Legislation Aims to Prevent Venue Shopping in Pa. Medical Liability Cases

Last Updated: Jun 13, 2019

gavel-red-stethoscopePennsylvania Rep. Donna Oberlander has introduced a bill in response to a proposed Pa. Supreme Court rule that would allow medical liability lawsuits to take place outside of the county where the alleged malpractice occurred. 

The state’s current venue rules require that a medical liability action must be filed in the county where the cause of action occurred.

The proposed venue rule – issued by the Pa. Supreme Court’s Civil Procedural Rules Committee – would enable attorneys to forum shop for venues, and that could result in more lawsuits and higher premiums for all physicians.

Rep. Oberlander’s bill, House Bill (HB 1063), aims to end the threat of venue shopping by amending the state’s jurisdiction law for medical professional liability actions. “Our state’s constitution vests jurisdiction determinations with the General Assembly, not the Court,” she says in her co-sponsorship memo announcing her intention to introduce the legislation.

The bill would limit medical professional liability actions against a health care provider for a medical professional liability claim to only the county in which the cause of action arose. HB 1063, if enacted, would amend the current jurisdiction law for medical liability cases.

HB 1063 was introduced on May 13, 2019 and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) will closely monitor the bill and share any updates on its progress with members.

PAMED strongly opposes changes to the existing venue rules. We thank Rep. Oberlander for introducing legislation that would resolve this issue.

Learn more about the venue rule proposal at www.pamedsoc.org/venuerule.

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