The Pennsylvania Senate will not vote on legislation allowing attorneys to discuss guidelines for awarding non-economic damages in auto injury cases, Senate Republican leaders announced. A vote on the measure, HB 2246, was expected up until a week ago.

Senate Floor Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware said that opposition to the legislation was too strong to consider the legislation on the floor.

The business community worked with health care providers and the insurance industry to squash the “We lined up on as many fronts as we could,” said Gene Barr, Vice President, Government Affairs for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry. “It paid off.”

The groups said the bill sets unwanted precedents.

“It sets a bad precedent both because it could lead to the same changes in products and med mal cases, but also because they’re using a vehicle code bill to make changes in judicial procedure, “ said Jonathan Greer, Vice President of the Pennsylvania Insurance Federation. House members attached the ‘noneconomic’ damages amendment on the House floor.

The measure, HB 2246, cleared the House in May.

In 1969, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that attorneys could not discuss non-economic damages in closing arguments.  

The Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which represents the state’s trial bar, supported the bill.

A lobbyist for the group, Mark Phenicie, said that 40 other states allow such arguments and Pennsylvania needed to update its laws.