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"Something intrinsically unusual is occurring in Philadelphia"

A new report by Josh Wright finds, says the Pennsylvania Record,

that Philadelphia courts host an especially large number of cases and have a larger docket than expected; Philadelphia plaintiffs are less likely to settle than plaintiffs in other state courts; and Philadelphia plaintiffs are disproportionately likely to prefer jury trials.

"These findings are consistent with a conclusion that Philadelphia courts demonstrate a marked and meaningful preference for plaintiffs, consistent with both the Complex Litigation Center's intention of inviting 'business' from other courts and criticisms that Philadelphia's courts provide a unique combination of advantages for plaintiffs," the study states.

The Complex Litigation Center handles mass tort cases such as asbestos lawsuits and other drug litigation or similar cases. It was designed to streamline mass tort cases and simplify resolution, but instead seems to have created a climate "inviting" to business from plaintiffs in other jurisdictions, the study states.

"While this may provide additional work for Pennsylvania lawyers, it also increases the cost of operating the civil justice system in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania more generally - a cost borne by the state's consumers and businesses," Wright's study concludes.

H.B. 1552, pending in the Pennsylvania legislature, would require suits to be filed in the county where the injury occurred. Plaintiffs' lawyers claim that the bill is unconstitutional because the legislature doesn't have authority to regulate civil procedure.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.