“Venue Shopping” Likely Returning to Pennsylvania

August 30, 2022

Pennsylvania Supreme Court rescinds medical liability venue restrictions

The Pennsylvania high court reversed a two-decades old rule last week that had required medical liability cases to be filed in the county where the alleged harm occurred. This potentially costly change for healthcare professionals and systems means plaintiffs and their lawyers will likely seek county courts (“venues”) in Pennsylvania where jurors are considered more sympathetic to plaintiffs and have routinely produced larger verdicts, such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
Twenty years ago, the Pennsylvania legislature, governor and Supreme Court adopted a number of changes to address what was then a crisis in the state’s medical liability tort system which had resulted in high premiums for physicians and concerns about the effect on medical care. This recent action, which amends the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, will be turning the clock back on the state as it existed prior to 2003 when medical liability lawsuits were consistently filed in more litigious venues.
The rule changes are to go into effect January 2023.
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