The Tort Anti-Reform of HB 2246

Citizens to Protect PA Jobs recently issued an action alert on HB 2246, which flies in the face of the type of tort reform Pennsylvania needs. A hindrance to job creation, this bill will contribute to Pennsylvania’s sick economy by giving lawyers even more control in the courtroom.

If this bill passes, it will allow injury lawyers in auto cases to fill their closing arguments with monetary suggestions as compensation for the plaintiffs’ “pain and suffering” – essentially using emotional appeal to sway the jury. The Citizens to Protect PA Jobs alert says,

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled decades ago that neither party could argue specific amounts for “non-economic damages” because doing so would allow closing argument rhetoric to have too much influence in a jury’s decision.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry explains the bill’s potential effect on jobs:

Excessive damage awards result in higher consumer prices and decreased availability of services. The high legal costs paid by Pennsylvania health-care providers, employers and governments inhibit job growth, increase health-care costs and limit access to medical care.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society also opposes HB 2246, which would exacerbate the already suffocating tort climate that has sent Pennsylvania doctors to other states.

The House’s passage of this bill demonstrates that unconscionable PA legislators are simply devoted to benefiting lawyers-and effectively sending needed jobs elsewhere. Citizens to Protect PA Jobs provides an e-mail template for concerned Pennsylvanians who want to urge their senators to vote against HB 2246.

Recent Commonwealth Foundation tort reform research: