December 2, 2019

Massive Verdicts A “Hidden Tax” On Residents, PA Legal Reformer Says

The executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Civil Justice Reform wrote in the Lehigh Valley Morning Call that massive verdicts in local courts amount to a “hidden tax” on residents.

Curt Schroder said a recent multi-billion dollar verdict in a Philadelphia lawsuit “is possibly the largest verdict in Pennsylvania history” that not only “threaten[s] the livelihoods of” employees, but also “puts an exclamation point on unchecked legal abuses that must be addressed,” like forum shopping. The effects of “nuclear verdicts” like these, he says, ultimately get passed on to locals. He cited a research paper from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform that found that costs and compensation associated with the tort system in 2016 amounted to $3,721 per each Pennsylvania household.

Schroder said the state’s legislature and judiciary should make reasonable changes to venue rules and damages to prevent “’litigation tourists’ from descending on Philadelphia.”

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