PRINTER'S NO.  172

  

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA

  

HOUSE BILL

 

No.

172

Session of

2009

  

  

INTRODUCED BY GODSHALL, BARRAR, BELFANTI, BEYER, BOYD, EVERETT, FAIRCHILD, KILLION, MUSTIO, O'NEILL, PETRI, REED, ROSS, SAYLOR, DENLINGER AND GINGRICH, FEBRUARY 2, 2009

  

  

REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON JUDICIARY, FEBRUARY 2, 2009  

  

  

  

AN ACT

  

1

Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the

2

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, adding and changing

3

definitions; further providing for the unified judicial

4

system; establishing the appellate division of Medical

5

Professional Liability Court; further providing for transfers

6

between intermediate appellate courts, for lien of judgments

7

for money, for direct appeals to the Supreme Court from

8

courts of common pleas, for allowance of appeals from

9

intermediate appellate courts, for appeals to Superior Court

10

from courts of common pleas, for original jurisdiction of the

11

Commonwealth Court and for appeals to the Commonwealth Court

12

from courts of common pleas; providing for the jurisdiction

13

of the appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

14

Court and for the organization and jurisdiction of the

15

Medical Professional Liability Court; establishing the

16

Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications

17

Commission and prescribing its powers and duties; further

18

providing for selection of judicial officers, for vacancies

19

in judicial offices and for retention election of judicial

20

officers; providing for selection and retention of judges of

21

the Medical Professional Liability Court and for salaries of

22

judges of the Medical Professional Liability Court;

23

establishing the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund

24

and providing for receipts and payments; and further

25

providing for right to appellate review and for appeals

26

generally.

27

The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

28

hereby enacts as follows:

29

Section 1.  The definition of "appellate court" in section

 


1

102 of Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is

2

amended and the section is amended by adding definitions to

3

read:

4

§ 102.  Definitions.

5

Subject to additional definitions contained in subsequent

6

provisions of this title which are applicable to specific

7

provisions of this title, the following words and phrases when

8

used in this title shall have, unless the context clearly

9

indicates otherwise, the meanings given to them in this section:

10

* * *

11

"Appellate court."  Includes the Supreme Court, the Superior

12

Court [and], the Commonwealth Court[.] and the appellate

13

division of Medical Professional Liability Court.

14

"Appellate division."  The appellate division of Medical

15

Professional Liability Court established under section 581

16

(relating to appellate division of Medical Professional

17

Liability Court).

18

* * *

19

"Medical Professional Liability Court."  The court

20

established under section 811 (relating to Medical Professional

21

Liability Court).

22

"Medical Professional Liability Court rule."  A rule or order

23

promulgated by the Medical Professional Liability Court.

24

* * *

25

"Statewide judges."  Judges of the Supreme Court, Superior

26

Court, Commonwealth Court and Medical Professional Liability

27

Court.

28

* * *

29

Section 2.  Section 301 of Title 42 is amended to read:

30

§ 301.  Unified judicial system.

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1

The judicial power of the Commonwealth shall be vested in a

2

unified judicial system consisting of the:

3

(1)  Supreme Court.

4

(2)  Superior Court.

5

(3)  Commonwealth Court.

6

(4)  Medical Professional Liability Court.

7

[(4)] (5)  Courts of common pleas.

8

[(5)] (6)  Community courts.

9

[(6)] (7)  Philadelphia Municipal Court.

10

[(7)] (8)  Pittsburgh Magistrates Court.

11

[(8)] (9)  Traffic Court of Philadelphia.

12

[(9)] (10) Magisterial district judges.

13

All courts and magisterial district judges and their

14

jurisdiction shall be in this unified judicial system.

15

Section 3.  Chapter 5 of Title 42 is amended by adding a

16

subchapter to read:

17

SUBCHAPTER D

18

APPELLATE DIVISION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

19

LIABILITY COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

20

Sec.

21

581.  Appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

22

Court.

23

582.  Powers of appellate division.

24

583.  Seat of appellate division.

25

§ 581.  Appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

26

Court.

27

(a)  General rule.--There shall be an appellate division of

28

Medical Professional Liability Court which shall consist of the

29

president judge and the other judges in regular active service.

30

(b)  Panels and en banc.--When reviewing orders of the

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1

Medical Professional Liability Court, the appellate division

2

shall sit in panels, and no member of the appellate division

3

shall participate as a member of a panel in the judicial review

4

of any order or other action in which the person participated as

5

a matter of original jurisdiction. A decision of a panel may be

6

reviewed by the division en banc.

7

§ 582.  Powers of appellate division.

8

The appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

9

Court shall have all powers necessary or appropriate in aid of

10

its jurisdiction which are agreeable to the usages and

11

principles of law.

12

§ 583.  Seat of appellate division.

13

The regular sessions of the appellate division of Medical

14

Professional Liability Court shall be held in the cities of

15

Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and elsewhere as

16

prescribed by Medical Professional Liability Court rule.

17

Section 4.  Sections 705, 707, 722, 724, 742, 761(a) and

18

762(b) of Title 42 are amended to read:

19

§ 705.  Transfers [between] among intermediate appellate courts.

20

The Superior Court [and], the Commonwealth Court and the

21

appellate division of Medical Professional Liability Court shall

22

have power pursuant to general rules, on their own motion or

23

upon [petition] application of any party, to transfer any appeal

24

to [the other court] another appellate court or division, 

25

subject to the restrictions for consideration and decision with

26

any matter pending in such other court or division involving the

27

same or related questions of fact, law or discretion.

28

§ 707.  Lien of judgments for money.

29

Any judgment or other order of the Supreme Court, the

30

Superior Court [or], the Commonwealth Court or the appellate

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1

division of Medical Professional Liability Court for the payment

2

of money shall not be a lien upon real property in any county

3

until it is entered of record in the office of the clerk of the

4

court of common pleas of the county where the property is

5

situated, or in the office of the clerk of the branch of the

6

court of common pleas embracing such county, in the same manner

7

as a judgment transferred from the court of common pleas of

8

another county.

