May 20, 2020

Washington Legal Foundation article on Missouri punitive damages reform

Anyone interested in Missouri's recent legislation on punitive damages can find a summary in this WLF Legal Opinion Letter, written by Mark Behrens and Jennifer Artman of Shook Hardy & Bacon.

Some highlights: (1) the law limits punitive damages to cases in which “defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others,” (2) the law codifies the requirement that plaintiffs must prove these facts by clear and convincing evidence, and (3) plaintiffs cannot seek punitive damages in their initial complaint, and can add a punitive damages claim only after presenting the judge with evidence establishing a reasonable basis for imposing punitive damages.