. The state court administrator's office has undertaken a remarkable cooperative effort to help make our records more accessible through electronic filing."); see also The Missouri Electronic Filing System, YOUR MISSOURI COURTS, https://www.courts.mo.gov/ page.jsp?id-50531 (last visited May 9, 2013); Missouri Electronic Filing Implementation Schedule, YOUR MISSOURI COURTS, http://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=46524.
(174.) See The Missouri Electronic Filing System, supra note 173.
(175.) Blunt, How Missouri Cut Junk Lawsuits, supra note 14 ("Malpractice insurers are also turning a profit for the filth year in a row--allowing other insurers to compete for business in Missouri. This will drive down costs, which will save government programs money as well as improve the system for patients. It will also leave doctors with more resources to invest in better care.").
(176.) Watts, 376 S.W.3d at 635-48.
(177.) Tort Reform Has Been Great for Missouri, supra note 14 (quoting an article in the Southeast Missourian, which stated as follows: "Blunt said 2007 numbers were not available, but that from 2005 to 2006, average settlement costs fell nearly 14 percent, and total claims against Missouri doctors dropped by 61 percent.").
(178.) Lauck, supra note 96, at 5.
(179.) 2013 Legislative Agenda, supra note 1. See also Scott Lauck, Med mal limits measure likely to return, MO. LAW. WKLY. (May 25, 2013), http://molawyersmedia.com/blog/2013/05/ 25/med-mal-limits-measure-likely-to-return/.
Barbara A. Geisman, J.D. (2013), Washington University School of Law. The author expresses her sincere and heartfelt thanks to Catherine Zacharias, Legal Counsel, Office of the State Courts Administrator, and her staff, who worked with me to obtain the electronic records that form the basis for this Note it would not have been possible without their help. The author also thanks the Missouri Judicial Records Committee, in particular the Honorable Jimmie Edwards, Chair, for approving her request for access to the records. Finally, the author thanks Helen Haskins, Court Administrator, 22nd Judicial Circuit, for setting me on the road to records access and to the 2011-12 and 2012-13 Journal of Law & Policy Editorial Boards for working with me to structure this Note and selecting it for publication.
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|Author:||Geisman, Barbara A.|
|Publication:||Washington University Journal of Law & Policy|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2013|
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