9

§ 722.  Direct appeals from courts of common pleas.

10

(a)  General rule.--The Supreme Court shall have exclusive

11

jurisdiction of appeals from final orders of the courts of

12

common pleas in the following classes of cases:

13

(1)  Matters prescribed by general rule.

14

(2)  The right to public office.

15

(3)  Matters where the qualifications, tenure or right to

16

serve, or the manner of service, of any member of the

17

judiciary is drawn in question.

18

(4)  Automatic review of sentences as provided by [42

19

Pa.C.S. §§] sections 9546(d) (relating to relief and order)

20

and 9711(h) (relating to review of death sentence).

21

(5)  Supersession of a district attorney by an Attorney

22

General or by a court or where the matter relates to the

23

convening, supervision, administration, operation or

24

discharge of an investigating grand jury or otherwise

25

directly affects such a grand jury or any investigation

26

conducted by it.

27

(6)  Matters where the right or power of the Commonwealth

28

or any political subdivision to create or issue indebtedness

29

is drawn in direct question.

30

(7)  Matters where the court of common pleas has held

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1

invalid as repugnant to the Constitution, treaties or laws of

2

the United States, or to the Constitution of this

3

Commonwealth, any treaty or law of the United States or any

4

provision of the Constitution of, or of any statute of, this

5

Commonwealth, or any provision of any home rule charter.

6

(8)  Matters where the right to practice law is drawn in

7

direct question.

8

(b)  Exception.--The Supreme Court shall not have

9

jurisdiction under subsection (a)(7) of such classes of appeals

10

from the courts of common pleas as are by section 762 (relating

11

to appeals from courts of common pleas) within the exclusive

12

jurisdiction of the appellate division of Medical Professional

13

Liability Court.

14

§ 724.  Allowance of appeals from [Superior and Commonwealth

15

Courts] intermediate appellate courts.

16

(a)  General rule.--Except as provided by section 9781(f)

17

(relating to limitation on additional appellate review), final

18

orders of the Superior Court and final orders of the

19

Commonwealth Court not appealable under section 723 (relating to

20

appeals from Commonwealth Court) may be reviewed by the Supreme

21

Court upon allowance of appeal by any two justices of the

22

Supreme Court upon petition of any party to the matter.

23

(a.1)  Medical Professional Liability Court appeals.--Final

24

orders of the appellate division of Medical Professional

25

Liability Court may be reviewed by the Supreme Court upon

26

allowance of appeal by any two justices of the Supreme Court

27

upon petition of any party to the matter if the petition is

28

granted within 90 days after it is filed.

29

(a.2)  Scope of review.--If the petition shall be granted,

30

the Supreme Court shall have jurisdiction to review the order in

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1

the manner provided by section 5105(d)(1) (relating to scope of

2

appeal).

3

(b)  Improvident appeals.--If an appeal is improvidently

4

taken to the Supreme Court under section 723 in a case where the

5

proper mode of review is by petition for allowance of appeal

6

under this section, this alone shall not be a ground for

7

dismissal, but the papers whereon the appeal was taken shall be

8

regarded and acted on as a petition for allowance of appeal and

9

as if duly filed at the time the appeal was taken.

10

§ 742.  Appeals from courts of common pleas.

11

The Superior Court shall have exclusive appellate

12

jurisdiction of all appeals from final orders of the courts of

13

common pleas, regardless of the nature of the controversy or the

14

amount involved, except such classes of appeals as are by any

15

provision of this chapter within the exclusive jurisdiction of

16

the Supreme Court [or], the Commonwealth Court or the appellate

17

division of Medical Professional Liability Court.

18

§ 761.  Original jurisdiction.

19

(a)  General rule.--The Commonwealth Court shall have

20

original jurisdiction of all civil actions or proceedings:

21

(1)  Against the Commonwealth government, including any

22

officer thereof, acting in his official capacity, except:

23

(i)  actions or proceedings in the nature of

24

applications for a writ of habeas corpus or post-

25

conviction relief not ancillary to proceedings within the

26

appellate jurisdiction of the court;

27

(ii)  eminent domain proceedings;

28

(iii)  actions or proceedings conducted pursuant to

29

Chapter 85 (relating to matters affecting government

30

units);

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1

(iv)  actions or proceedings conducted pursuant to

2

[the act of May 20, 1937 (P.L.728, No.193), referred to

3

as the Board of Claims Act; and] 62 Pa.C.S. Ch. 17 Subch.

4

C (relating to Board of Claims);

5

(v)  actions or proceedings in the nature of trespass

6

as to which the Commonwealth government formerly enjoyed

7

sovereign or other immunity and actions or proceedings in

8

the nature of assumpsit relating to such actions or

9

proceedings in the nature of trespass[.]; and

10

(vi)  such matters as are by Subchapter C of Chapter

11

8 (relating to jurisdiction of Medical Professional

12

Liability Court) within the jurisdiction of the Medical

13

Professional Liability Court.

14

(2)  By the Commonwealth government, including any

15

officer thereof, acting in his official capacity, except:

16

(i)  eminent domain proceedings[.]; and

17

(ii)  such matters as are by section 832 (relating to

18

original jurisdiction) within the jurisdiction of the

19

Medical Professional Liability Court.

20

[(3)  Arising under Article V of the act of May 17, 1921

21

(P.L.789, No.285), known as "The Insurance Department Act of

22

1921."]

23

(4)  Original jurisdiction of which is vested in the

24

Commonwealth Court by any unrepealed statute hereafter

25

enacted.

26

* * *

27

§ 762.  Appeals from courts of common pleas.

