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Friday, April 1, 2011

What The PA House Of Representatives Is Working On This Week

Ending Runaway Lawsuits, Mandate Relief for Municipalities

The state House returns to session on Monday, April 4, to deal with various issues of importance

Lawsuit Abuse, the Fair Share Act
Commonsense lawsuit abuse reform tops the House agenda next week as House Bill 1 is prepared for a floor vote. The Fair Share Act passed the General Assembly twice, first in 2002 when Gov. Mark Schweiker signed the legislation only to have the Supreme Court overturn the law on technical grounds. The second time the Fair Share Act passed the General Assembly in 2006, Gov. Ed Rendell broke his promise to sign the legislation and instead vetoed it.

Current Pennsylvania law allows a defendant, who may be only 1 percent responsible for the injuries to a plaintiff, to be held liable for 100 percent of the damages – and that is not fair! The system encourages lawsuits; rewards a plaintiff’s attorney for taking a ‘shotgun’ approach to suing, firing lawsuits in every direction instead of focusing on the defendant truly at fault; and discourages reasonable settlements as the lawyer pursues the defendant with the ‘deep pockets.’ The current legal system of “joint and several liability” has forced shut the doors of Pennsylvania employers, leaving unemployed workers in nearly every community.

House Bill 1 reforms the civil justice system to eliminate frivolous lawsuits that hamper the medical profession, business development and job growth.

Raising Bid Limits for Local Government Relief
On Tuesday, April 5, the Local Government Committee will vote on a 13-bill package to increase non-bid contract maximums, saving municipalities from the costs of advertising and bidding low-costing contracts and services.

As various state programs will experience budget cuts this year due to the economy, helping municipalities save money is one of the priorities House members are working together to accomplish.

The Weekly Schedule Your PA House Of Reps. Are Working On.
Bill numbers will be used to identify the legislation being considered either in committee or on the House Floor. The bills, sponsors and summaries are posted HERE.


Anonymous said...

Bullet points such as "Lawsuit Abuse" are dog-whistles for restricting the peoples' access to the Constitutionally enshrined right of due process. In most instances state and county courts, as well as local municipalities, are well equipped to deal with serial litigators.

Besides that, and more to the point of the argument being made by the PA GOP, liability is not a black/white issue and to generally question the fairness regarding "a defendant, who may be only 1 percent responsible for the injuries to a plaintiff, to be held liable for 100 percent of the damages" is completely ignorant. Did they research a suitable sample-size of instances wherein a defendant had minimal responsibility, yet bore 100% of the fault and draw an empirical conclusion? Is there a source for this assertion? Or is the GOP just doing more of the bidding of the wealthy who would rather not be bothered to be held accountable*.

Lawsuits can sometimes involve very vague and complicated arguments (PA statute and precedent is a vanguard of unanswered questions) that have nothing to do with rhetorical fairness.

*In most cases, the straw-man defendant referred to in the PA GOP House press release is a lien holder against or the lessor of the property responsible for damages. If you think going after them is wrong and in the unfortunate event that you are injured and have standing to sue for damages; make sure you tell your attorney to lay off the defendant with the deepest pockets and the ability to compensate for said damages.

Anonymous said...

Raising bid limits just means more under the table crooked deals! As if it isn't happening all the time now !!!!Not to mention hurting the newspapers pockets!!Now the crooks will be able to write themselves even bigger paychecks out of the taxpayers checkbook!!