Court Tosses Tort Reform Measure

In an eight-word order, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court quashed the 2002 Pennsylvania Fair Share Act, ending years of political wrangling.

The controversial Fair Share Act was a Republican-sponsored law that favored a massive tort reform measure that limited joint and several liabilities for defendants in civil cases.

After the law went into effect, leading Democrats in the Pennsylvania legislature sued to have the act invalidated, alleging it violated the state's single-subject rule because it was tacked on to a bill related to DNA testing of criminal offenders. In 2005 the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania agreed that the coupling of unrelated legislation violated state law.

In March 2006, Governor Edward Rendell, a Democrat, vetoed legislation that would have re-enacted the 2002 law, spurring more political in-fighting.

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer and House Speaker John M. Perzel appealed the Commonwealth Court's opinion, asking the state's high court to reinstate the Fair Share Act. However, on Sept. 29, the Supreme Court agreed that the law should be struck.

"The Order of the Commonwealth Court is affirmed," the order stated.

Staff Writer

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