Blog: The Link Between Corporate Donations and Tort Reform

Missouri senators are rushing to pass legislation under the guise of “tort reform,” according to a recent blog by Langdon & Emison partner Mark Emison.  

According to Emison, these tort reform bills protect corporations from being sued by citizens who are injured or killed by their defective products.

Hefty campaign donations are driving senators to strip residents of their individual rights and protect big business. A recent article cites several proposed bills that would make it harder for residents to file lawsuits against companies over defective products, even those that harm large numbers of people.

For example, Senate Bill 596, sponsored by Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, would create a statute of repose for personal injury lawsuits in Missouri, placing a 10-year limit on claims involving defective products.

Similarly, Senate Bill 546, sponsored by Sen. Brian Muzlinger, R-Williamstown, would make it harder for residents to file class-action lawsuits against companies over defective products that harm hundreds, if not thousands of people. According to a recent article, one of the Republican party’s biggest Missouri donors, Tamko Roofing owner David Humphreys, has pushed this bill for several years.

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In fact, State Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican, tried recently to share a spreadsheet with his colleagues that explains who is behind various bills to protect corporations at the expense of Missouri residents.

The spreadsheet showed a total of $3 million dollars’ worth of campaign donations made by corporations and business owners who were facing lawsuits under Missouri’s Merchandising Practices Act, including $1.5 million in donations from Humphreys to state senators.

Unfortunately, corporations will continue to make defective products that seriously injure and kill innocent people, especially if they have legal protection. If these bills pass, corporations that cut corners and sell defective products will win and Missouri victims who are paralyzed or orphaned will lose.

About Langdon & Emison

Langdon & Emison is recognized as one of the nation’s leading personal injury law firms, having taken on some of the world’s largest corporations on behalf of injured people and their families in courtrooms from coast to coast. Langdon & Emison represented the plaintiff in Baker vs. General Motors, a landmark lawsuit where for the first time evidence was admitted into court proving an automaker’s deliberate choice of profits over human safety. With offices in Lexington and Kansas City (Mo.), St. Louis, and Chicago, the firm has earned a national reputation as a leader in auto defect cases, trucking accidents and a full array of personal injury litigation.