Chamber Minute

March 2017

Hi, I’m Gene Barr, president of the Pennsylvania Chamber.

Welcome to this month’s Pennsylvania Chamber Minute.

A fair and equitable legal system is essential toward ensuring swift justice and more certainty, which in turn attracts business development. But Pennsylvania has a long road toward achieving this balance. The American Tort Reform Association recently put the Commonwealth on a list of “Judicial Hellholes,” citing pro-plaintiff court systems in Philadelphia and Allegheny Counties as the catalyst behind delayed and costly cases.

The Pennsylvania Chamber has long pushed for legal reforms that will bring balance to our legal climate and rein in the actions of some trial lawyers, whose constant search for their next big pay day knows virtually no bounds. We were successful in 2011, when we led the charge on a Joint and Several Liability Law that prevents trial lawyers from targeting deep pocket defendants, even if they were at minimal fault for any harm caused. But much more work remains to be done. In fact, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform has also ranked our state 37th in the nation in terms of favorability, adding that this dismal standing is estimated to reduce employment by 1.53 percent.

To that end, our organization is proud to be a part of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform, a group that was recently formed to address imbalances in our state’s civil justice system. Through the leadership of executive director Curt Schroder – an attorney with experience in civil defense work and a former Pennsylvania lawmaker – the PCCJR is working to educate Pennsylvania residents and their elected representatives about the negative effects of the imbalanced lawsuit system, while promoting commonsense policies that bring needed reform and ensure redress for those injured. At the same time, our group is committed to protecting citizens, employers and health care providers from any legislation that would only serve to benefit lawyers at the expense of jobs and access to health care.

To learn more about our collective efforts toward a fairer and more just legal system, visit

Thanks for spending a minute of your time with the Pennsylvania Chamber, the Statewide Voice of Business.