Multiparty Joinder and Venue: How Missouri is Acting Against Historic Procedural Law Principles in an Effort to Curb Forum Shopping
Missouri has a problem. St. Louis City has become such a haven for plaintiffs to achieve easy victories with large awards that Missouri courts are now considered the second-worst forum by businesses for litigation.1 State ex rel. Johnson & Johnson v. Burlison attempted to fix this problem by requiring stricter application of joinder and venue statutes. But, in doing so, the Missouri Supreme Court and Legislature are acting against the historical and philosophical underpinnings of procedural law. Rather than trying to fix the substantive issues for why plaintiffs would rather bring their cases in this state, this decision instead makes it harder for any and all plaintiffs to join in a lawsuit, even if it is most efficient to do so. Missouri is treating its symptoms, not curing its disease. By choosing the easy way out and abandoning the historical development of procedural law, Missouri residents may find it highly difficult or impossible to resolve their disputes arising in a modern world.