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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: December 1, 2014 04:11 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 reintroduce legislation that would amend the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.

Several municipal water main breaks in and around my district have occurred over the last couple years. One in particular left nearly a hundred households to file claims against the City of Philadelphia for losses to their homes and property. Under the current act, (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, with an annual adjustment based upon the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

I introduced similar legislation last session, as did Rep. Brian Sims introduce companion legislation.

Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB896