Governor Parson Signs SB 591 Regarding Punitive Damages and Unlawful Merchandising Practices

JULY 1, 2020

 — Today, Governor Mike Parson signed SB 591 modifying provisions relating to civil actions, including punitive damages and unlawful merchandising practices. 

“Protecting Missouri businesses and equipping them with the tools to succeed has always been a priority of my administration,” Governor Parson said. “I am proud to sign SB 591, which will stop the unfair and unreasonable litigation our businesses face. This bill shows that Missouri is open for business and strikes a fair balance between protecting Missouri employers and employees from frivolous claims while ensuring the ability of those harmed to seek relief in court.” 

SB 591 raises the standard for punitive damages, providing that punitive damages can only be awarded if the plaintiff proves by “clear and convincing evidence” that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others. 

In addition to punitive damage provisions, SB 591 restores integrity in the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act by considering objective measures to determine actual damages and rein in attorneys’ fees. 

The legislation also gives consumers a choice between accepting an express warranty and waiving the warranty in lieu of filing a claim under the MMPA.

To view SB 591, click here