To read Tony Messenger’s March 16 column, Televangelist Jim Bakker tries to profit amid coronavirus pandemic. He won’t be alone, is to gaze through the trial lawyer looking glass.
In their world, businesses use a global health crisis to pass legislation that will harm consumers and hamstring prosecutors, while trial lawyers armed with lawsuits are the heroes.
In fact, it is the opposite.
Senate Bill 591, the fix to the Missouri Merchandise Practices Act (MMPA), helps consumers by ensuring that trial lawyers can’t take outrageously high fees in exchange for representing them in court—leaving consumers with pennies on the dollar. And it clears the courts from being clogged with junk lawsuits by certifying that only cases of true consumer harm are advanced in Missouri’s courts.
The bill does nothing to prohibit the state’s attorney general from pursuing any and all consumer fraud (including any alleged fraud related to the coronavirus).
If the House passes SB 591, Missouri courts will see fewer lawsuits like the 2017 case against Hershey over the amount of air in their candy boxes and more of cases of legitimate consumer fraud.
Mr. Messenger’s column is a plaintiffs’ lawyer smokescreen designed to keep the MMPA as the biggest tool in the toolbox for frivolous lawsuits with massive paydays.