By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Of the Legal Staff
Colleague Gina Passarella and I are reporting a three-part series this week on the state of mass torts in Pennsylvania called Mass Torts, Mass Money? My first part, which was published today, examines why the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas saw a 70 percent drop-off in mass tort filings last year and where the cases have gone to instead. Attorneys reported to me that New Jersey and federal court are seeing more mass torts because of changes in Philadelphia court rules. You can read the piece here.
The stats in Philadelphia:
There were 550 filings in 2008, 1,701 filings in 2009, 2,382 filings in 2010, 2,690 filings in 2011 and 816 filings in 2012, according to the First Judicial District's statistics.
Of the 816 filings in 2012, 489 were pharmaceutical cases and 327 were asbestos cases, according to court statistics.
The percentage of non-Pennsylvania plaintiffs was down only slightly in 2012. In 2011, 88 percent of pharmaceutical cases involved out-of-state plaintiffs, but, in 2012, 86 percent of pharmaceutical cases involved out-of-state plaintiffs. In 2011, 47 percent of asbestos cases involved out-of-state plaintiffs, but, in 2012, 44 percent of asbestos cases involved out-of-state plaintiffs.
The court also disposed of more cases than new cases were filed. The overall inventory decreased by 14 percent, according to court statistics.
The second part of the series, slated for tomorrow, will examine the business model for defense attorneys regarding mass torts.
The third part, slated for Thursday, will examine the rising coordination between state and federal judges in the wake of the increasing number of mass torts.