28

* * *

29

(b)  Exception.--The Commonwealth Court shall not have

30

jurisdiction of such classes of appeals from courts of common

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1

pleas as are by [section]:

2

(1)  Section 722 (relating to direct appeals from courts

3

of common pleas) within the exclusive jurisdiction of the

4

Supreme Court.

5

(2)  Section 782 (relating to appeals from Medical

6

Professional Liability Court original hearing matters) within

7

the exclusive jurisdiction of the appellate division of

8

Medical Professional Liability Court.

9

Section 5.  Chapter 7 of Title 42 is amended by adding a

10

subchapter to read:

11

SUBCHAPTER E

12

JURISDICTION OF APPELLATE DIVISION OF

13

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT

14

Sec.

15

781.  Original jurisdiction.

16

782.  Appeals from Medical Professional Liability Court original

17

hearing matters.

18

783.  Answer of certified questions of law.

19

784.  Certification of questions of law.

20

§ 781.  Original jurisdiction.

21

The appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

22

Court shall have no original jurisdiction, except:

23

(1)  in cases of mandamus and prohibition to:

24

(i)  the judges of the Medical Professional Liability

25

Court when exercising the original jurisdiction of the

26

Medical Professional Liability Court; or

27

(ii)  courts of inferior jurisdiction where such

28

relief is ancillary to matters within the appellate

29

jurisdiction of the division; and

30

(2)  that the division, or any member thereof, shall have

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1

full power and authority when and as often as there may be

2

occasion to issue writs of habeas corpus under like

3

conditions returnable to the said court.

4

§ 782.  Appeals from Medical Professional Liability Court

5

original hearing matters.

6

The appellate division of Medical Professional Liability

7

Court shall have exclusive appellate jurisdiction of all appeals

8

from final orders of the Medical Professional Liability Court

9

entered by a single member thereof, regardless of the nature of

10

the controversy or the amount involved.

11

§ 783.  Answer of certified questions of law.

12

(a)  General rule.--The appellate division of Medical

13

Professional Liability Court may answer questions of law

14

certified to it by a United States appellate court or the

15

highest appellate court or the intermediate appellate court of

16

any other state or jurisdiction, when requested by the

17

certifying court, if there are involved in any matter pending

18

before the certifying court questions of law of this

19

Commonwealth within the jurisdiction of the appellate division

20

which may be determinative of the matter in the certifying court

21

and as to which it appears to the certifying court there is no

22

controlling precedent in the decisions of the appellate

23

division.

24

(b)  Contents of certification order.--A certification order

25

shall set forth:

26

(1)  The questions of law to be answered.

27

(2)  A statement of all facts relevant to the questions

28

certified and showing fully the nature of the controversy in

29

which the question arose.

30

(c)  Preparation of certification order.--The certification

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1

order shall be prepared by the certifying court, signed by the

2

judge presiding over the matter and forwarded to the appellate

3

division of Medical Professional Liability Court by the clerk of

4

the certifying court under its official seal. The appellate

5

division may require the original or copies of all or of any

6

portion of the record before the certifying court to be filed

7

with the certification order if, in the opinion of the appellate

8

division, the record or portion thereof may be necessary in

9

answering the questions.

10

(d)  Costs of certification.--Fees and costs shall be the

11

same as in appeals docketed before the appellate division and

12

shall be equally divided between the parties unless otherwise

13

ordered by the certifying court in its order of certification.

14

(e)  Briefs and argument.--Proceedings in the appellate

15

division under this section shall be governed by Medical

16

Professional Liability Court rules, which may provide

17

specifically for the answering and certification of questions of

18

law under this section.

19

(f)  Opinion.--The written opinion of the appellate division

20

stating the law governing the questions certified shall be sent

21

by the clerk under the seal of the appellate division of Medical

22

Professional Liability Court to the certifying court and to the

23

parties. An order adopting a written opinion shall be subject to

24

appeal under section 724(b) (relating to allowance of appeals

25

from intermediate appellate courts).

26

§ 784.  Certification of questions of law.

27

(a)  General rule.--The appellate division of Medical

28

Professional Liability Court, on its own motion or on the

29

application of any party, may order certification of questions

30

of law to a United States appellate court or to the highest

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1

appellate court or the intermediate appellate court of any other

2

state or jurisdiction when it appears to the appellate division

3

that:

4

(1)  there are involved in any matter pending before the

5

appellate division questions of law of the receiving

6

jurisdiction which may be determinative of the matter in the

7

appellate division; and

8

(2)  there is not controlling precedent in the decisions

9

of the appellate courts of the receiving jurisdiction.

10

(b)  Law of case.--The certification order may contain an

11

undertaking on behalf of the unified judicial system that the

12

answer to the certified question shall be deemed the law of the

13

case for the purposes of all further proceedings in the courts

14

of this Commonwealth.

15

(c)  Procedure.--The procedures for certification from this

16

Commonwealth to the receiving jurisdiction shall be as provided

17

by the laws of the receiving jurisdiction.

18

Section 6.  The heading of Article C of Subpart A of Part II

19

of Title 42 is amended to read:

20

ARTICLE C

21

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT

22

AND COURTS OF COMMON PLEAS

23

Section 7.  Article C of Subpart A of Part II of Title 42 is

24

amended by adding a chapter to read:

25

CHAPTER 8

26

ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION OF

27

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT

28

Subchapter

29

A.  (Reserved)

30

B.  Organization of Medical Professional Liability Court

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1

C.  Jurisdiction of Medical Professional Liability Court

2

D.  Transitional Provisions

3

SUBCHAPTER A

4

(RESERVED)

5

SUBCHAPTER B

6

ORGANIZATION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

7

LIABILITY COURT

8

Sec.

9

811.  Medical Professional Liability Court.

10

812.  Powers of Medical Professional Liability Court.

11

813.  Seat of court.

12

814.  Lien of judgments for money.

13

§ 811.  Medical Professional Liability Court.

