The collateral source rule provides that “in an action for compensatory damages the defendant will not be permitted to establish that the plaintiff did not actually sustain the amount of injury alleged, if diminution resulted from the conduct of a third person." In Washington v. Barnes Hospital, the Missouri Supreme Court confronted the issue of the rule's applicability to free public special education benefits.' The issue had only been addressed by the courts of a few states and was one of first impression in Missouri.' Adopting the minority position on the issue, the court abrogated the collateral source rule where the mitigation evidence offered was of a free governmental benefit, available to all citizens. The court's decision marked a clear break with the traditional application of the rule and may indicate that the court advocates a more serious questioning of the rationale behind the proposed exclusion.

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