Missouri Senate Bill 224 Makes Big Changes to Discovery in the State

Missouri Senate Bill 224 Makes Big Changes to Discovery in the State

Governor Mike Parsons recently signed a bill into law that will impact the discovery process in cases that reach litigation. Under Senate Bill 224, Missouri Supreme Court Rule 56.01 introduced a new “proportionality” test to discovery that may serve to advantage the defendants in many cases where your damages are not catastrophic.

What Does the Proportionality Test Do?

Essentially, the “proportionality” test is a new opportunity for the parties to object to the scope of discovery requests in cases by saying they would have to do too much work or pay too much money to answer them properly in a relatively small case. In other words, the defense can simply say it is “not worth their time” to respond to the inquiries of the opposition’s representation, no matter how pressing or important those inquiries might be. It is expected that defense lawyers will soon be experimenting with the “proportionality” test to see what each judge thinks what is and what is not proportional for various cases.

What Else Does SB 224 Do?

The 27-page SB 224 also makes a number of other legal changes relevant to personal injury cases:

  • A court must also limit discovery if it believes the discovery is cumulative, duplicative, not relevant, or that the party seeking discovery had ample opportunity to obtain the information on their own.
  • A new “clawback” provision now exists if privileged communications are accidently sent over to the opposition.
  • No more than 25 written interrogatories, including all discrete subparts, may be served by a party upon another party.
  • New limits on depositions were created. Counsel will need a leave of court to take depositions that have not been stipulated to by parties, or to re-depose a witness, or if a deposition is sought within 30 days after service of summons and petition, or if deponent is confined in prison.
  • Depositions are also now limited to 1 day of 7 hours. Additional time may be allowed with the court’s approval.
  • Sanctions are now imposable by the court if a person impedes, delays, or frustrates the fair examination of the deponent.
  • No more than 25 Requests for Admissions (RFAs) from one party to another are permitted. Exception can be made for RFAs regarding genuineness of documents.
  • New changes will be made to the statutes surrounding Requests for Productions (RFPs) involving electronically stored information and other “intangible” items.

Although not part of SB 224, Governor Parsons also signed a bill requiring uninsured and underinsured cases to be filed in the county of the accident. This is bad news if the accident did not occur in St. Louis City, where such cases were routinely filed before this change in venue laws.

(You can learn more about Missouri’s SB 224 by clicking here and visiting LegiScan.)

Ready & Prepared St. Louis Attorneys – Cantor Injury Law

At Cantor Injury Law, we take our jobs as personal injury attorneys seriously. We know that we represent people in difficult times who need help now more than ever. As such, we stay atop all legal changes in Missouri and beyond that might affect our clients’ cases. We have studied Senate Bill 224, anticipate how it will likely alter cases with its changes to discovery, and know how to react in turn. In other words, our initiative can become your advantage when you need help filing an injury claim in Missouri.

Call us at (314) 485-4005 or contact us online to learn more about our services and how we can be of assistance after you or a loved one are in a bad accident.

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