The legislature was in session the week of December 11 and is now in recess until the beginning of next year. This was PCCJR’s inaugural year – and what a year it has been! Working with our partners in business, professional trade associations, health care providers, nonprofits and taxpayers, we have taken many steps forward in our mission to bring fairness to Pennsylvania’s courts and our legal system. Here are a few highlights of 2017:
- The state Senate passed S.B. 936 – a workers compensation reform measure in response to profiteering by attorney owned pharmacies and questionable products prescribed for injured workers. The PCCJR took on this issue in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- The U.S. Senate voted to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s anti-arbitration/pro-class actions rule.
- PCCJR’s Spring film premier of the documentary UnSettled: Inside the Strange World of Asbestos Lawsuits lead to a statewide television broadcast on PCN in October.
- PCCJR surveyed the statewide judicial candidates for Commonwealth, Superior and Supreme Courts and published their responses and a Voters Guide online.
- H.B. 401, a bill that would allow the Superior Court to create a Commerce Court program for complex business cases within the current Superior Court structure, passed the state House.
- A PCCJR-penned opinion editorial discussing Pennsylvania’s current court system’s role in the commonwealth’s lagging economy caught the eye of newspaper editors around the state. You can read that editorial here.
- PCCJR members helped block a False Claims bill. Leadership in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and individual House members heard from our members about their opposition to the bill, which would encourage lawsuits in order to close the state budget revenue gap. As a result, no action was taken on the bill.
- HB 1152, which provides civil immunity for any damage to a car resulting from entering the car by force to rescue an occupant, passed the House unanimously. It now awaits Senate action.
- HB 544 also passed the house unanimously to protect landowners who want to allow their land to be used for recreational purposes such as hunting, fishing, biking and boating without fear of lawsuits.
Of course, there is still much work to do! Just a few weeks ago, The American Tort Reform Association (ATRA) designated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania one of its top “Judicial Hellholes” in the country and put our current PA Supreme Court on its watch list! That very same day, a Philadelphia judge awarded a whopping $27.8 million to a plaintiff in a Xarelto trial. No doubt, that verdict that will make it into the “American Museum of Tort Law” just outside of Hartford, Connecticut. That museum alone is proof that trial lawyers will always look for creative new ways to justify their trade to the public. As you read about the museum, envision all the students on class trips who will be indoctrinated on the benefit of tort lawsuits!! You can count on PCCJR to continue to fight efforts to distract attention from huge contingency fees, the suppression of job creation, and increasing costs for health care brought about by hyper-litigious lawyers.
Your dedication and support have been an essential ingredient in PCCJR’sfirst year of success. Thank you for helping us increase awareness about civil justice issues and focus on legal reforms that address lawsuit abuse and a fair and balanced court system.
Here is to even more success in the New Year!
Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform
P.S. – Do you know an organization or person impacted by abusive lawsuits or interested in legal and court reforms? Easily share PCCJR membership information with this link.