The Fight to End Lawsuit Abuse Continues As PA House Sends ‘Benevolent Gesture’ Bill to Governor
10/22/2013
HARRISBURG – Another bill to attack the prevalent abuse of Pennsylvania’s civil justice system passed the House today and is on its way to governor’s desk, Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) said.

“We are working toward commonsense legal reforms aimed at bringing fairness, balance and stability to Pennsylvania’s civil justice system, and benevolent gesture is a part of it,” Turzai said. “When this bill gets signed into law, our doctors and other health care providers can once again be sympathetic with patients without fear of being sued.”

Fear of litigation has hampered some medical providers from giving a full disclosure of unanticipated outcomes. For this reason, 29 states have passed immunity for apology laws.

Senate Bill 379 (Sen. Pat Vance, R-Cumberland/York) allows doctors and health care providers to apologize or offer expressions of grief without fear their words will be used against them in court. It allows them to display natural expressions of empathy and compassion to patients without fear of reprisal.

A “benevolent gesture” is defined as any action, conduct, statement or gesture that conveys a sense of apology, condolence, explanation, compassion, or commiseration emanating from humane impulses.

To be inadmissible, the benevolent gesture must have been made prior to the commencement of a medical professional liability action, arbitration or mediation asserting a medical malpractice claim. The protections will not apply to a communication, including an excited utterance, which also includes a statement of negligence or fault pertaining to an accident or event.

The bill passed unanimously by a vote of 202-0.

Representative Mike Turzai
Majority Leader
28th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Stephen Miskin
717.772.9943 (office), 717.756.3936 (cell)
smiskin@pahousegop.com  
RepTurzai.com / facebook.com/RepTurzai
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