House Republicans Unveil Lawsuit Abuse Reform Package
10/22/2007
Legislation will enhance Pennsylvania’s economic climate, keep employers and jobs in the state
 
In an effort to reduce lawsuit abuse in Pennsylvania, House Republicans today unveiled a legislative package aimed at reforming joint and several liability.
 
“This package of legislation brings much needed reform to a system in disarray," Turzai said. “These reforms are necessary to restore fairness, common sense and personal responsibility to our legal system. We want Pennsylvania to be a hospitable environment for employers."
 
Small businesses pay over $95 billion in legal costs annually. Overall, the U.S. legal system costs over $260 billion per year, with approximately 50 percent of this cost going towards legal fees.
 
Lawsuit abuse reform can significantly reduce the costs of doing business and practicing medicine within the Commonwealth. These reform measures would help to decrease the number of frivolous lawsuits brought against the business and medical communities. 
 
Lawsuit abuse reform measures are designed to stabilize liability insurance rates for health care providers and businesses by providing continuity and predictability. Lawsuit abuse hurts consumers, taxpayers and the business and medical communities.
 
“Personal responsibility, in Pennsylvania, has been replaced by runaway civil litigation," said Marsico. “It is time that we implement this package of legislation and curb this issue."
 
Among the reform proposals in the legislative package are: 
  • Proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the General Assembly to establish caps on attorney fees in liability cases.
  • Establishing a progressive statutory framework for limitations on attorney fees in liability cases.
  • Proposing a constitutional amendment to allow the General Assembly to establish caps on non-economic damages in liability cases.
  • Setting limitations on the recovery of punitive damages.
  • Restricting liability with respect to innocent sellers, and where product misuse has occurred.
  • Amending the comparative negligence statute to establish that each defendant found negligent or strictly liable for an injury to a plaintiff will be responsible for only his or her share of the total damages awarded to compensate a plaintiff for any injuries sustained.
  • Requiring a plaintiff filing a liability action to include with the complaint a certificate of merit as prescribed by court rules, including a statement that the plaintiff suffers from a serious injury. 
These lawsuit abuse reform measures will benefit both large and small businesses, taxpayers, consumers, doctors and health care professionals and insurance companies, as well as citizens with legitimate lawsuits.
 
Rep. Mike Turzai
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(412) 369-2230
www.RepTurzai.com
Contact: Tricia Graham
House Republican Public Relations
(717) 260-6296
www.pahousegop.com