☰ Revisor of Missouri

Title XXVI TRADE AND COMMERCE

Chapter 407

Effective - 28 Aug 2020, 2 histories bottom

  407.025.  Civil action to recover damages — class actions authorized, when — procedure. — 1.  (1)  Any person who purchases or leases merchandise primarily for personal, family or household purposes and thereby suffers an ascertainable loss of money or property, real or personal, as a result of the use or employment by another person of a method, act or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020, may bring a private civil action in either the circuit court of the county in which the seller or lessor resides or in which the transaction complained of took place, to recover actual damages.

  (2)  A person seeking to recover damages shall establish:

  (a)  That the person acted as a reasonable consumer would in light of all circumstances;

  (b)  That the method, act, or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020 would cause a reasonable person to enter into the transaction that resulted in damages; and

  (c)  Individual damages with sufficiently definitive and objective evidence to allow the loss to be calculated with a reasonable degree of certainty.

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A court may dismiss a claim as a matter of law where the claim fails to show a likelihood that the method, act, or practice alleged to be unlawful would mislead a reasonable consumer.

  2.  The court may, in its discretion:

  (1)  Award punitive damages;

  (2)  Award to the prevailing party attorney's fees, based on the amount of time reasonably expended; and

  (3)  Provide such equitable relief as it deems necessary or proper to protect the prevailing party from the methods, acts, or practices declared unlawful by section 407.020.

  3.  No action may be brought under this section to recover damages for personal injury or death in which a claim can be made under chapter 538.

  4.  A cause of action under this section accrues on the date of purchase or lease described in subsection 1 of this section or upon receipt of notice of a method, act, or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020.

  5.  Persons entitled to bring an action pursuant to subsection 1 of this section may, if the unlawful method, act or practice has caused similar injury to numerous other persons, institute an action as representative or representatives of a class against one or more defendants as representatives of a class, and the petition shall allege such facts as will show that these persons or the named defendants specifically named and served with process have been fairly chosen and adequately and fairly represent the whole class, to recover damages as provided for in subsection 1 of this section.  The plaintiff shall be required to prove such allegations, unless all of the members of the class have entered their appearance, and it shall not be sufficient to prove such facts by the admission or admissions of the defendants who have entered their appearance.  The class representative or representatives shall establish:

  (1)  That the representative or representatives acted as a reasonable consumer would in light of all circumstances;

  (2)  That the method, act, or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020 would cause a reasonable person to enter into the transaction that resulted in damages; and

  (3)  Individual damages with sufficiently definitive and objective evidence to allow the loss to be calculated with a reasonable degree of certainty.

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All other members of the class shall establish individual damages in a manner determined by the court.  In any action brought pursuant to this section, the court may in its discretion order, in addition to damages, injunction or other equitable relief and reasonable attorney's fees.  Attorney's fees, if awarded, shall bear a reasonable relationship to the amount of the judgment.  When the judgment grants equitable relief, the attorney's fees shall be based on the amount of time reasonably expended.

  6.  An action may be maintained as a class action in a manner consistent with Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Missouri rule of civil procedure 52.08 to the extent such state rule is not inconsistent with the federal rule if:

  (1)  The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable;

  (2)  There are questions of law or fact common to the class;

  (3)  The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class; and

  (4)  The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class; and, in addition

  (5)  The prosecution of separate action by or against individual members of the class would create a risk of:

  (a)  Inconsistent or varying adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would establish incompatible standards of conduct for the party opposing the class; or

  (b)  Adjudications with respect to individual members of the class which would as a practical matter be dispositive of the interests of the other members not parties to the adjudications or substantially impair or impede their ability to protect their interests; or

  (6)  The party opposing the class has acted or refused to act on grounds generally applicable to the class, thereby making appropriate final injunctive relief or corresponding declaratory relief with respect to the class as a whole; or

  (7)  The court finds that the questions of law or fact common to the members of the class predominate over any questions affecting only individual members, and that a class action is superior to other available methods for the fair and efficient adjudication of the controversy.  The matters pertinent to the findings include:

  (a)  The interest of members of the class in individually controlling the prosecution or defense of separate actions;

  (b)  The extent and nature of any litigation concerning the controversy already commenced by or against members of the class;

  (c)  The desirability or undesirability of concentrating the litigation of the claims in the particular forum;

  (d)  The difficulties likely to be encountered in the management of a class action.

