Is The Philadelphia Court System A “Judicial Hell Hole”?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce produced a liability survey report which characterized the Philadelphia Court System as a “judicial hell hole.”  For years, the Chamber of Commerce has reported that jury awards in Philadelphia on behalf of consumers against corporations, doctors and insurance companies are extraordinarily high.  They believe that defendants in personal injury lawsuits cannot get justice in Philadelphia and that tort reform is the only way to correct this broken down system.

Of course, the survey is absolutely wrong.

A study was completed by Cornell Law Professor Theodore Eisenberg, titled “U.S. Chamber of Commerce Liability Survey:  Inaccurate, Unfair and Bad for Business.”   The Cornell study states that the Chamber of Commerce is bias toward large corporations and their lawyers.  Here are the facts:

1.       Philadelphia ranks in the bottom 30% of major metropolitan areas in terms of median final damage amounts awarded to plaintiffs in tort cases.

2.       The total median jury award in 2001 was $49,000.  The total dropped in 2005 to $20,000.

3.       During that same time, the median award amount in New York City was $227,000 and in Miami it was $128,000.

Any jury award against a large corporation, doctor or insurance company is viewed by the Chamber of Commerce as being outrageous.  They spend tens of millions of dollars a year in an attempt to limit the public’s right to the court system and to juries. If it was up to them, corporations could continue to produce defective products which harm the public without facing any accountability from the court system.

Steve Karp

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