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SB 591 - Limits Punitive Damage Payouts - Missouri Key Vote

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Title: Limits Punitive Damage Payouts

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that limits punitive damage payouts relating to civil lawsuits on or after August 28, 2020.

Highlights:

 

  • Authorizes a person who purchases or leases merchandise primarily for personal, family or household purchases and suffers an ascertainable loss of money or property as the result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act, or practice that has been declared unlawful, to bring a private civil action in either the circuit county court to recover actual damaged (Sec. 407.025).

  • Prohibits punitive damages from being rewarded unless the claimant proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others (Sec. 510.261).

  • Specifies that punitive damages will only be recovered if the trier of fact awards more than nominal damages or if the claim or claims for which nominal damages are solely awarded invoke privacy rights, property rights, or rights protected by the United States or Missouri Constitutions (Sec. 510.261).

  • Authorizes punitive damages to be awarded against an employer or other principal because of an act by an agent, but only if (Sec. 510.261):

    • The principal or a managerial agent of the principal authorized the doing and the manner of the act; 

    • The agent was unfit and the principal or a managerial agent of the principal was reckless in employing or retaining them; 

    • The agent was employed in a managerial capacity and was acting in the scope of employment; or 

    • The principal or managerial agent of the principal ratified or approved the act.

  • Requires a person seeking to recover damages to establish (Sec. 407.025):

    • That the person acted as a reasonable consumer would in light of all circumstances; 

    • That the method, act, or practice declared unlawful would cause a reasonable person to enter into the transaction that resulted in damages; and

    • Individual damages with sufficiently definitive and objective evidence to allow the loss to be calculated with a reasonable degree of certainty. 

  • Authorizes a court to dismiss a claim as a matter of law where the claim fails to show a likelihood that the method, act, or practice alleged to be unlawful would mislead a reasonable consumer (Sec. 407.025).

  • Authorizes the court to, in its discretion (Sec. 407.025):

    • Award punitive damages;

    • Award to the prevailing party attorney’s fees; and 

    • Provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper to protect the prevailing party from the methods, act, or practices declared unlawful. 

  • Specifies that no action may be brought to recover damages for personal injury or death in which a claim can be made under chapter 538 (Sec. 407.025).

  • Specifies that a cause of action under this act accrues on the date of purchase or lease or upon receipt of notice of a method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful (Sec. 407.025).

  • Defines “punitive damage award” as an award for punitive or exemplary damages, or an award for aggravative circumstances (Sec. 510.261).

  • Establishes the following actions to be unlawful practices (Sec. 407.020):

    • The act, use, or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice; 

    • The concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce; and

    • The solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose.

See How Your Politicians Voted

Title: Limits Punitive Damage Payouts

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that limits punitive damage payouts relating to civil lawsuits on or after August 28, 2020.

Highlights:

 

  • Authorizes a person who purchases or leases merchandise primarily for personal, family or household purchases and suffers an ascertainable loss of money or property as the result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act, or practice that has been declared unlawful, to bring a private civil action in either the circuit county court to recover actual damaged (Sec. 407.025).

  • Prohibits punitive damages from being rewarded unless the claimant proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others (Sec. 510.261).

  • Specifies that punitive damages will only be recovered if the trier of fact awards more than nominal damages or if the claim or claims for which nominal damages are solely awarded invoke privacy rights, property rights, or rights protected by the United States or Missouri Constitutions (Sec. 510.261).

  • Authorizes punitive damages to be awarded against an employer or other principal because of an act by an agent, but only if (Sec. 510.261):

    • The principal or a managerial agent of the principal authorized the doing and the manner of the act; 

    • The agent was unfit and the principal or a managerial agent of the principal was reckless in employing or retaining them; 

    • The agent was employed in a managerial capacity and was acting in the scope of employment; or 

    • The principal or managerial agent of the principal ratified or approved the act.

  • Requires a person seeking to recover damages to establish (Sec. 407.025):

    • That the person acted as a reasonable consumer would in light of all circumstances; 

    • That the method, act, or practice declared unlawful would cause a reasonable person to enter into the transaction that resulted in damages; and

    • Individual damages with sufficiently definitive and objective evidence to allow the loss to be calculated with a reasonable degree of certainty. 

  • Authorizes a court to dismiss a claim as a matter of law where the claim fails to show a likelihood that the method, act, or practice alleged to be unlawful would mislead a reasonable consumer (Sec. 407.025).

  • Authorizes the court to, in its discretion (Sec. 407.025):

    • Award punitive damages;

    • Award to the prevailing party attorney’s fees; and 

    • Provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper to protect the prevailing party from the methods, act, or practices declared unlawful. 

  • Specifies that no action may be brought to recover damages for personal injury or death in which a claim can be made under chapter 538 (Sec. 407.025).

  • Specifies that a cause of action under this act accrues on the date of purchase or lease or upon receipt of notice of a method, act, or practice declared to be unlawful (Sec. 407.025).

  • Defines “punitive damage award” as an award for punitive or exemplary damages, or an award for aggravative circumstances (Sec. 510.261).

  • Establishes the following actions to be unlawful practices (Sec. 407.020):

    • The act, use, or employment by any person of any deception, fraud, false pretense, promise, misrepresentation, unfair practice; 

    • The concealment, suppression, or omission of any material fact in connection with the sale or advertisement of any merchandise in trade or commerce; and

    • The solicitation of any funds for any charitable purpose.

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