14

There shall be a Medical Professional Liability Court of

15

Pennsylvania which shall consist of 18 judges.

16

§ 812.  Powers of Medical Professional Liability Court.

17

The Medical Professional Liability Court shall have power to

18

issue, under its judicial seal, every lawful writ and process

19

necessary or suitable for the exercise of its jurisdiction and

20

for the enforcement of any order which it may make, including

21

such writs and process to or to be served or enforced by system

22

and related personnel as the courts of common pleas are

23

authorized by law or usage to issue. The court shall also have

24

all powers of a court of record possessed by the courts of

25

common pleas.

26

§ 813.  Seat of court.

27

(a)  Central filing.--The Medical Professional Liability

28

Court shall maintain offices for the receipt of filings at one

29

or more locations within this Commonwealth as may be prescribed

30

by Medical Professional Liability Court rule. The Medical

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1

Professional Liability Court is comprised of three districts as

2

follows:

3

(1)  The eastern district comprises the counties of

4

Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh,

5

Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia.

6

(2)  The middle district comprises the counties of Adams,

7

Bradford, Cameron, Carbon, Centre, Clinton, Columbia,

8

Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata,

9

Lackawanna, Lebanon, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe,

10

Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Pike, Potter, Schuylkill,

11

Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Wayne, Wyoming

12

and York.

13

(3)  The western district comprises the counties of

14

Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler,

15

Cambria, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette,

16

Forest, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer,

17

Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington and Westmoreland.

18

(b)  Regular sessions.--The regular sessions of the Medical

19

Professional Liability Court shall be held in the eastern

20

district of Pennsylvania with locations in Media and Scranton,

21

middle district of Pennsylvania with locations in Harrisburg and

22

Williamsport and western district of Pennsylvania with locations

23

in Pittsburgh and Erie.

24

(c)  Other sessions.--Within the limits of available

25

appropriations, special sessions of the Medical Professional

26

Liability Court may be held at such other places from time to

27

time within this Commonwealth as may be necessary for the

28

convenience of parties or witnesses.

29

(d)  Reimbursement.--When regular or other sessions of the

30

Medical Professional Liability Court are held in facilities

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1

provided by counties under this section, reimbursement for

2

actual and reasonable expenses shall be made to the counties

3

from the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund.

4

§ 814.  Lien of judgments for money.

5

Any judgment or other order of the Medical Professional

6

Liability Court for the payment of money shall not be a lien

7

upon real property in any county until it is entered of record

8

in the office of the clerk of the court of common pleas of the

9

county in which the property is situated, or in the office of

10

the clerk of the branch of the court of common pleas embracing

11

such county, in the same manner as a judgment transferred from

12

the court of common pleas of another county.

13

SUBCHAPTER C

14

JURISDICTION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL

15

LIABILITY COURT

16

Sec.

17

831.  Definitions.

18

832.  Original jurisdiction.

19

833.  Exclusive jurisdiction.

20

§ 831.  Definitions.

21

The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter

22

shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the

23

context clearly indicates otherwise:

24

"Health care provider."  An individual or health care

25

facility that is licensed, certified or otherwise authorized to

26

provide health care under the laws of this Commonwealth. The

27

term also includes both of the following:

28

(1)  An officer, employee or agent of a health care

29

provider acting within the scope of the person's duties and

30

authority.

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1

(2)  A legal entity through which one or more health care

2

providers deliver health care, including, but not limited to,

3

a professional corporation, a partnership or limited

4

liability company.

5

"Medical professional liability claim."  A claim brought by

6

or on behalf of an individual seeking damages for loss sustained

7

by the individual as a result of an injury or wrong to the

8

individual or another individual arising from a health care

9

provider's provision of or failure to provide health care

10

regardless of the theory of liability. A medical professional

11

liability claim includes, but is not limited to, a claim

12

grounded in negligence, informed consent, breach of contract,

13

misrepresentation or fraud.

14

§ 832.  Original jurisdiction.

15

The Medical Professional Liability Court shall have original

16

jurisdiction of all civil actions or proceedings against a

17

health care provider for all medical professional liability

18

claims.

19

§ 833.  Exclusive jurisdiction.

20

Except as provided in section 721 (relating to original

21

jurisdiction), the jurisdiction of the Medical Professional

22

Liability Court under section 832 (relating to original

23

jurisdiction) shall be exclusive.

24

SUBCHAPTER D

25

TRANSITIONAL PROVISIONS

26

Sec.

27

841.  Organization of court.

28

842.  Existing cases unaffected.

29

843.  Rules.

30

844.  Procurement of juries.

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1

845.  Filing fees.

2

846.  Expiration review.

3

§ 841.  Organization of court.

4

(a)  General rule.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

5

shall meet and organize in the City of Harrisburg. The court

6

shall procure the necessary supplies, equipment and personnel to

7

commence operation and promulgate any necessary rules of court

8

or operating procedures. When the court is organized and ready

9

for the transaction of business, the president judge of the

10

court shall so certify to the Governor, who shall issue a

11

proclamation stating that the court is organized and ready for

12

the transaction of its judicial business.

13

(b)  Initial term of office.--The Governor shall proceed to

14

appoint persons to serve as judges of the court for purposes of

15

organizing its affairs. In order to permit the efficient

16

organization of the court, the date of appointment by the

17

Governor shall be deemed to be the date on which the vacancies

18

in the offices of the initial judges of the court filled by the

19

Governor under this subsection occurred, so that the first

20

election of judges of the court shall not be held until the

21

first municipal election following the initial appointment by

22

the Governor.

23

§ 842.  Existing cases unaffected.

24

A change in jurisdiction effected by amendments to this title

25

or to any other act shall not affect the jurisdiction of any

26

court over any pending matter, but, in the interest of justice,

27

an existing matter may be transferred to the Medical

28

Professional Liability Court.

