Issue: Under Mo. Rev. Stat. 510.263(8) is the financial condition of a defendant considered relevant as it relates to products liability cases in Missouri?
|Area of Law:||Litigation & Procedure, Personal Injury & Negligence|
|Keywords:||Products liability cases; Financial condition of defendant|
|Cited Cases:||55 F.3d 1339; 683 F.3d 671; 427 F.3d 700|
|Cited Statutes:||Mo. Rev. Stat. § 510.263(8)|
Mo. Rev. Stat. § 510.263(8) does not refer to discovery about a defendant’s “financial condition”; it refers to “[d]iscovery as to a defendant’s assets.” Mo. Rev. Stat. § 510.263(8) (emphasis added). “Assets” and “financial condition” are not the same thing. “Assets” refers to “the entire property of a person, association, corporation, or estate applicable or subject to the payment of debts: an item of value owned: the items on a balance sheet showing the book value of property owned.” Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (10th ed. 1995). “Financial condition” has a broader connotation and includes both assets and debts for a more complete picture of what a person owns and what a person owes; it refers to a person’s net worth. See Cadwell v. Joelson (In re Joelson), 427 F.3d 700, 705-07 (10th Cir. 2005) (“financial condition” as used in Bankruptcy Code refers “to the difference between an entity’s overall property and debts–the entity’s net worth”). Accord Bandi v. Bechnel (In re Bandi), 683 F.3d 671, 677 (5th Cir. 20120), cert. denied, 133 S. Ct. 845 (2013).FN1
[[[Further, Missouri law provides that “[i]t is well settled that when a plaintiff seeks punitive damages against a defendant, evidence of the defendant’s financial status is both relevant and admissible.” See State ex rel. Kubatzky v. Holt, 483 S.W.2d 799, 804 (Mo. Ct. App. 1972). Discovery of past financial information is often helpful in determining a party’s present financial status. See State ex rel. Ford […]