SB 224, filed by Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, would align Missouri statute with federal court rules of discovery. Following lengthy debate over many hours in the Missouri Senate, the Senate gave initial approval to the bill. The compromise version may be viewed here. The bill received final approval by the Senate on May 6 and now moves to the House, where the bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 8:00 a.m.
The bill would help prevent multiple, and often frivolous/harassing, discovery and deposition requests, by limiting them to the number and standards as are used in federal courts in Missouri and many other states.
“Discovery accounts for about 75 percent of the time and cost of any civil lawsuit,” Sen. Luetkemeyer said. “This legislation streamlines that process and will lower the cost and reduce the length of court proceedings for all parties. Plaintiffs who have been wronged can receive settlements sooner, and defendants facing frivolous lawsuits can have them resolved with minimum delay and cost. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
“We are aware of cases where plaintiffs have abused the current law in an effort to harass defendants into settlement,” said Ray McCarty, President/CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM). “Adopting federal standards in this area would be beneficial to all who have claims in court and both sides would have to abide by the same rules,” he said in announcing AIM’s support for the measure.
The bill was also supported by many other businesses and groups when heard in committee. There are 9 legislative days left in the 2019 Legislative Session.