Venue / Joinder Reform: S.B. 7 (2019)


Provides that claims arising out of separate purchases of the

Provides that claims arising out of separate purchases of the same product or separate incidents involving the same product shall not be joined regardless of whether the claims arise out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences with a common question of law or fact. Expressly adopts the holding of State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson v. Burlison, No. SC96704, issued on February 13, 2019, as it relates to joinder and venue. If such terms are just, parties may be dropped, added, or severed by order of the court upon a motion by any party or by the court during any stage of the action. For the purposes of meeting the venue requirement, there is a rebuttable presumption that the principal place of residence for an individual is the county of voter registration at the time of the injury. For an individual whose employment conduct with a corporation is at issue in at least one count in the action, the principal place of residence shall be the corporation’s principal place of residence. When all defendants are nonresidents, proper venue in a non-tort action is any county in this state if there is personal jurisdiction over each defendant, independent of each other defendant. In tort actions where the plaintiff was first injured in Missouri, venue shall be the county where the plaintiff was first injured by the acts or conduct alleged in the action. In tort actions where the plaintiff was injured outside the state of Missouri and the defendant is an individual, venue for that individual plaintiff shall be the county of the defendant’s principal place of residence, which shall be that of his or her employer corporation if any count alleges conduct in the course of employment, or may be in the county of the plaintiff’s principal place of residence if located in Missouri on the date the plaintiff was first injured. If the county where the action is filed is not proper venue, the plaintiff shall be transferred to a county where proper venue can be established. If no such county exists, then the claim shall be dismissed without prejudice. If denied in error, a denial of a motion to transfer venue pursuant to this act is required to be reversed and no finding of prejudice is required for such reversal. For the purposes of meeting the venue requirement, an insurance company resides in the county where it maintains its registered office. A foreign insurance company without a registered office in any county in Missouri shall be deemed to reside in, and be a resident of, Cole County. At any time prior to the commencement of trial, if a plaintiff or defendant is added, removed, or severed from a petition filed in any Missouri court which would have if originally added, removed, or severed from the initial petition, altered the determination of venue, then the judge shall transfer the case to a proper forum upon application of any party. Currently, an order of dismissal in a products liability claim for a defendant whose liability is based solely on his or her status as a seller shall not divest a court of venue or jurisdiction that was proper at the beginning of the action. Further, the defendant seller dismissed in the action shall remain a party to such action for venue and jurisdiction purposes. This act repeals these provisions.

VENUE FOR PENDING CLAIMS (SECTIONS 1 AND 2) The provisions of this act shall apply to any action filed after February 13, 2019. A Missouri resident plaintiff may continue to trial in the venue as filed if the plaintiff has a case pending in a Missouri court as of February 13, 2019, has proper jurisdiction in Missouri, and such case has or had been set at any time prior to February 13, 2019, for a trial date beginning on or before August 28, 2019. For actions pending as of February 13, 2019, a plaintiff whose claim has been found to have no Missouri county in which venue exists may proceed in the Missouri venue where such claim was dismissed without prejudice if the court finds that the claim was filed in the Missouri court within the applicable statute of limitations, has no proper venue in Missouri, and cannot be maintained, as of August 28, 2019, in any other state where the claim may be brought because of applicable statutes of limitations and lack of a savings statute or similar law.

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