Changes to Medical Malpractice Venue Rules in Pennsylvania

On August 25, 2022, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court eliminated a venue exception for medical malpractice actions filed in the Commonwealth.  The rule requiring that medical professional liability claims be brought in the county in which the care occurred will no longer be in effect as of January 1, 2023…,, Olivia F. Levine, Sep 2022


Nobody is entirely sure yet what the changes will mean, but attorneys on all sides agree there will be new points of contention between the parties when the revamped rules come into play Jan. 1.


The amended rule eliminates the Pa.R.C.P. 1006(a.1) venue exception and allows for a plaintiff to bring a medical malpractice case in any county (1) in which care occurred, (2) where a defendant could be served, or (3) where any transaction or occurrence giving rise to the suit took place.  Ultimately, this amended rule opens the door to a plaintiff’s ability to forum shop medical malpractice cases.


Additionally, the amended rule preserves the provisions for transferring venue for the convenience of the parties and witnesses, as well as the requirement to raise improper venue by preliminary objection.  As such, healthcare defendants should carefully evaluate all complaints filed on or after January 1, 2023, to determine if venue should be challenged through preliminary objections and/or a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens.


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