Last Updated: Jul 17, 2020
On July 8, 2020, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR), of which the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) is a health care member, filed an amicus brief in the case of Dockery v. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., et al.
In this case, plaintiffs filed a medical professional liability action against defendants in Philadelphia County. Defendants filed preliminary objections arguing that the proper venue for this case was in Delaware County.
PCCJR has filed an amicus brief in support of the existing venue rule for medical professional liability actions. The current rule provides that such actions may be brought against a health care provider for a medical professional liability claim only in the county in which the cause of action arose.
In its decision, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas noted that both the statute and judicial rule regarding venue are constitutional. As to the statute (42 Pa.C.S. § 5101.1), the court found that the statute promotes a legitimate state interest of providing a high-quality health system for Pennsylvania residents and also ensures that medical professional liability is obtainable at a reasonable cost.
As to the judicial rule (Pa. R.C.P. 1006(a)(1)), the court found that the rule was enacted to control the reach and scope of existing venue rules. As such, the court found that both the statute and the court rule do not violate constitutional guarantees of a free and open court system.
The plaintiffs filed an appeal to the Superior Court. The plaintiffs are arguing that both the statute and the rule are unconstitutional.
You can read a copy of PCCJR’s amicus brief here.
PAMED will continue to stay actively involved in this case and will provide updates to its members as they occur.
To learn more about PAMED’s ongoing advocacy in support of the current venue rule, visit www.pamedsoc.org/venuerule.