PCCJR Update — May 17, 2019

New Appointments * Venue Shopping Mobilization * Who Started Med-Mal Debate? * In the News

New Appointments to the Civil Procedural Rules Committee

The Supreme Court has made two new appointments to the Civil Procedural Rules Committee. Clifford Rieders, Esq. is a plaintiffs attorney from Lycoming County whose areas of practice include medical malpractice, personal injury, and other torts. Maureen McBride, is an appellate and commercial litigation attorney in Chester County. We note McBride has served as outside counsel for the Pennsylvania Medical Society on several amicus briefs.

The Civil Procedural Rules Committee plays an important role in the process of amending the Rules of Civil Procedure. The committee evaluates all proposed rule changes and makes recommendations to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Rieders is known as a vocal proponent of returning to the broad rules that allowed medical liability case venue shopping to flourish in the early 2000s. PCCJR Executive Director, Curt Schroder, debated Rieders earlier this year on SmartTalk. 

Mobilizing – Stop Venue Shopping Round II

The Supreme Court may have pumped the breaks on dialing Pennsylvania back to the pre-2003 venue shopping rules for now, but the risk is still VERY real. We are expecting the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) to announce a hearing date soon. The LBFC hearing will explore the impact the rule change could have on the delivery of health care in Pennsylvania. It is critically important that Pennsylvanians understand what is at stake – a return to venue shopping could usher in another medical liability crisis!

Take action with us!

To assist the continuing effort to educate Pennsylvanians on the harmful impact of allowing lawyers to venue shop, PCCJR has prepared a new one-pager to help spread the word that a return to pre-2003 medical liability venue rules will put health care, jobs, and patients at risk. You can download the document (above) by clicking on it. Please share it on social media, in your newsletters, and among your colleagues, friends, and family. We also have press-ready print files should you want to print the document commercially! (Contact PCCJR at 717-461-3577)

Over 28 organizations and individuals have united with

PCCJR to stop the Civil Procedural Rules Committee from dialing the commonwealth back to early 2000s and the days when big city plaintiffs’ law firms chose courts based on profitable, jackpot awards, rather than the connection the court had to the case.  Join us in spreading the word by downloading and sharing this latest tool in our advocacy efforts.

Still a Mystery: Who Started the Med-Mal Venue Change Debate?

The public may never see the letter that allegedly sparked the recent debate on returning medical malpractice venue shopping to Pennsylvania. The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) has denied requests to provide the letter to the public and the Office of Open Records, which administers the commonwealth’s Right to Know law, says it doesn’t have jurisdiction over the judiciary.

We know the idea of turning back the clocks on the venue shopping rule didn’t come out of thin air because at a budget committee hearing in February, Supreme Court Justice Max Baer told the state senate that “someone wrote the court a letter.”  This latest article suggests that litigation against the court may be the only way to reveal the true origins of the debate. Such litigation would be a long shot indeed!

In the News:

 Electing Judges? | Merit selection supporters trying to woo votes from competing amendment to overhaul judicial elections| PA Post

The hash brown defense | This man went to court to prove his ‘cellphone’ was a hash brown. He won. | The Washington Post

Largest award yetPennsylvania woman awarded $120 million in vaginal mesh case against Johnson & Johnson| Philly.com



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