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June 26, 2013

Cases Dwindle After Reforms to Philly Court System

The number of mass-tort cases before the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas dropped by 70 percent in 2012, reports the Legal Intelligencer, due in part to uncertainty surrounding administrative reforms, including an end to reverse bifurcation in asbestos litigation and an end to consolidation in pharmaceutical suits.

In recent years, Philadelphia has become a hotbed of mass-tort litigation, drawing plaintiffs from around the country.  In fact, out-of-state plaintiffs accounted for nearly half of all asbestos lawsuits and more than eighty percent of pharmaceutical lawsuits filed in the Philadelphia court in 2011.

According to the Intelligencer, the reforms to the Philadelphia court system haven’t ended such mass-tort suits – they’re moving to other jurisdictions such as New Jersey, Delaware, or the federal courts.  Or, if there are not statute-of-limitations concerns, the cases aren’t being filed for the time being. 

2012 survey named Philadelphia as the fifth-worst local jurisdiction in the United States.  The same survey found Pennsylvania to have the 40th ranked legal climate of all 50 states. 

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