29

§ 843.  Rules.

30

(a)  Medical Professional Liability Court.--Prior to the

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1

commencement of operations, specific rules shall be adopted that

2

will be applicable to original matters heard in Medical

3

Professional Liability Court.

4

(b)  Appellate division.--Until otherwise provided by Medical

5

Professional Liability Court rule, the Pennsylvania Rules of

6

Appellate Procedure shall be applicable to matters in the

7

appellate division of Medical Professional Liability Court, and

8

rules of court promulgated by the Medical Professional Liability

9

Court applicable in the appellate division shall be classified

10

under Pa.R.A.P. No.104 (relating to rules of court).

11

§ 844.  Procurement of juries.

12

(a)  Master list of prospective jurors.--At least annually

13

the jury selection commission shall prepare a district-wide

14

master list of prospective jurors for each judicial district.

15

This list shall contain all voter registration lists for each

16

district, which lists may be incorporated by reference, or names

17

from such other lists which in the opinion of the commission

18

will provide a number of names of prospective jurors which is

19

equal to or greater than the number of names contained in the

20

voter registration list. The commission may, but shall not be

21

required to, supplement the master list of prospective jurors to

22

include, without being limited to, persons in any of the

23

following categories:

24

(1)  Persons listed in telephone directories, city

25

directories, municipal directories and similar directories.

26

(2)  Persons who pay taxes or are assessed for taxes

27

imposed by any political subdivisions.

28

(3)  Persons in the county participating in any State,

29

county or local program authorized by law and, to the extent

30

such names are available, persons participating in any

- 18 -

 


1

Federal program authorized by law.

2

(4)  Persons who are on school census lists.

3

(5)  Any other person whose name does not appear in the

4

master list of prospective jurors and who meets the

5

qualifications for jurors set forth in this chapter and who

6

makes application to the commission to be listed on the

7

master list of prospective jurors.

8

(b)  Selection, compensation and maintenance of jurors.--

9

Except as provided in subsection (a) or unless otherwise

10

provided by the Medical Professional Liability Court, the

11

procedures for the selection, compensation and maintenance of

12

juries for service in the Commonwealth Court shall be applicable

13

to the selection, compensation and maintenance of juries in the

14

Medical Professional Liability Court.

15

§ 845.  Filing fees.

16

Until otherwise provided by Medical Professional Liability

17

Court rule, the fee bill applicable in the Commonwealth Court

18

shall be applicable in the Medical Professional Liability Court.

19

§ 846.  Expiration review.

20

(a)  Reports to General Assembly.--The following reports

21

shall be submitted within 120 days after the expiration of ten

22

years after entry by the Medical Professional Liability Court of

23

its first final order in any action, proceeding or appeal:

24

(1)  The Medical Professional Liability Court shall

25

submit to the General Assembly any recommendations for

26

legislation relating to size, structure or operations of the

27

court.

28

(2)  The Attorney General shall submit a report to the

29

General Assembly reviewing and commenting upon the operations

30

of the Medical Professional Liability Court and making any

- 19 -

 


1

recommendations for legislation relating to size, structure

2

or operations of the court.

3

(b)  Request for comments.--Appropriate committees of the

4

General Assembly shall request comments from the organized bar

5

and the general public concerning the size, structure and

6

operations of the Medical Professional Liability Court.

7

Section 8.  Chapter 21 of Title 42 is amended by adding a

8

subchapter to read:

9

SUBCHAPTER G

10

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT

11

QUALIFICATIONS COMMISSION

12

Sec.

13

2161.  Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications

14

Commission.

15

2162.  Composition of Medical Professional Liability Court

16

Qualifications Commission.

17

2163.  Organization.

18

2164.  Powers and duties.

19

§ 2161.  Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications

20

Commission.

21

(a)  General rule.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

22

Qualifications Commission shall consist of 12 residents of this

23

Commonwealth selected as provided in this subchapter.

24

(b)  Seal.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

25

Qualifications Commission shall have a seal engraved with its

26

name and such other inscriptions as may be specified by Medical

27

Professional Liability Court rule. A facsimile or preprinted

28

seal may be used for all purposes in lieu of the original seal.

29

(c)  Status.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

30

Qualifications Commission shall not be deemed to be an agency 

- 20 -

 


1

for purposes of 65 Pa.C.S. Ch. 7 (relating to open meetings).

2

§ 2162.  Composition of Medical Professional Liability Court

3

Qualifications Commission.

4

(a)  General rule.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

5

Qualifications Commission shall consist of:

6

(1)  Three commissioners appointed by the President pro

7

tempore of the Senate.

8

(2)  Three commissioners appointed by the Minority Leader

9

of the Senate.

10

(3)  Three commissioners appointed by the Speaker of the

11

House of Representatives.

12

(4)  Three commissioners appointed by the Minority Leader

13

of the House of Representatives.

14

(b)  Qualifications.--Two of the commissioners appointed

15

under each paragraph of subsection (a) shall be members of the

16

bar of the courts of this Commonwealth. The third commissioner

17

appointed in each case shall be a nonlawyer elector.

18

(c)  Terms of office.--Except as provided in subsection (e),

19

each commissioner shall be appointed for a four-year term. A

20

commissioner shall not be appointed for more than two successive

21

full terms. An appointment to fill an unexpired term which has

22

fewer than two years remaining shall not be deemed a full term.

23

A vacancy on the commission shall be filled for the balance of

24

the term by appointment made by the person who at the time is

25

the ranking member in the same chamber of the General Assembly

26

and of the same political party as the person who appointed the

27

vacating member of the commission.

28

(d)  Restriction on public or political activities.--During a

29

commissioner's term of service, a commissioner shall not hold:

30

(1)  A compensated public office or public appointment.

- 21 -

 


1

(2)  Office in any political party or political

2

organization.

