Senate Bill No. 591, which was Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed by the Missouri General Assembly on May 12, 2020, modifies four statutes regulating punitive damages in civil cases. At the forefront of the bill is the new and heightened burden of proof resting on a plaintiff wishing to bring a punitive damages claim against a defendant. Under Section 510.263.1, a plaintiff must prove by “clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.” The bill will be sent to the Governor for approval and signing. If signed by the Governor, the provisions in the act shall apply to any civil cause of action filed on or after the effective date of August 28, 2020.
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