POMA Opposes Change in Venue Rule Proposed by Supreme Court
Written by Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Association Affairs, Andy Sandusky

January 11, 2019

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s rulemaking body is trying to change the current rule on venue in medical liability cases that requires a case against a physician must be brought in the county where the alleged incident occurred. Changing this rule is likely to have a negative impact on the accessibility and affordability of medical professional liability insurance. The reason is that trial lawyers will be free to use any connection necessary to bring a liability action into Philadelphia, which has a reputation of awarding high jury awards.

POMA is working on drafting its comments opposing the rule change. Additionally, POMA is in a coalition of healthcare provider organizations, insurers and others to oppose changing the rule on venue. POMA has also become a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform, which formalizes its opposition.

It was not too long ago (early 2000’s) that Pennsylvania was in a crisis climate, where accessible and affordable liability insurance was difficult to obtain, and in many cases, prohibitive to afford. The results were that many physicians stopped practicing in higher risk specialties or retired altogether. Pennsylvania was also labeled as a hostile state to practice medicine, making it more difficult to attract the best and the brightest physicians to the Commonwealth. In response to the crisis, multiple actions were taken by the General Assembly and the Supreme Court to stabilize the marketplace. Venue limitation in medical liability cases was one of those actions taken by the Supreme Court.

POMA does not want to reverse the positive gains that were made in order to attain and retain physicians in Pennsylvania. Therefore, POMA opposes the rule change proposal and will work with our allies to demonstrate the need to stay the course.