Venue Changes in Missouri.


For those of us who practice in Missouri and defend trucking companies, we are painfully aware that venue (where the lawsuit is filed) makes a difference. For years, we have tried to avoid defending claims in the City of St. Louis and Jackson County (Kansas City). Those jurisdictions have been typically known as “liberal” venues wherein jury verdicts and settlements are substantially higher. Prior to August 2005 when Missouri changed its venue statute, plaintiffs were amazingly creative in establishing venue in St. Louis or Kansas City for accidents which occurred in out-state Missouri. Fortunately, as part of Missouri’s tort reform in 2005, most of the venue shopping involving tractor-trailer accidents has ceased. Under the new law, venue is established where the accident occurs. No longer can plaintiffs who were involved in accidents in rural or conservative counties in Missouri find some remote connection to St. Louis or Kansas City and file suit there.