No Change for Pa., Behrens Says, Post-Calif. Mass Tort Jurisdiction Ruling

Shook, Hardy & Bacon Public Policy Co-Chair Mark Behrens explains why Pennsylvania courts will see little to no change in filings after a recent California decision to relax mass tort claim jurisdiction restrictions in a September 2 The Legal Intelligencer article, “Calif. Mass-Tort Ruling Not Seen Likely to Empty Pa. Dockets.”

The California Supreme Court’s ruling to allow plaintiffs who do not live in the state to bring claims in California against companies also not located in the state is the latest development in ongoing debates over appropriate jurisdiction for mass tort claims. Behrens says that both states are hubs of mass tort litigation, and the recent California decision will not decrease Pennsylvania-tried claims.

“When you look at these plaintiffs in the Bristol-Myers Squibb case that are going to California, they’re doing it because they see a litigation advantage,” Behrens says. “Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia in particular, has long been seen by the plaintiff’s bar as having those same litigation advantages.”