Missouri House approves bill to change multiple defendant payouts in civil suits
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Missouri House approves bill to change multiple defendant payouts in civil suits

Date: February 29, 2012
By: Cole Karr
State Capitol Bureau
Links: HB 1298

Intro: 
The Missouri House approved a bill and policy favored by pro-business groups that would change the way damages are awarded in civil cases.
RunTime:  0:47
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The measure paves the way to comparative negligence in civil suits.

This means those found guilty in multiple defendant cases would pay damages based on how much they are at fault.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce says this environment hurts businesses in court that are not fully at fault, but get stuck with 100 percent of the damages.

Republican Representative Mark Parkinson presented the bill, but Democratic Floor Leader Mike Talboy spoke out in opposition.

Actuality:  TORT1.WAV
Run Time:  00:12
Description: Parkinson: Gentleman, I just want to make sure the defendant- Talboy: Protected! Parkinson: No, no- Talboy: Yes, I get that. Parkinson: ...pays their proportional share of the damages. Talboy: And they do currently.

Talboy says Parkinson's bill takes the focus off of the injured person who did not do anything wrong.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Cole Karr.

Intro: 
Legislation approved in the Missouri House would change the way courts award damages are awarded in civil cases and policy that favors those in the business community.
RunTime:  0:54
OutCue:  SOC

Wrap: The change would treat those found guilty in multiple defendant civil court cases as separate but not joint parties.

This means each defendant would pay damages proportional to how much they are found to be liable.

Under current practice, if one defendant does not have adequate funds to pay the damages, then the other defendant must pick up the tab.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce says this environment hurts businesses in court that are not fully at fault, but get stuck with 100 percent of the damages.

Republican Representative Barney Fisher explains the proposed changes.

Actuality:  TORT2.WAV
Run Time:  00:10
Description: If you're 60 percent responsible, you don't have to pay... you don't get punished by paying 100 percent... if the other defendant has nothing... no assets... nothing.

St. Louis County Democratic Representative Rory Ellinger opposes the bill.

He asked why the current system should change if it works.

Reporting from the state Capitol, I'm Cole Karr.


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