A vote is scheduled tomorrow, October 18, 2011 in the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee, Chaired by Representative Ron Marisco of Dauphin County, on House Bill 1552. The proposed legislation is being sponsored by an attorney and legislator Bryan Cutler from Lancaster County in Central Pennsylvania. It provides that:
Notwithstanding any other law, a civil action or proceeding brought to recover damages for death or injury to a person may only be filed in the county in which the cause of action arose.
The problem for Mr. Cutler, and those mainly Republican legislators who support the bill, is that venue is a procedural issue in Pennsylvania and under the Constitution of Pennsylvania the power to make procedural rules is vested solely with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and its Rules Committee. There is no exception. North-Central Pa. Trial Lawyers v. Weaver, 827 A.2d 550 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2003) (en banc).
There have not been any hearings on the Bill or allowance for public comment or debate. Watch to see if the members of the Judiciary Committee, especially the lawyers on it, actually vote in favor of a law that is clearly not constitutional.
What do you think about elected representatives, espcially attorneys, voting in favor of laws that are not constitutional? Wouldn’t logic dictate that the House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, also an attorney, make sure that only Constitutional laws are even considered?
Scott B. Cooper
Schmidt Kramer PC
209 State Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 232-6300 – Telephone
(717) 232-6467 – Facsimile