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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: May 20, 2013 04:43 PM
From: Senator Lawrence M. Farnese, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Amendment to Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act
In the near future, I plan to introduce legislation that would amend the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.

Last summer, a municipal water main break in my district occurred, leaving nearly a hundred households to file claims against the City of Philadelphia for losses to their homes and property. Under the act, (specifically, 42 Pa. C.S.§8553), a $500,000 cap exists on the damages recoverable from the city. In the case of the water main break, $500,000 would cover just under a quarter of the claims made by the individual claimants.

The $500,000 cap was instituted in 1980 and has not been reconsidered since that time. It is important to note that the current §8553 requires that any insurance benefits a claimant receives or are entitled to under their homeowners or other policy be deducted from the damages that could be considered recoverable via the municipality. However, in order to better protect property owners around the state from personal property damages that are not recoverable via their insurance policies, I am proposing to increase the municipal tort cap under this section to $2 million to assist with the recovery of property in these types of situations.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB1065