Venue determines where a case can be filed in the Commonwealth. When plaintiffs’ attorneys venue shop, they seek to file medical liability lawsuits in Philadelphia and other high verdict jurisdictions in search of large payouts — even though the location of the court has no connection to the case.
Pennsylvania has seen first-hand the disastrous effects venue shopping has on access to health care. Prior to 2003 when a rule prohibiting venue shopping was enacted, Pennsylvania saw attorneys filing as many cases as possible in Philadelphia because of high-verdict awards. Plaintiff attorneys knew they would get a large payday. As a result, liability premiums for healthcare skyrocketed.
A rule was enacted in 2003 requiring cases to be filed only where the alleged injury occurred. Since the rule was adopted nearly 20 years ago, the number of medical liability cases filed in Philadelphia and other high verdict court systems has plummeted. The rule has brought fairness and balance to Pennsylvania’s civil justice system!
However, this rule is in Jeopardy because of a push by plaintiffs’ attorneys to return to the pre-2003 court rule. The Supreme Court could act at any moment to enact a rule to take away protections to prevent venue shopping.
The solution is a Constitutional Amendment allowing the legislature to prevent or overrule any changes to venue that might be made by the Supreme Court.
Please ask your legislator to pass a Constitutional Amendment protecting medical liability venue.