Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) September 26, 2012
Earlier this month, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released their “2012 State Lawsuit Climates,” in which they investigate “how reasonable and balanced the states’ tort liability systems are perceived to be by U.S. business,” according to the ILR website.* This report has the Philadelphia injury attorneys at Console & Hollawell outraged as it claims that Pennsylvania has one of the worst legal climates and that Philadelphia is the fifth worse city in the country with regards to their legal system.* Which is why the firm is seeking to inform the public of the biased nature of this report and provide a true depiction of the legal climate in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Philadelphia Inquirer spoke with Lisa A. Rickard, the president of the ILR, and she stated that, “Pennsylvania stands geographically between the nation's worst legal climate in West Virginia and its best in Delaware. Unfortunately, the state is heading more in West Virginia's direction by allowing plaintiffs' lawyers to forum shop for favorable venues like Philadelphia to cash in.”**
The problem with this assertion is that according to the Pennsylvania code*** a civil case must be brought against a defendant in a defined area, as last amended in 2003. The assertion that “venue shopping” is allowed actually goes against the legal guidelines set in place by PA law, and therefore is an unfounded assertion.
The report from the Chamber of Commerce is misleading as many people are not aware of what the organization actually is. The Chamber’s own FAQ page explains that they are actually a lobbying group comprised of major businesses, insurance companies, and health care industry leaders not in any way a governing organization nor an agent of the U.S. government.****
This tort reform sets out to limit the ability for an individual to sue for such instances as medical malpractice or asbestos exposure so that the businesses are protected from lawsuit. The Chamber spends millions of dollars each year supporting candidates in both political and judicial elections—candidates that will vote in favor of big business.****
The Pennsylvania Association for Justice (PAJ), a group comprised of personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia and throughout the state, want the public to recognize this report for what it is, a biased account from big businesses who do not like being sued (they want to be able to sue whoever they want, they just want to ensure that people cannot sue them). The president of the PAJ, Scott B. Cooper, explained that:
"It's no shock that a trade organization that represents pharmaceutical companies, chemical makers and tobacco companies would come out against the ability of individuals to sue its members. But it should not be lost on anyone the Chamber is not calling for similar limits on businesses suing each other or their ability to sue individuals—only for individuals to sue them.
"Because the new report expresses only opinion about the system, not facts, it isn't worth the paper on which it is printed. The Complex Litigation Center, which this report is centered on, has won rave reviews and national awards because it does exactly what the courts are supposed to do: protect the rights and safety of individuals against unsafe products and practices. If people don't like getting sued, they can make safer products, adopt improved safety measures, and stop gouging consumers."*****
Richard P. Console, Jr., a member of the PAJ and managing partner of Console & Hollawell, P.C. echoed Cooper’s comments on this report.
“It is so hard to fight back against the propaganda that is circulated by the Chamber of Commerce because most people do not support the civil justice system until they are in a situation where they need to utilize it themselves,” he said. “Everyone rallies for tort reform until they are the ones who have been severely injured by a doctor or by a product manufactured by a large company and they are unable to seek deserved compensation.”
Reports, like the one released from the ILR, can be misleading to many people. If you have been injured in an accident, do not be intimidated by these lobbyists, make sure your rights are protected by speaking with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Pennsylvania at Console & Hollawell today.