3

(e)  Transitional provisions.--

4

(1)  The initial Medical Professional Liability Court

5

Qualifications Commission provided for in this section shall

6

come into existence upon the effective date of this chapter.

7

(2)  The initial members of the Medical Professional

8

Liability Court Qualifications Commission shall serve as

9

follows:

10

(i)  the commissioners appointed by the President pro

11

tempore of the Senate, one each for two, three and four

12

years;

13

(ii)  the commissioners appointed by the Minority

14

Leader of the Senate, one each for two, three and four

15

years;

16

(iii)  the commissioners appointed by the Speaker of

17

the House of Representatives, one each for one, two and

18

three years; and

19

(iv)  the commissioners appointed by the Minority

20

Leader of the House of Representatives, one each for one,

21

two and three years.

22

§ 2163.  Organization.

23

The Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications

24

Commission shall elect a presiding officer from among its

25

members and shall establish its own rules of procedure. The

26

Medical Professional Liability Court shall furnish such staff

27

support as may be necessary for the conduct of the business of

28

the commission. The cost and expense of the commission shall be

29

paid out of the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund

30

established under section 3591 (relating to Medical Professional

- 22 -

 


1

Liability Court Fund).

2

§ 2164.  Powers and duties.

3

(a)  General rule.--The Medical Professional Liability Court

4

Qualifications Commission shall evaluate the qualifications of

5

all of the following:

6

(1)  Applicants seeking election as a judge of the

7

Medical Professional Liability Court who request evaluation

8

of their qualifications pursuant to section 3161(c) (relating

9

to election of judges of Medical Professional Liability

10

Court).

11

(2)  Applicants seeking appointment by the Governor to a

12

vacancy on the Medical Professional Liability Court pursuant

13

to section 3162 (relating to vacancies in office of judge of

14

Medical Professional Liability Court).

15

(3)  Judges of the Medical Professional Liability Court

16

who seek retention in office pursuant to section 3163

17

(relating to retention of judges of Medical Professional

18

Liability Court).

19

(b)  Rules and regulations.--The commission may adopt such

20

rules and regulations as it deems necessary to discharge its

21

duties.

22

(c)  Immunity.--A member of the commission shall not be held

23

to have violated any criminal law or to be civilly liable under

24

any law by reason of the performance by the member of any duty,

25

function or activity authorized or required of the commission if

26

the member has exercised due care in such performance. This

27

subsection shall not apply with respect to any action taken by

28

any individual if the individual, in taking the action, was

29

motivated by malice toward any person affected by the action.

30

Section 9.  Sections 3131, 3132 and 3153 of Title 42 are

- 23 -

 


1

amended by adding subsections to read:

2

§ 3131.  Selection of judicial officers for regular terms.

3

* * *

4

(f)  Medical Professional Liability Court.--The judges of the

5

Medical Professional Liability Court shall be elected in the

6

manner provided in section 3161 (relating to election of judges

7

of Medical Professional Liability Court).

8

§ 3132.  Vacancies in office.

9

* * *

10

(e)  Medical Professional Liability Court.--Subsections (a)

11

through (d) shall not apply to a vacancy in the office of a

12

judge of the Medical Professional Liability Court. The

13

provisions of section 3162 (relating to vacancies in office of

14

judge of Medical Professional Liability Court) shall apply.

15

§ 3153.  Retention elections after regular term.

16

* * *

17

(d)  Medical Professional Liability Court.--Except as

18

provided in section 3163 (relating to retention of judges of

19

Medical Professional Liability Court), subsections (a) through

20

(c) shall apply to the judges of the Medical Professional

21

Liability Court.

22

Section 10.  Chapter 31 of Title 42 is amended by adding a

23

subchapter to read:

24

SUBCHAPTER E

25

SELECTION AND RETENTION OF JUDGES

26

OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT

27

Sec.

28

3161.  Election of judges of Medical Professional Liability

29

Court.

30

3162.  Vacancies in office of judge of Medical Professional

- 24 -

 


1

Liability Court.

2

3163.  Retention of judges of Medical Professional Liability

3

Court.

4

§ 3161.  Election of judges of Medical Professional Liability

5

Court.

6

(a)  General rule.--Judges of the Medical Professional

7

Liability Court shall be elected for a regular term of office at

8

the municipal election next preceding the commencement of their

9

respective regular terms of office by the electors of this

10

Commonwealth.

11

(b)  Special procedures.--The judges of the Medical

12

Professional Liability Court shall be elected as provided in the

13

act of June 3, 1937 (P.L.1333, No.320), known as the

14

Pennsylvania Election Code, except that:

15

(1)  The following dates prescribed by the Pennsylvania

16

Election Code shall not apply:

17

(i)  The date by which the Secretary of the

18

Commonwealth is to notify the county boards of election

19

of the offices for which candidates are to be nominated

20

at the ensuing primary.

21

(ii)  The date by which the county boards of election

22

are to publish notice of public offices for which

23

nominations are to be made.

24

(2)  The date before and after which nomination petitions

25

and nomination papers may be circulated shall be 60 days

26

prior to the dates that would otherwise apply in the absence

27

of this section.

28

(3)  Candidates for nomination who desire to have their

29

qualifications evaluated by the Medical Professional

30

Liability Court Qualifications Commission shall proceed as

- 25 -

 


1

provided in subsection (c). Candidates who do not desire to

2

have their qualifications evaluated by the commission shall

3

not be subject to subsection (c) and shall proceed instead in

4

the manner provided in the Pennsylvania Election Code.

5

(4)  Candidates for nomination shall present a nominating

6

petition containing valid signatures of at least 1,000

7

registered and enrolled members of the proper party,

8

including at least 100 members from each of at least five

9

counties.

