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February 20th, 2013

Latest News from Philadelphia Courts Is Encouraging

As the Legal Intelligencer reported earlier this month, “Philadelphia[‘s] Court of Common Pleas had 70 percent fewer mass-tort case filings in 2012 than in 2011, but out-of-state plaintiffs continued to predominate.”

Regular Judicial Hellholes readers know that Philly ranked as the #1 Hellhole two years running but most recently was eased to the Watch List, thanks to reform protocols put in place a year ago by Chief Administrative Judge John Herron.

In his first order of 2013, Judge Herron has finalized a series of rules reforms that will better balance the scales of justice.  The judge also shared with the mass tort bar additional fresh data that were not included in the Intelligencer reporting, and they indicate generally positive trends.

Out-of-state plainitffs still predominate in mass tort pharmaceutical cases, but 2012’s 86% figure is down slightly from 2011’s 88% and 2010’s 89%, so at least things seem headed in the right direction.

With respect to mass tort asbestos cases, more than 4 of every 10 plaintiffs still hail from out of state, but 2012’s 44% figure is better than 2011’s 47%.  If policymakers in Harrisburg will embrace statewide venue reforms, as it is hoped they will this year, these numbers could improve still further and perhaps help move Philadelphia off the Judical Hellholes radar screen altogether.

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