Monday, February 4, 2019
Yesterday's The Patriot-News (Harrisburg) featured a front-page article by David Wenner entitled "Is the deck stacked against patients?". In 2002, during the middle of an alleged crisis in malpractice, the legislature passed a law that, among other things, added a certificate of merit requirement and restricted venue to the place of the alleged malpractice. The latter was largely aimed at keeping cases out of Philadelphia, where juries tend to be more liberal on both liability and damages. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted the venue restriction into the rules of civil procedure, fixing a constitutional problem with the legislation. Since the reforms, the number of cases filed in Pennsylvania has been cut nearly in half. A committee of the Supreme Court is now considering eliminating the rule against venue shopping. The article contains prominent voices on both sides of the issue debating the merits.