10

(5)  Each person filing a nomination petition or

11

nomination papers for a candidate shall pay a filing fee, at

12

the time of filing either with the commission or the

13

Department of State, as the case may be, of $200. A

14

nomination petition or nomination papers shall not be

15

accepted or filed unless and until the filing fee is paid in

16

cash or by certified or cashier's check or money order made

17

payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All moneys paid

18

on account of filing fees for candidates for nomination for

19

the office of judge of the Medical Professional Liability

20

Court shall be transmitted to the State Treasurer and shall

21

become part of the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund.

22

(6)  (Reserved).

23

(7)  On all official ballots except absentee ballots, the

24

names of all candidates from the same political party for

25

nomination or election shall be rotated from one precinct to

26

another. On absentee ballots the names of those candidates

27

shall be so alternated that each name shall appear, insofar

28

as reasonably possible, substantially an equal number of

29

times at the beginning, at the end and at each intermediate

30

place, if any, of the group of candidates from the same

- 26 -

 


1

political party.

2

(c)  Evaluation of qualifications.--Candidates who desire to

3

have their qualifications evaluated by the commission shall

4

proceed in the following fashion:

5

(1)  Nomination petitions and nomination papers shall be

6

filed with the commission instead of the Department of State

7

and must be filed with the commission no later than 60 days

8

prior to the date for filing nomination petitions and

9

nomination papers generally.

10

(2)  The affidavit of candidates submitted to the

11

commission shall be in the form prescribed by the

12

Pennsylvania Election Code, with such additional information

13

as may be required by the rules and regulations of the

14

commission.

15

(3)  The commission shall evaluate the qualifications of

16

each candidate in accordance with such criteria and measures

17

of qualification as the commission promulgates in regulations

18

and shall assign each candidate a rating of one of the

19

following:

20

(i)  Extremely well qualified.

21

(ii)  Well qualified.

22

(iii)  Qualified.

23

(iv)  Unqualified.

24

(4)  The commission shall publish in the Pennsylvania

25

Bulletin a report containing the rating assigned to each

26

candidate by the commission. The report of the commission

27

shall be published not later than the date the nomination

28

petition or nomination papers of the candidate would have

29

been due to be filed absent the provisions of this

30

subsection. The report shall include the nomination petition

- 27 -

 


1

or nomination papers and the affidavit of the candidate.

2

(5)  A determination by the commission to report a

3

candidate as unqualified may be challenged in the same manner

4

as a contested nomination of the second class under Article

5

XVII(b) of the Pennsylvania Election Code, except that the

6

petition commencing the proceeding shall be filed by the

7

candidate himself within 20 days after the last day for

8

filing reports of the commission with the Department of

9

State. A determination by the commission to report a

10

candidate as extremely well qualified, well qualified or

11

qualified shall not be subject to challenge.

12

§ 3162.  Vacancies in office of judge of Medical Professional

13

Liability Court.

14

(a)  General rule.--A vacancy in the office of judge of the

15

Medical Professional Liability Court shall be filled by

16

appointment by the Governor in the manner provided in this

17

section.

18

(b)  Advertisement of vacancy.--Whenever a vacancy occurs in

19

the office of judge of the Medical Professional Liability Court,

20

the Medical Professional Liability Court Qualifications

21

Commission shall publicly advertise the vacancy and solicit

22

applications. When it is known that a vacancy will occur in the

23

future on a date certain, the process set forth in this section

24

may begin 90 days prior to that date.

25

(c)  Preparation of list.--From the applications received,

26

the commission shall prepare and submit to the Governor a list

27

of not more than seven persons who are qualified to hold the

28

office of judge of the Medical Professional Liability Court.

29

When more than one vacancy exists, the maximum number of persons

30

who may be included on the list submitted to the Governor shall

- 28 -

 


1

be increased by two persons for each additional vacancy. The

2

list shall be submitted to the Governor no later than 60 days

3

after the vacancy occurs. Immediately following submission of

4

the list to the Governor, the list shall be filed with the

5

Senate and made public by the commission. The commission shall

6

maintain the confidentiality of the information on the list but

7

disclose the names of applicants whose names do not appear on

8

the list and applicants who have not requested that their names

9

remain confidential.

10

(d)  Vote required for commission endorsement.--The list

11

submitted to the Governor shall contain the names of those

12

persons who receive affirmative votes from eight or more

13

commissioners, except that the number of persons shall not

14

exceed the limitations imposed by subsection (c).

15

(e)  Nomination to Senate.--The Governor shall nominate from

16

the list one person for each vacancy with respect to which a

17

list of recommended applicants has been submitted. If the

18

Governor does not nominate, within 30 days of receipt of the

19

list, as many of the persons recommended as there are vacancies

20

to be filled, the first person or persons named on the list in

21

the order determined by the commission who have not been

22

nominated by the Governor, up to the number of vacancies the

23

Governor has failed to make nominations for, shall be deemed

24

nominated.

25

(f)  Action by Senate.--Senate action on a nomination to fill

26

a vacancy in the office of judge of the Medical Professional

27

Liability Court shall be in accordance with section 8 of Article

28

IV of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

29

(g)  Substitute nominations.--The Governor may make a

30

substitute nomination from the list within 30 days after

- 29 -

 


1

receiving notification from the Senate of the rejection of a

2

prior nominee; otherwise, the ranking person on the list who has

3

not been rejected by the Senate shall be deemed nominated as a

4

substitute.

5

(h)  Rejection of all candidates.--If all of the persons on a

6

list have been nominated and rejected by the Senate, the Senate

7

shall so notify the commission. The commission shall meet within

8

ten days of receipt of notification by the Senate and publicly

9

select by lot one person from the list. The person selected

10

shall thereupon be deemed appointed and confirmed to the vacant

11

position and shall be so commissioned by the Governor.

12

§ 3163.  Retention of judges of Medical Professional Liability

13

Court.

