MODOT wants its day in court on highway lawsuits - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

MODOT wants its day in court on highway lawsuits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri Department of Transportation wants its day in court when it's sued over injuries or deaths blamed on defective roads.

The agency says it pays out millions of dollars more than it needs to because it's often forced to go to arbitration instead of facing a jury. A 10-year-old law says MODOT must go to arbitration if a plaintiff requests it.

Arbitration cases are decided by a panel of three judges.

Now, the Senate Transportation Committee is considering legislation that would repeal the law that forces arbitration and let the highway department take its chances before a jury.

A MODOT lawyer told the committee at a recent hearing the change could save the state $2 million a year in legal fees.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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