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By Ben Embry

Kansas City, MO – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says Missouri's legal climate for businesses is improving. In a report to be released today, the group - which lobbies to limit lawsuits against companies - saluted the state for business-friendly changes the Republican-led Legislature pushed through last year that keeps lawyers from shopping around for easy places to file civil lawsuits against companies and places caps on medical malpractice suits. But consumer groups call the study dishonest and an unfair defense of corporate wrongdoers. Joanne Doroshow, executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy, says the survey reflects nothing more than the Chamber's political agenda to limit legitimate lawsuits and accountability for corporate wrongdoers. The study says West Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois are the worst states for companies, while Delaware is the best. The national rankings will be released this morning at a news conference in St. Louis, where Chamber president Tom Donohue will speak.

Former U.S. Attorney Todd Graves has joined with Missouri Sen. Matt Bartle and David Marcus to form the law firm Graves, Bartle and Marcus. The Kansas City Business Journal reports Bartle and Marcus founded the firm last July, with Graves joining the Kansas City-based firm after resigning as U-S Attorney earlier this month. Bartle and Graves have known each other since both were students at the University of Missouri in Columbia and have worked together on political campaigns. Graves says he has no specific plans to seek office but will be working behind the scenes on political campaigns.

Several Kansas landfills are exploring the idea of turning methane gas into fuel for homes and industry. In Liberal, a new gas collection system at the Seward County landfill will help supply the National Beef packing plant with power. Mike Tabor of the Seward County landfill said they have an indefinite supply of gas, and that the 100-thousand dollar system there will pay for itself in about six months.


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