JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.(NFIB Press Release) – Brad Jones, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, today called on the General Assembly to ensure that the state’s legal system is fair to all sides.

Jones’ comments  came in response to a report released today by the American Tort Reform Foundation that cited the City of St. Louis as No. 1 on its list of “Judicial Hellholes.”

“The ATRF’s report is a powerful reminder that we need a court system that treats everyone equally,” Jones said. “We don’t need a system that gives either side an unfair advantage.”

In a statement, the ATRF said, “This year, thanks to the Show Me Your Lawsuits State’s lax standard for expert testimony, ‘junk science’ is driving groundless lawsuits and monstrous verdicts that have made the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis the #1 ranked Judicial Hellhole…. The overwhelming majority of plaintiffs filing these suits are not from St. Louis, or even from Missouri. They travel from across the country to exploit a weak venue law as their lawyers spend heavily on television advertising that works to prejudice potential jurors against defendants.”

Jones said, “The fact of the matter is that small businesses are especially vulnerable to legal attacks.”

“Small businesses don’t have staff attorneys to smack down every nuisance suit or bogus accusation. What’s especially frustrating is that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether a small business did anything wrong. When a small business is sued, it often has to spend thousands of dollars to defend itself. Just one frivolous lawsuit can be enough to put a small business out of business, even if the business ends up ‘winning.’

“Missouri lawmakers are expected to introduce at least six civil justice reform bills in the legislative session that starts Jan. 4,” Jones said. “NFIB is looking forward to working with our elected leaders to ensure that Missouri has a legal environment where everyone is treated equally.”