This past August, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upended nearly two decades of legal stability and fairness when it rescinded the state’s medical liability venue rule. The new venue rule once again allows plaintiffs’ attorneys to funnel medical liability cases to high verdict jurisdictions – like Philadelphia – which experts predict will lead to substantial increases in health care costs throughout the Commonwealth.
The now rescinded rule originally was put in place to address a crisis impacting the Commonwealth due to medical liability cases in the early 2000s. It required medical liability cases to be filed only in the county where the cause of action arose.
There is an effort in the General Assembly to right-size the state’s legal climate when it comes to medical malpractice cases. Rep. Torren Ecker (pictured above) is sponsoring legislation that “gives the court of common pleas of the county in which a medical liability cause of action arises the exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over that medical liability claim against a health care provider.” The PA Constitution gives the General Assembly authority over jurisdiction matters. Rep. Ecker’s bill will add additional options for the General Assembly to address where cases can be brought and help to restore the balance of power between the three branches of government. The goal is to bring predictability, fairness, and stability back to medical liability cases.
PCCJR thanks Rep. Ecker for his leadership on this issue and looks forward to the introduction of this bill early in the next session of the General Assembly.