The Appellate Court of Illinois, First Judicial District recently found that the COVID-19 pandemic was a factor that weighed against forum transfer in Bearden v. Conagra Foods, Inc. In this case, 45 plaintiffs brought a total of 39 product liability actions in the circuit court of Cook County against Conagra Foods, Inc., Conagra Brands, Inc., DS Containers, Inc., and Full-Fill Industries, LLC. Conagra Foods and the other defendants involved filed a combined motion to dismiss for forum non conveniens as to the out-of-state plaintiffs and a motion to transfer out of Cook County for the in-state plaintiffs. The circuit court issued a ruling without hearing argument dismissing the defendants’ motions and issued its findings.
The Eastern District of Missouri recently highlighted the importance of plain language, or the ordinary meaning doctrine, which suggests words in contracts should be given their everyday meaning unless the context of the contract indicates an alternative.
The Missouri Supreme Court has issued an opinion that could greatly impact the trajectory of tort law in the state. On July 22nd, 2021, the Court upheld Missouri’s non-economic damages cap for medical negligence claims and further held that it does not violate the Missouri Constitution’s right to trial by jury for the legislature to abolish personal injury causes of action existing in common law and replace by statute the same type of claim with new standards.