Harrisburg- Today, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform (PCCJR) called out yet another blatant example of trial lawyers gone wild in Pennsylvania. According to a June 11, 2018 radio report on WCHE 1520 AM, the West Chester School District cancelled the Pierce Middle School’s annual field trip to Cape Henlopen, Delaware. The trip was cancelled because the District Superintendent, Dr. James Scanlon stated: “From a management standpoint, it is a lawsuit waiting to happen.”
“Pennsylvania’s jackpot-crazed litigation climate fueled by trial lawyers’ unending appetite for a chance to strike is ending childhood experiences as we know them,” said Curt Schroder, PCCJR Executive Director. “Instead of exploring new experiences, the threat of lawsuits is causing educational institutions to ditch cultural and enrichment opportunities. Sadly, these examples will only become more numerous due to this runaway litigation climate and the desire of a few to hit it rich.”
The West Chester School district is not the only institution wrestling with this. Recently, it was reported that the Penn State University Outing Club, Nittany Grotto Caving Club, and Scuba Club all lost their official University recognition. A campus recreational review or “risk assessment” deemed the clubs too risky. The Caving Club has sponsored regular trips for 70 years while the Outing Club is nearly 100 years old.
“While some are quick to blame the school district or university for being too cautious, they are not the cause of the problem. What has changed over the years that would cause schools and colleges to take such drastic steps? Lawsuits, lawyers, and a whole lot of money. Overnight class trips, camping, hiking, backpacking, canoeing and trail maintenance have not become riskier over the last century. What has changed however is plaintiffs’ attorneys urging people to sue at the drop of a hat!
It all begs the question: Where will trial lawyers strike next? Perhaps the Pierce Middle School Drama Club, Fusion Club or the Concert Chorale, asked Schroder?
The Pennsylvania Coalition for Civil Justice Reform is a 501(c )(6), not-for-profit, nonpartisan advocacy organization comprised of a diverse group of organizations and individuals committed to bringing fairness to Pennsylvania’s courts by raising awareness of civil justice issues and advocating for legal reform. Additional information is available at http://www.paforciviljusticereform.org, https://www.facebook.com/paciviljustice/ or https://twitter.com/paciviljustice