PCCJR Update — January 31, 2020

Venue Report ** False Claims ** Risperdal Update

Committee Scheduled to Release Venue Impact Report

Jackpot seeking attorneys filing medical liability cases in courts known for high verdicts and often far away from where the injury occurred, create higher health care costs and less access to care. That is precisely the situation Pennsylvania faces should the medical liability venue rule be rolled back to once again allow venue shopping. PCCJR recently wrote about the threat in an opinion editorial that ran in PennLive.com and LehighValleyLive.com.

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) on Monday, February 3, will issue its findings on what a medical liability venue rule change could mean for the state. Many of our stakeholders testified at the LBFC’s hearing last June with a clear warning to expect substantial premium increases should venue shopping return. PCCJR will update you as soon as the report is released.

False Claims Proposal Will Hurt Business and Health Care

Business groups, health care providers, and PCCJR issued warnings this month that a component of a multi-bill legislative package intended to reduce Medicaid Fraud might sound good but stands to benefit trial lawyers more than taxpayers.

The General Assembly needs to fully understand the impact of passing a state-based False Claims Act before it is seduced by the siren song of enhanced recovery money for Medicaid fraud and non-fraudulent claims,” said Curt Schroder, PCCJR’s executive director. “Simply put, Pennsylvania will recover less money under a state False Claims Act than it would if it continues to allow cases to be brought under the federal False Claims Statute.”

By incentivizing bounty hunting plaintiffs’ and their attorneys with a double recovery, those contracting with the state will be subject to frivolous and abusive lawsuits under a state False Claims Act.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry said the bill would negatively impact the state business climate and economy. The Hospital and Healthsystems Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) stated that an unnecessary and duplicative state false claims act could threaten care for Pennsylvania patients.

To learn more about the harmful impacts of a False Claims Act, listen to this broadcast of the Lincoln Radio Journal featuring PCCJR Executive Director Curt Schroder, Rebecca Oyler of NFIB PA, and David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers’ Association. 

Philadelphia Judge Slashes $8 Billion Risperdal Verdict

There was a glimmer of light out of Philadelphia recently when Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Kenneth Powell reduced the $8 billion punitive damages verdict against Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. The outrageous verdict shocked the country and helped the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas earn the dubious distinction as the #1 Judicial Hellhole in 2019. Over 7,000 Risperdal lawsuits are pending in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas’ Complex Litigation Center.

In the News….

Phoney Lawsuits: Prolific TCPA filer faces RICO claims over alleged lawsuit-generating scheme

Legal News Line| by John O’Brien

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