Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Constitutional Challenge to Medical Malpractice Venue Rules Rejected

In the case of Dockery v. Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals, Inc., No. 611 EDA 2020 (Pa. Super. Feb. 22, 2021 Kunselman, J., Nicholas, J., and Pellegrini, J.) (Op. by Kunselman, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that an Equal Protection challenge to the medical malpractice venue statute failed where the Plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the Legislature and the courts lacked any legitimate interest in restricting venue in medical malpractice matters to the county where the cause of action arose.

According to the Opinion, the Plaintiff filed her Complaint in Philadelphia County even though the underlying alleged conduct had occurred in Delaware County. 

The Defendants filed Preliminary Objections and the case came before the court. The Plaintiff responded to the Preliminary Objections by asserting that the statute and the rules regarding venue were unconstitutional.

The trial court had rejected the Plaintiff’s argument and sustained the Preliminary Objections and transferred the case to Delaware County.  As noted, on appeal, the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed the trial court’s decision in this matter.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (March 9, 2021).

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