I hear often that our freedoms and our rights are eroding away. How can that be?
The Constitution hasn't changed. The actual Bill of Rights hasn't changed.
Technically, in most ways, nothing has changed in so far as what our government sees as "inalienable rights."
And yet...things are changing. Government is getting bigger and it feels like the voices of the majority of "We The People" are getting weaker.
Several things are happening, but one of the issues that is happening behind the scenes and unbeknownst to nearly everyone is a shift in our statutes regarding civil liability.
If you intentionally or even mistakenly injure someone physically or damage someone's property, you could end up being responsible for paying the other person's losses. This is known as civil liability.
If our founding documents and our legislative process spell out your inalienable rights and add them to our statutes, then it is the court system that is the tool used to implement those rights when they have been infringed upon. After all, if you aren't able to exercise your rights or protect them, then you don't really have them, do you?
The courts are where grievances of all types are redressed.
The definition of redress is: 1) to set right. Remedy. 2) to make up for. Compensate.
You have a right of redress when someone has harmed you in some way. The legal way this is done is through the civil court system. The one who harms you is held liable for the damages. This is civil liability.
When the legislature begins to remove your ability to redress your grievances through the court system, they are infringing on your ability to set things right or be compensated for your loss.
The courts are the tool we use to enforce MANY of our individual liberties if we have been harmed by another person.
you're losing your right to sue someone who has harmed you
The Missouri legislators are quietly removing your rights to redress grievances. It's been happening for a while.
In 2021, the Missouri legislature passed SB 51, a Covid Liability bill. I worked throughout that session against the bill and we gave it a good fight but the medical lobby won in the end.
I know it's not the fault of one player when a team loses, but I will forever remember the one representative who brought the bill up again in a rules committee with a procedural maneuver and then another flipped his no vote to a yes, which was the lynch pin holding it back. Within a day, maybe less, it was a done deal and headed to the Governor's office.
That bill in '21 gave hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacists, and big business total immunity from liability with anything at all related to Covid. But guess what? Not you. You aren't immune. Small businesses aren't immune. Churches aren't immune. But if your elderly mom was neglected in a nursing home when you couldn't get in to see her - you're out of luck and your mom is probably dead.
They call it "tort reform" and say that they are trying to unburden our courts.
But what does that actually do? It creates two tiers. The ones who have no accountability & the ones who do.
If you have no accountability and can't be held liable, you are free to cut corners, do whatever you want and potentially do harm without any consequences.
However, if you aren't in that group that is immune then guess what? You'd better mind your P's and Q's. You might find yourself paying out big.
Sound fair?? Not to me, it doesn't.
sb 117 by Senator tony luetkemeyer
SB 117 is dangerous. There are 3 parts to this bill and you need to understand them.
1. Reduces the statute of limitations from 5 years to 2 years for personal liability regarding...
"An action for any injury to the person or rights of another, not arising on contract and not otherwise provided for by law, including actions for personal injury or bodily injury"
This means instead of having 5 years to sue someone for harm, you only have 2. Maybe in some cases that works. But for many, it doesn't.
- What if you had a wreck, suffered horrible physical injuries that left you jobless, enduring surgeries, therapies, etc.
- What if your children were hurt and. you were dealing with their recovery, therapies, etc?
- What if you just didn't realize you were sick or it took more than two years to get a diagnosis that was the result of a chemical or toxic exposure?
There are a lot of situations where you would be under an incredible amount of stress, occupied with health matters, etc. No one in these circumstances wants to take up a law suit and deal with the legal system when they are just trying to survive the trauma of what was done to them.
2. Reduces the statute of limitation in regard to uninsured and underinsured motorists from 10 years to 2 years.
"An action against an insurer relating to uninsured motorist coverage or underinsured motorist coverage, including any action to enforce such coverage."
This means you only have 2 years to redress your grievances with your insurance company if there's a problem. Interesting. They love to protect the insurance companies.
