Missouri Senate backs new limits on punitive damages

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Missouri Senate Chamber_-3851318142488001446

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican-led Senate has advanced a bill tightening rules for punitive damages in liability lawsuits.

The vote Wednesday came after Republicans agreed to set aside a separate bill opposed by Democrats that dealt with lawsuits over asbestos-related illnesses. Democrats had staged an overnight filibuster against the asbestos lawsuit bill.

Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said the punitive damages bill is a top priority for Republicans. It would allow juries to award punitive damages only when plaintiffs prove by clear and convincing evidence that defendants “intentionally harmed” someone without just cause or acted with “deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.”

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