Gary Samms Quoted in The Legal Intelligencer

February 05, 2020

Obermayer partner Gary Samms was interviewed by The Legal Intelligencer in connection with the proposed changes of the PA Med Mal Venue Rule. The article ” Plaintiffs, Defense Each See Wins in Pennsylvania Lawmakers’ Report on Med Mal Venue Rule,” by Max Mitchell, published on February 4, 2020, analyzes the Pennsylvania’s Legislative Budget and Finance Committee’s 200-page report on the potential impacts of proposed changes to the medical malpractice venue rules. The proposed changes pursue to allow injured plaintiffs to sue in any venue where their health care provider regularly does business, essentially tossing venue rules put in place in 2002 under the Medical Care Availability and Reduction of Error (MCARE) Act. As the rules stand, plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases are limited to suing in the venue where their injuries occurred.

While the plaintiffs bar supports the changes, with the argument that the current rules have limited the access to the courthouse for many victims, the defense bar has confronted it, saying the changes would lead to instability in the professional liability insurance markets and would cause doctors to leave the state. Obermayer’s defense attorney, Gary Samms stated in the article that the most important part of the report was the more than 150 pages of exhibits that underpin the report’s findings.

“The exhibits clearly show that jury verdicts were different, the price of insurance was significantly higher for physicians and the number of filings for medical malpractice cases were all greater before the switch,” he said, specifically noting that Philadelphia saw a nearly 68% decrease in filings after the prior rule changes while at the same time the collar counties each saw increases—especially Montgomery County, where filings rose by 397%. “It’s overwhelmingly clear that the venue affects the likelihood of a verdict and the amount of a verdict.”

Access the full article here.

Gary Samms is the Chair of the Professional Liability and Catastrophic Loss Group at Obermayer. He has comprehensive experience in complex civil litigation matters. His law practice concentrates in the areas of commercial, medical malpractice, professional liability, health care, sexual assault claims, intellectual property litigation and cases of high monetary exposure.