In his first State of the State address, Governor Eric Greitens made it clear he had a bone to pick with the Missouri judicial system. According to Greitens, it’s Missouri trial lawyers who file frivolous, “murky” lawsuits that have broken the system. While his attack on trial lawyers may make good sound bites for his supporters, it’s largely misguided, potentially influenced by ulterior motives, and, should his efforts result in sweeping tort reform, harmful to victims.
Governor Greitens, a Republican, may have been motivated to address judicial system issues in his address by the ongoing debate over civil justice reform in Missouri, including long-waging battles over damages caps and other changes to state laws that favor businesses and shield them from lawsuits that may require them to pay victims and families what they truly deserve. This is true of medical malpractice caps and laws passed in 2005 that took away juries’ power to award what they believe is just compensation – laws that were eventually overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court because they violated the state’s 7th Amendment right to a trial by jury.
As victims and our firm know full well, the battle is not about money or lawyers– though it seems to be a favored argument. It’s about the real people and families who would be affected by tort reform and caps that prevent them from recovering the compensation they need and from having recourse when they’re overpowered by Big Business. It’s about ensuring doctors and companies with legal obligations don’t shirk their duties to keep the public safe.
When Governor Greitens threatens trial lawyers and looks to diminish 7th Amendment protections in favor of businesses, he loses sight of the many individuals and the numerous families he could harm. These victims and their stories are real – you can read a few of them here – and the work of “nasty lawyers,” as Greitens referred to them in his address, is critical to ensuring justice, and to protecting the well-being of these real people.
Why the Civil Justice System is Important
At Meyerkord & Kurth, our lawyers have dedicated their personal and professional lives to fighting on behalf of the injured and the wronged, and to providing the bold and unwavering voice individuals and families need when they go up against Big Business after being harmed by negligence and money-motivated shortcuts. Our civil justice system exists as the forum for the little man to bring their complaints against those who have caused them harm, which can include insurance companies and corporations that fuel loss-mitigating legal arsenals with tremendous resources.
Although the civil justice system was intended to and should be blind, it is all too often tainted by the flood of money and the special interests of those who lobby against measures that ensure fairness for victims. As we’ve seen over the many years we’ve been representing victims and families throughout St. Louis, the state of Missouri, and the nation, these companies leverage their assets and resources to bat away valid claims made by those whom their negligence, violations, and wrongful acts have harmed.
In many civil cases, particularly those involving personal injury and medical malpractice, insurance companies and corporations do all they can to avoid paying out claims, or to paying as little as possible. Their motives are simply centered on protecting their pockets, not preserving the well-being of victims.
Because of this, victims rely on experienced lawyers to help them level the playing field – which is precisely what we do for our clients at Meyerkord & Kurth. It’s an age-old battle, and one we intend to wage so long as Big Business places profits over people. Our motives are not malicious nor are they shakedowns as Big Business and their constituents like to falsely claim. Our work is a necessity to ensure that there are checks and balances, to ensure that victims have the help needed to protect their rights when they’re outmatched, and to ensure that lax regulations and unfair laws don’t continue to harm the public or continue to victimize the wronged when they depend on full and fair compensation.