Pennsylvania’s State Tort-Liability Ranking

by Ammon Simon

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform has released its latest ranking of state tort-liability systems, from the perspective of U.S. businesses. Lisa Rickard, of the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, zeroes in on Pennsylvania, a state that has been making a name for itself as a terrible place to do business. As Rickard explains

Pennsylvania is ranked 40th out of 50, a six-place drop from 2010 and a record low for the Commonwealth. And most of the blame for this decline can be laid at the doorstep of Philadelphia’s courts, which are ranked as the fifth worst in the entire country.

Pennsylvania’s problems include lenient laws for out-of-state plaintiffs and Philadelphia judges who explicitly encouraged this distorted system.  Accordingly, “in 2011, nearly half of all asbestos cases and more than 80% of pharmaceutical cases filed in Philadelphia were from out-of-state plaintiffs.”  Ms. Rickard goes on to cite a study that shows that reforming Pennsylvania’s legal system so that it mirrors that of its neighbor, Delaware, could “reduce tort costs by up to $1.7 billion per year, translating to as many as 90,000 new jobs.”

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