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Wall Street Journal Cites Philadelphia Courts Paper Authored by Professor Joshua Wright PDF Print E-mail
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The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a bill before the Pennsylvania house Judiciary Committee that would offset the current advantage for plaintiffs by changing the courts' jurisdiction rules. While plaintiffs can currently parachute into Philadelphia from anywhere in the state, the new plan would allow Pennsylvania's local courts to hear personal injury cases only when the plaintiff is a resident, a corporation is locally headquartered, or the incident occurred in the district.

The piece cites a paper issued by the International Center for Law & Economics and authored by Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University School of Law, Joshua D. Wright. As the Wall Street Journal indicates,

Philadelphia plaintiffs are less likely to settle than plaintiffs elsewhere and show a marked preference for jury trials, according to a report for the International Center for Law and Economics by Joshua Wright based on data from Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. Philadelphia juries find in favor of plaintiffs more often than non-Philly juries—"by as much as 23.7% in absolute terms in 2005."

The study, entitled "Are Plaintiffs Drawn to Philadelphia’s Civil Courts? An Empirical Examination," shows Philadelphia courts, when measured against non-Philadelphia Pennsylvania state courts and federal district courts, exhibit marked and significant dissimilarities supporting an inference that something intrinsically unusual is occurring in Philadelphia. Philadelphia courts host an especially large number of cases, Philadelphia courts have a larger docket than expected, Philadelphia plaintiffs are less likely to settle than other non-Philadelphia Pennsylvania plaintiffs, and Philadelphia plaintiffs are disproportionately likely to prefer jury trials. These findings are consistent with a conclusion that Philadelphia courts demonstrate a marked and meaningful preference for plaintiffs.