Thursday, July 2, 2020
On Wednesday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill overhauling that state's punitive damages regime. The bill codifies a standard of punitive damages in which the "defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others." In medical malpractice cases, the standard is more stringent, "the health care provider intentionally caused damage or demonstrated malicious misconduct. Evidence of negligence, including indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others, does not constitute intentional conduct or malicious misconduct." The bill also requires punitive damages be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Moreover, punies may not be alleged in the complaint, but may only be added by permission of the court no later than 120 days prior to the final pretrial conference or trial date. The Missouri Times has the story.