Cassis Updates MODL on Changes to Missouri's Punitive Damages and Consumer Protection Laws

Shook Associate Kerensa Cassis has authored an article (page 6) for the Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyer's (MODL's) Quarterly Report explaining comprehensive changes to Missouri's consumer-protection laws. "The American Tort Reform Foundation has ranked Missouri on its 'Judicial Hellhole' list for years, and estimates that excessive tort litigation in Missouri results in a loss of $2 billion in personal income annually and a loss of 32,205 jobs, resulting in a 'tort tax' of $505.21 per person," she explains. "Trial lawyers routinely take advantage of the broad and ambiguous nature of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA), which allows for attorney’s fees and punitive damages."

Cassis provides updates on several MMPA changes, including adjusted standards claimants must meet and changes to the amount of attorney's fees awarded in class actions. "Some lawyers have exploited the MMPA’s vagueness, turning it into a vehicle for lawsuit abuse and tarnishing the reputation of Missouri’s civil justice system,” Shook Partner Jennifer Artman told Cassis. “The new law does not affect the right of an individual to be fully compensated for any injuries actually sustained. It does, however, require claimants to meet a reasonable person and reasonable reliance standard while reducing the ability of creative lawyers to recover where the consumer has not experienced an actual loss.”