October 27, 2021

Volume XI, Number 300

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October 26, 2021

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October 25, 2021

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Missouri Protects Health Care Providers from Civil Actions Relating to COVID-19 Exposure

On July 7, 2021, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed SB 51 into law, which protects health care providers from being held liable in civil actions for COVID-19 exposure (the “Act”). These protections are extended to health care providers, manufacturers, and others who may have altered their practices to accommodate the changing needs of patients, customers, and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis. SB 51 amends chapter 537, RSMo, by adding broad sweeping measures, including:

  • Limiting liability for COVID-19 exposure claims unless a claimant can prove that a health care provider engaged in reckless or willful misconduct that caused an actual exposure and resulted in personal injury. An elective procedure that is delayed for good cause shall not be considered recklessness or willful misconduct.

  • Shortening statute of limitations. Specifically, a claimant may not commence a COVID-19 medical liability action in any Missouri court beyond one year after the discovery of the alleged harm, damage, breach, or tort unless tolled for proof of fraud, intentional concealment, or the presence of a foreign body, which has no therapeutic or diagnostic purpose or effect.

  • Limiting potential punitive damages that may be awarded in any COVID-19 related action to an amount not exceeding nine times the amount of compensatory damages.

Additionally, SB 51 creates a new cause of action replacing any such common law cause of action and preempts and supersedes any state law related to the recovery for personal injuries covered under a COVID-19 related action unless state law imposes stricter limits on damages or liabilities for personal injury. The provisions of the Act do not expand any liability or limit any defense otherwise available and will expire four years after the effective date.

To see the Current Bill Summary, click here.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 195
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About this Author

Keith Volpi Kansas City Shareholder Healthcare Litigation Polsinelli PC Polsinelli LLP
Shareholder

Keith Volpi is the Chair of Health Care Professional Liability practice group. He defends companies and individuals in high-stakes matters involving significant injuries and exposure in courtrooms, boardrooms and everywhere in between. His clients include health care entities, health care professionals, product manufacturers and companies in several other industries. Keith has unparalleled industry knowledge, top-flight litigation skills, and a deep understanding of business models and goals to protect his clients’ interests and bottom lines. His significant experience...

816-395-0663
Blake H. Reeves Polsinelli Shareholder Academic Medical Centers Health Care Industry Health Care Litigation
Shareholder

Blake Reeves combines the skills he developed as a trial lawyer with a broad knowledge of administrative law and health care regulations to represent health care clients in a variety of reimbursement disputes, government investigations, and administrative actions.

With over 15 years of health care litigation experience, Blake is able to advise clients on the legal implications of their day-to-day business operations in addition to advancing their business and legal interests in civil claims, regulatory investigations, and state agency disputes.

Blake focuses his practice on...

816-374-0560
Kasey Klenda Kansas City Healthcare Liability Lawyer Polsinelli PC Polsinelli LLP Law
Attorney

Kasey Klenda focuses his practice in the area of health care professional liability defense. Kasey represents hospital systems, physicians and other health care professionals throughout the litigation process. Prior to joining Polsinelli, Kasey represented both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of civil litigation cases, with an emphasis in personal injury, construction accidents and semi-tractor trailer collisions. Kasey's experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants gives him a unique perspective to evaluate cases from the outset, formulate effective...

816-360-4175
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