The House and Senate will return to Harrisburg next week for the New Year and the second half of the 2017-2018 legislative session. There are dozens of bills we are tracking and working on, but a few rise to the top as potentially seeing action during the first half of the year.
HB 544: HB 544 limits the liability of landowners who open their land for recreational use. This bill passed the House and is currently pending action in the Senate.
HB 1027: HB 1027 establishes a state False Claims Act. The PCCJR opposes this bill. You may hear about this in the context of the state budget.
HB 1037: HB 1037 caps punitive damages in suits against nursing facilities (including nursing homes and skilled care for senior citizens) to 250% of compensatory damages. The bill passed the House Judiciary Committee and is now before the full House.
HB 1840 and SB 963: These bills re-establish Impairment Rating Evaluations under the Worker’s Compensation Act. The previous law was struck down by the state Supreme Court due to improper delegation.
SB 936: SB 936 establishes a prescription drug formulary for Workers Compensation. The bill passed the Senate and is scheduled for a vote in House Labor and Industry Committee on Monday, January 22.
PCCJR is On-the-Air!
This Monday, January 22nd marks WFYL Radio’s premier broadcast of Lawsuit Watch; a 30-minute program dedicated to exploring the impact of lawsuits on individuals, Pennsylvania, and our economy. Hosted by PCCJR’s Executive Director Curt Schroder, the program will engage listeners in a conversation asking: Why are there so many lawsuits? Who actually benefits from lawsuits? What can be done to prevent lawsuit abuse?
Listen to the promo here!
Be sure to tune in and spread the word! Lawsuit Watch will air on the fourth Monday of every month at 8:30 am on WFYL 1180 am. Not in the listening area? WFYL broadcasts live over the web and will post the program as a podcast after each airing.
Reversals, Sidebars and Drama – Xarelto Litigation
In a courtroom stunner, a Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas judge overturned last month’s astonishing $27.8 million jury award in a Xarelto lawsuit. The ruling came after the judge considered motions to reverse the verdict. The December verdict was Bayer and Johnson & Johnson’s first loss in litigation related to the medicine. It was also the first of 1,400 Xarelto-related cases currently in Philadelphia court. PCCJR reported on this verdict which came down on the very same day ATRA released its Judicial Hellholes Report.
According to a Reuters news report:
Judge Michael Erdos, in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, ruled following a hearing on the drugmakers’ motion to reverse the December verdict, which was their first trial loss in litigation over the blood thinner, the companies said.
J&J’s Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc unit and Bayer, which
jointly developed Xarelto, in separate statements welcomed
the decision and said they will continue to defend against
the allegations in related litigation.
A sidebar saga in the case caused additional courtroom drama in the form of the plaintiffs’ attorneys use of courtroom photos on social media – one of which included an inflammatory hash tag: #killinnazis. Bayer, one of the developers of Xarelto, is based in Leverkusen, Germany.
Judge Michael Erdos revoked the pro hac vice admission to the court of Ned McWilliams, of the Florida-based Levin Papantonio Thomas Mitchell and Rafferty Proctor and ordered Emily Jeffcott of New Orleans-based The Lambert Firm to pay $2,500 and perform 25 hours of community service in Philadelphia. Both posted photographs of the trial in progress on social media. McWilliams posted on Instagram a picture of an empty courtroom with the hash tag #killinnazis. Jeffcott posted on Instagram a picture of Erdos on the bench during the trial, which was later used in her firm’s promotional materials.
The Legal Intelligencer quoted Judge Erdos calling the conduct “well beneath the dignity of the legal profession.” Read the full Legal Intell story here (pay wall may apply).
You can’t make this up! — Rosenbaum vs. Morgan and Morgan
Two law firms known for their personal injury work are locking horns in a lawsuit over deceptive advertising practices. The dispute between the law firms of Philadelphia-based Jeff Rosenbaum and Orlando-based Morgan and Morgan stems from the claim that Morgan and Morgan misrepresents itself as a Pennsylvania practice in their advertising, causing the Rosenbaum firm to lose business. You can read more about the feud in this article by The Legal Intelligencer (pay wall may apply)
In the mean time, check out this ad from Rosenbaum. Bragging rights and kudos in our next report to the first person who can report back to PCCJR’s Executive Director Curt Schroder firstname.lastname@example.org the irony contained in Jeff Rosenbaum’s commercial proclaiming that he is a “Pennsylvania lawyer” who grew up right outside of Philly!