Follow the Money: Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Edition

ATRA’s latest reports reveal the deep ties between trial lawyers and Pennsylvania politics, uncovering trends in legal services advertising and campaign contributions.

Legal Services Advertising

2023: $161.9 Million Spent on 1.4 Million Ads by Trial Lawyers

62% Increase in Spending on Out-of-Home Ads for Trial Lawyers Since 2019

60% Increase in the Quantity of Trial Lawyer Radio Ads Since 2019

Personal Injury Lawyer Ads Dominated

  • 58% of legal services ads in Pennsylvania in 2023 were ads for personal injury lawyers, including motorcycle, auto, and construction accident lawyers

$25.1 Million in Ad Buys from Morgan & Morgan

51,300+ Product Liability Ads

  • Top categories for 2023 product liability ads in Pennsylvania were for lawsuits related to:
    • Roundup®
    • Talcum Powder
    • Acetaminophen
    • Social Media Addiction

Political Contributions

$15.375 Million Donated to Top Pennsylvania Trial Bar PACs Since 2017

  • Plaintiffs’ firms donated heavily to LawPAC and the Committee for a Better Tomorrow, the political action committees for the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia trial lawyer groups

Top 4 Plaintiffs’ Firm Donors Each Gave $1 Million+ in Political Contributions Since 2017

  • Kline & Specter
  • Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, PC
  • Ross Feller Casey
  • Feldman Shepherd

Judges Are Top 2 Recipients of Trial Bar Money

  • Justice Daniel McCaffery – Pennsylvania Supreme Court – $1.8 Million Accepted from Trial Lawyers Since 2017
  • Judge Maria McLaughlin – Pennsylvania Superior Court – $1.1 Million Accepted from Trial Lawyers Since 2017

“These reports provide keen insight into the operation of the ‘trial lawyer playbook,’ pointing to a system easily skewed against consumers and taxpayers. Excessive legal advertising creates a culture of litigation and inflates costs. Additionally, the close financial ties between trial lawyers and politicians raise concerns about undue influence and a lack of transparency.”

ATRA President Tiger Joyce

“Trial lawyers continue to pump significant money into these ad buys because, armed with more clients, they can boost settlements and payouts when they go after large corporations, ultimately raking in larger contingency fees for themselves. Then, their strategic campaign investments serve to keep the status quo aligned in their favor.”

ATRA President Tiger Joyce

2019 FDA study shows the real-life consequences of these ads. The report found 66 reports of adverse events following patients discontinuing their blood thinner medication (Pradaxa, Xarelto, Eliquis or Savaysa) after viewing a lawyer advertisement. The median patient age was 70 and 98% stopped medication use without consulting with their doctor. Thirty-three patients experienced a stroke, 24 experienced another serious injury, and seven people died.

“It’s my opinion that the tone and content of these advertisements imply qualitative judgments about these medications that is just not true.

When you say call 1-800-BAD-DRUG, that clearly implies it’s a bad drug, which runs counter to current medical evidence and also to the FDA’s recommendations.” 

Dr. Shawn H. Fleming, doctor for one of the deceased, testifying before Congress

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