  7.  (1)  As soon as practicable after the commencement of an action brought as a class action, the court shall determine by order whether it is to be so maintained.  An order pursuant to this subdivision may be conditional, and may be altered or amended before the decision on the merits.

  (2)  In any class action maintained pursuant to subdivision (7) of subsection 6 of this section, the court shall direct to the members of the class the best notice practicable under the circumstances, including individual notice to all members who can be identified through reasonable effort.  The notice shall advise each member that:

  (a)  The court will exclude such member from the class if such member so requests by a specified date;

  (b)  The judgment, whether favorable or not, will include all members who do not request exclusion; and

  (c)  Any member who does request exclusion may, if such member desires, enter an appearance through such member's counsel.

  (3)  The judgment in an action maintained as a class action pursuant to subdivision (5) of subsection 6 of this section or subdivision (6) of subsection 6 of this section, whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and describe those whom the court finds to be members of the class.  The judgment in an action maintained as a class action pursuant to subdivision (7) of subsection 6 of this section, whether or not favorable to the class, shall include and specify or describe those to whom the notice provided in subdivision (2) of this subsection was directed, and who have requested exclusion, and whom the court finds to be members of the class.

  (4)  When appropriate an action may be brought or maintained as a class action with respect to particular issues, or a class may be divided into subclasses and each subclass treated as a class, and the provisions of this section shall then be construed and applied accordingly.

  8.  In the conduct of actions to which this section applies, the court may make appropriate orders:

  (1)  Determining the course of proceedings or prescribing measures to prevent undue repetition or complication in the presentation of evidence or argument;

  (2)  Requiring, for the protection of the members of the class or otherwise for the fair conduct of the action, that notice be given in such manner as the court may direct to some or all of the members of any step in the action, or of the proposed extent of the judgment, or of the opportunity of members to signify whether they consider the representation fair and adequate, to intervene and present claims or defenses, or otherwise to come into the action;

  (3)  Imposing conditions on the representative parties or on intervenors;

  (4)  Requiring that the pleadings be amended to eliminate therefrom allegations as to representation of absent persons, and that the action proceed accordingly;

  (5)  Dealing with similar procedural matters.

  9.  A class action shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court, and notice of the proposed dismissal or compromise shall be given to all members of the class in such manner as the court directs.

  10.  Upon commencement of any action brought pursuant to subsection 1 of this section, the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall inform the clerk of the court in which such action is brought, on forms to be provided by such clerk, that the action is brought pursuant to this section.  The clerk of the court shall forthwith inform the attorney general of the commencement of such action, together with a copy of the complaint or other initial pleading, and, upon entry of any judgment or decree in the action, the clerk shall mail a copy of such judgment or decree to the attorney general.

  11.  Any permanent injunction, judgment or order of the court made pursuant to section 407.100 shall be prima facie evidence in an action brought pursuant to this section that the respondent used or employed a method, act or practice declared unlawful by section 407.020.

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(L. 1973 H.B. 55, A.L. 1985 H.B. 96, et al., A.L. 1999 S.B. 1, et al., A.L. 2000 H.B. 1509, A.L. 2020 S.B. 591)

CROSS REFERENCE:

Applicability of statute changes for cases filed after August 28, 2020, 510.262

(2001) Placing a bet at casino blackjack table is not a purchase within meaning of section.  Ziglin v. Players MH, L.P., 36 S.W.3d 786 (Mo.App.E.D.).

(2005) Claim for punitive damages under section requires determination by jury.  Scott v. Blue Springs Ford Sales, Inc., 176 S.W.3d 140 (Mo.banc).


---- end of effective   28 Aug 2020 ----

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407.025 8/28/2020
407.025 8/28/2000 8/28/2020

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