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March 15th, 2011

Tort Reform Momentum Builds in Pennsylvania

As home to the reigning #1 Judicial Hellhole of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is long overdue for substantive tort reforms.  Poised to spark a few Points of Light this legislative session, state lawmakers in Harrisburg are being urged by the business community and many in the media to modernize liability law by replacing the current and inherently unfair “joint and several” standard with one of “proportional” liability.

A thoughtful March 15 editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot-News notes, the parasitic plaintiffs’ bar prefers joint and several liability, also known as the “deep pockets” system, because it allows a “defendant found even 1 percent liable in a lawsuit [to] potentially be held responsible for 100 percent of the financial verdict.” 

Pennsylvania’s joint and several liability helps make it a hot-spot for litigation tourism, as personal injury lawyers from all over the country flock to have their lawsuits heard in Keystone State courts — at local taxpayers’ expense.  But House Majority Leader Mike Turzai has introduced House Bill 1, called the “Fair Share Act,” that would help make Pennsylvania less attractive to trial lawyers and more attractive to employers and productive businesses.

Here’s hoping a strong majority of Pennsylvania legislators will stand up for jobseekers, consumers, taxpayers and business owners by passing the Fair Share Act soon.  Gov. Tom Corbett has signaled that he’ll sign it when they do.

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