I don't hate insurance companies. My husband works for one and has for 30+ years. But let me assure you, the insurance companies are reinsured to the hilt and decreasing your ability to hold them accountable by 8 years isn't what's best for the people. Have you ever had insurance issues drag out for months or years at a time?? It can happen.
Maybe 10 years is too long. But 2? Hmm... that's a little extreme when the ones you are protecting are multi-million and billion dollar companies.
Also, this might very well cause the court system to clog up faster than it does now because it might actually force people to file suit when with more time for mediation it might have settled out of court.
3. Gives SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY to ALL 3rd party PRIVATE contractors of PUBLIC ENTITIES!
I can't scream this loud enough!! Take to heart the red print and all caps because I mean it!
Sovereign Immunity: Sovereign immunity refers to the fact that the government cannot be sued without its consent.
"Sovereign immunity was derived from British common law doctrine on the idea that the King could do no wrong. In the US, sovereign immunity typically applies to the federal government and state government but not to municipalities." - Cornell Law School
Lines 47 - 52 of Luetkemeyer's SB 117 say this:
"When acting within the scope of a government contract, private contractors of a public entity, excluding those private contractors provided for in section 210.114 shall have sovereign or governmental tort immunity to the same extent as a public entity, including any limitation on awards for liability provided for in section 537.610."
According the US Code, the definition of public entity is:
2. any department, agency, special purpose district or other instrumentality of a State or States or local government; and
3. the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, and any commuter authority (as defined in section 24102(4) of title 49).
who would be immune?
This means that ANY private contractor working for any government entity, the public school system, the State University system, fire/police/EMS departments, public transportation systems, etc. The actual list would be miles long. It would be so far reaching that there's no way to even truly comprehend how far this actually goes.
But here are a few examples:
- The State of Missouri
- Highway contractors...think road construction
- Database systems contractors.... think data leaks and security breaches including ERIC...VOTER REGISTRATION INFORMATION
- Classroom Wallet...the contracted provider for disbursing funds through the Treasurer's office for the ESA program.
- Equipment contractors... think faulty ANYTHING from sprinkler systems to voting machines to the food in the Truman Building cafeteria
- Universities in the Missouri State System
- University of Missouri Hospital systems - NO DOCTOR contracted through MU could be held liable for ANY issue of malpractice.
- Real Example: A knee replacement surgery was done on over 15 patients at University Hospital. The knee was defective. If this law passes, neither the surgeons or the manufacturer would be liable for those cases or be required to repair the damage done.
- Every other contract doing business with the universities. EVERY. CONTRACTOR.
- Missouri Public Schools
- Playground equipment providers
- SOFTWARE providers
- Bus drivers & transportation services
- Food services
- County & City Governments
- Equipment and gear for public safety workers...thing oxygen tanks for firefighters, police equipment, ambulance services, etc etc.
- Construction crews
Other than the obvious, the fact that you can't sue for something done wrong to you in all these different situations, the bigger problem is that they are continuing to separate us. There are different rules for different groups of people.
The government & anyone doing business with the government in ANY way - NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
The people, small businesses, churches, etc. - SORRY CHARLIE. YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK.
Not only are you out of luck as far as being held accountable for your own actions and following a different set of rules, but the government and their partners can now cut corners, be deceitful, and plan their business dealings with you knowing that they have ZERO accountability for ANYTHING.
Now, how you do think that's gonna work out???
current status of sb 117
SB 117 has passed committee in the Missouri Senate. It's on the calendar to be heard on the Senate floor. I'm hopeful we have senators willing to stand and fight for us. I've been reassured that is the case. However, at the first moment I see otherwise, I'll be sending out an SOS and begging you to help me fight against this UN-AMERICAN piece of junk!!
Call & email your own senator and let them know how you feel about this. Their phones need to be ringing off the hook! Be sure to ask them how they plan to vote. If they tell you, let me know the response you get. I'd love to know! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org