Bill in Missouri Legislature May Limit Consumer Protections for Plaintiffs
A bill currently in the Missouri Legislature threatens to limit consumer protections in Missouri. The proposal, Senate Bill 5, specifically changes current laws relating to unlawful merchandising practices, class actions, and products liability claims in Missouri, making it harder for plaintiffs in those types of cases to recover for their injuries.
Many consumer groups, including the Consumers Council of Missouri, contend that the proposal is of great concern, and will place plaintiffs at a disadvantage when attempting to hold a business responsible for unfair practices. Cara Spencer of the Consumers Council of Missouri warns that the proposal “paves the way for widespread deceptive business practices” that will undercut not only consumers, but also businesses that don’t engage in deceptive or harmful practices. In particular, the group warns that the bill makes it more difficult to fight against actions such as improper home foreclosures, vehicle repossessions, and false credit reporting.
The bill is just one of many proposed acts aimed at fulfilling Governor Eric Greitens’ campaign promise of loosening regulations on businesses. Proponents of the bill claim that the proposal will reduce the cost to businesses of litigating frivolous lawsuits. Opponents, such as the Consumers Council, are dismissive of these claims. According to the Council, in each year since 2010 the number of cases filed under the Merchandising Practices Act, which Senate Bill 5 aims to amend, has been less than 100.
For the full text of the proposal, and to track the Bill’s progress, click here.