Feb. 4 news conference proposes blocking legislation
The possible return of medical liability venue shopping, in a proposal now moving behind the scenes
at the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, threatens to plunge Pennsylvania into a crisis that could drive up
health insurance premiums while forcing medical professionals to leave the state.
State lawmakers will join the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society at a Capitol news conference on Feb. 4
to discuss legislation meant to stop the change.
Since 2002, Pennsylvania courts have not allowed medical liability “venue shopping” – the ability by
plaintiffs to file suit in favorable courts, regardless of where an incident occurred. The rule, supported
by lawmakers and then-Gov. Schweiker, ended a crisis that had been gripping the health care
community since the late 1990s. In the ensuing 17 years, Pennsylvania’s medical liability system has
operated under this common-sense rule, said POS President Asif Ilyas, MD.
Under a new venue rule proposed on Dec. 22, 2018, the Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules
Committee recommended that plaintiffs have broadly expanded powers to file lawsuits far from the
site of any alleged malpractice. While the current rule restricts proceedings to the county of
occurrence, the change would allow filings in counties that fit such locational criteria as where
defendants live, related procedures were conducted, or suppliers, health networks, and investors
“This change is unwise and misguided,” said Dr. Ilyas. “Twelve million Pennsylvanians rely on their
medical professionals for care that delivers the best possible quality of life. As we know from past
experience, venue shopping opens the floodgates to a deluge of unjustifiable lawsuits, filed in places
with only specious connections to the cases. If Pennsylvanians wanted this rule change, they would
have spoken up years ago. They don’t want to see higher health costs. They don’t want to stand by
helplessly as their trusted physicians are forced to close their doors as happened in the early 2000s.”
The Supreme Court is taking public comment on the proposed changes to Pennsylvania Rule of Civil
Procedure 1006 through Feb. 22.
“Please visit “
www.PAGOPpolicy.com to voice your opinion, before 2/22/2019, on
View PCN COVERAGE of the February 4 press event.