14

At the expiration of the term of office of a judge of the

15

Medical Professional Liability Court, the judge shall be subject

16

to retention in office and retirement as provided in this part

17

except that whenever a judge of the Medical Professional

18

Liability Court files a declaration of candidacy for retention

19

election, the Medical Professional Liability Court

20

Qualifications Commission shall review the judge's judicial

21

performance and shall, on or before the first Monday of April of

22

the year of the retention election, report to the Department of

23

State whether or not in the opinion of the commission the judge

24

is qualified to be retained in office.

25

Section 11.  Title 42 is amended by adding a section to read:

26

§ 3582.  Salaries of judges of Medical Professional Liability

27

Court.

28

(a)  Salaries.--The annual salary of the President Judge of

29

the Medical Professional Liability Court shall be $104,500. The

30

annual salary of each of the other judges of the Medical

- 30 -

 


1

Professional Liability Court shall be $104,000.

2

(b)  Annual cost-of-living adjustment.--Beginning January 1,

3

2008, and each January 1 thereafter, the annual salaries under

4

this section shall be increased by the percentage change in the

5

Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the

6

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland area for the

7

most recent 12-month period for which figures have been

8

officially reported by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor

9

Statistics, immediately prior to the date the adjustment is due

10

to take effect. The percentage increase and salary amounts shall

11

be determined prior to the annual effective date of the

12

adjustment by the Supreme Court and shall be published in the

13

Pennsylvania Bulletin by the Court Administrator of Pennsylvania

14

within 20 days of the date the determination is made.

15

Section 12.  Chapter 35 of Title 42 is amended by adding a

16

subchapter to read:

17

SUBCHAPTER G

18

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY COURT FUND

19

Sec.

20

3591.  Medical Professional Liability Court Fund.

21

3592.  Receipts and other credits.

22

3593.  Payments and other debits.

23

§ 3591.  Medical Professional Liability Court Fund.

24

There shall be established in the State Treasury a special

25

operating fund to be known as the Medical Professional Liability

26

Court Fund. Debits and credits shall be made to that fund under

27

this subchapter. The operating and capital expenses of the

28

Medical Professional Liability Court shall be paid solely from

29

the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund.

30

§ 3592.  Receipts and other credits.

- 31 -

 


1

(a)  General rule.--There shall be paid or credited to the

2

Medical Professional Liability Court Fund:

3

(1)  Amounts appropriated to the Medical Professional

4

Liability Court in the manner provided by law.

5

(2)  The following surcharges, which are hereby imposed:

6

(i)  A surcharge upon the health care facility

7

licensure application and renewal fees of the Department

8

of Health under section 807(b) of the act of July 19,

9

1979 (P.L.130, No.48), known as the Health Care

10

Facilities Act, in the amount of 10% of each such fee.

11

(ii)  A surcharge upon the civil penalties collected

12

by the Department of Health under section 817(b) of the

13

Health Care Facilities Act, in the amount of 25% of each

14

such fee.

15

(iii)  A surcharge upon the licensing, examination,

16

registration, certificates and other fees of all health

17

care-related professionals of the Bureau of Professional

18

and Occupational Affairs of the Department of State, in

19

the amount of 10% of each such fee.

20

(3)  Amounts received by the Commonwealth on account of

21

the operation of the Medical Professional Liability Court.

22

Fees and charges of the Medical Professional Liability Court

23

shall be fixed by the governing authority of the Medical

24

Professional Liability Court with a view initially to the

25

operation of the Medical Professional Liability Court on a

26

self-sustaining basis to the extent feasible and eventually

27

to the elimination of the surcharges set forth in paragraph

28

(2)(ii) and (iii) and the reduction of the surcharge set

29

forth in paragraph (2)(i).

30

(b)  Money paid into court.--Money paid into court shall not

- 32 -

 


1

be credited to the Medical Professional Liability Court Fund

2

except to the extent that the amounts constitute an allowance

3

due a public officer upon the amount levied under an execution.

4

§ 3593.  Payments and other debits.

5

There shall be disbursed from or debited to the Medical

6

Professional Liability Court Fund amounts payable by the

7

Commonwealth on account of the operation of the Medical

8

Professional Liability Court.

9

Section 13.  Sections 5105(b) and 5571(a) of Title 42 are

10

amended to read:

11

§ 5105.  Right to appellate review.

12

* * *

13

(b)  Successive appeals.--

14

(1)  Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the

15

rights conferred by subsection (a) are cumulative, so that a

16

litigant may as a matter of right cause a final order of any

17

tribunal in any matter which itself constitutes an appeal to

18

such tribunal, to be further reviewed by the court having

19

jurisdiction of appeals from such tribunal. Except as

20

provided in section 723 (relating to appeals from [the]

21

Commonwealth Court) there shall be no right of appeal from

22

the Superior Court or the Commonwealth Court to the Supreme

23

Court under this section or otherwise.

24

(2)  There shall be a right of appeal in all cases from

25

the Medical Professional Liability Court to its appellate

26

division, which shall constitute a separate court for the

27

purposes of section 9 of Article V of the Constitution of

28

Pennsylvania, but, except as provided in section 724(b)

29

(relating to allowance of appeals from intermediate appellate

30

courts), there shall be no right of appeal from the Medical

- 33 -

 


1

Professional Liability Court or the appellate division of the

2

Medical Professional Liability Court to the Supreme Court

3

under this section or otherwise.

4

* * *

5

§ 5571.  Appeals generally.

6

(a)  General rule.--The time for filing an appeal, a petition

7

for allowance of appeal, a petition for permission to appeal or

8

a petition for review of a quasi-judicial order, in the Supreme

9

Court, the Superior Court [or], the Commonwealth Court or the

10

Medical Professional Liability Court shall be governed by

11

general rules. No other provision of this subchapter shall be

12

applicable to matters subject to this subsection.

13

* * *

14

Section 14.  This act shall take effect in 30 days.

- 34 -

 


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