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LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: Comment Period Open on Proposed Rule Changes on Venue...

Friday, January 11, 2019  
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Tort Talk

by Daniel Cummins

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD: Comment Period Open on Proposed Rule Changes on Venue (Most Pertinent to Medical Malpractice Cases)

Tort Talkers may recall Tort Reform movements from the around the turn of the century when changes were made in response to the number of medical malpractice claims that were being pursued at that time.

The venue rules adopted in 2002 were part of medical malpractice reforms enacted. These venue rules served to lower the number of medical malpractice cases filed in the liberal jurisdiction of Philadelphia by preventing filings there unless the cause of action arose in Philadelphia.

The impact of these venue rules are summarized in this REPORT from the PA Supreme Court which tracks the number of medical malpractice cases filed in each county.

For example, between 2000 and 2002, there was an average of 1204 medical malpractice cases filed in Philadelphia per year. After the change to the venue rules, that figure plunged by half in 2003 and continued to decline until just recently.

Now there is a movement underway by the statewide Civil Rules Committee to revise the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure in this regard.

The proposed rule changes can be found HERE.

Here is the reasoning from the Explanatory Comment to the proposed rule:

“The current rule provides special treatment of a particular class of defendants, which no longer appears warranted. Data compiled by the Supreme Court on case filings on medical professional liability actions indicates that there has been a significant reduction in those filings for the past 15 years. Additionally, it has been reported to the Committee that this reduction has resulted in a decrease of the amount of claim payments resulting in far fewer compensated victims of medical negligence.”

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