Pennsylvania’s billboard lawyers are drooling over the potential end to a rule that requires medical malpractice lawsuits to be tried in the county where the harm is alleged to have occurred. The reform was enacted in 2003 to help stop a medical malpractice insurance crisis that was closing hospitals and sending doctors out of state. The crisis was driven by the litigation industry filing lawsuits in the most permissive jurisdictions (usually Philadelphia) rather than the local courthouse.
Pennsylvania health care providers and the public -- as patients and future patients – received a reprieve when the Supreme Court agreed to delay reverting to a pre-2003 administrative rule allowing venue-shopping. Under current law, a medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed in the county where the harm is alleged to have occurred. If this commonsense reform is eliminated, it may trigger skyrocketing health care costs and an exodus of doctors fleeing crushing liability insurance costs, restarting the crisis Pennsylvania was in at the turn of the century.