Venue Shopping in Philadelphia?

/ 20.Feb, 2012
For years people have asserted that Philadelphia tends to be a “plaintiff friendly” venue.  This has led to Philadelphia being labeled as a “Judicial Hellhole.”  The state of Philadelphia courts is often reported nationally.  However, most of the assessments have been anecdotal, and not based upon any type of rigorous study.  Recently, one law professor has attempted to establish the “plaintiff friendly” nature of Philadelphia in empirical terms.  Joshua Wright, Associate Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law and Director of Research, International Center for Law & Economics, authored a study last year (which was updated earlier this month), which found that a large percentage of cases in Philadelphia had very little connection with Philadelphia.  Mr. Wright found that more than half of the cases brought in Philadelphia were brought by plaintiffs who lived outside of Philadelphia and had no apparent connection to Philadelphia. This issue has been of particular concern to defendants in mass tort cases, but there are ramifications for all types of cases.  One of the consequences of the impression that Philadelphia is a plaintiff friendly venue is that, generally speaking, if a case can be brought in Philadelphia, it will be brought in Philadelphia.  In terms of legal malpractice and wrongful use of civil proceedings actions, that means that any tenuous connection with Philadelphia will usually lead to an action being brought in Philadelphia.

-Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire