PA Supreme Court Rescinds Medical Malpractice Venue Restriction Effective January 1, 2023

August 25, 2022


On August 25, 2022, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, upon recommendation of the Civil Procedural Rules Committee, issued an Order amending the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure related to venue. Most significantly, the amendments remove the rule that required medical malpractice cases to be filed in a county where the cause of action arose. The Order also suspends the statutory venue provision in the MCARE Act. The committee’s Adoption Report contains a synopsis of its reasons for recommending an end to the venue limitation on medical malpractice cases.

Under the amended Rule 1006, an action against an individual may be brought “in a county where: (1) the individual may be served; (2) the cause of action arose; (3) a transaction or occurrence took place out of which the cause of action arose; (4) venue is authorized by law; or (5) the property or part of the property, which is the subject matter of the action, is located provided that equitable relief  is sought with respect to the property.” As before, an action may be brought against all defendants in any county in which venue is proper as to any one defendant; the exception for medical malpractice cases was removed. The prior restriction for medical malpractice cases was similarly removed from the venue rules pertaining to partnerships (Rule 2130), unincorporated associations (Rule 2156), and corporations (Rule 2179).

The amended Rule 1006 maintains the provisions for transferring venue for the convenience of the parties and witnesses (Rule 1006(d)), and the requirement to raise improper venue by preliminary objection (Rule 1006(e)). New subsection (g) of the amended rule requires the Civil Procedural Rules Committee to reexamine the amendments two years after the effective date.

The amendments take effect January 1, 2023. A copy of the Order, amendments, and committee’s report can be found here. In light of the new rules, healthcare defendants should evaluate all complaints filed on or after January 1, 2023 to determine if venue should be challenged through preliminary objections and/or a motion to dismiss based on forum non conveniens.