Joint & Several Liability

Problem

The rule of joint and several liability is neither fair, nor rational, because it fails to equitably distribute liability. The rule allows a defendant only minimally liable for a given harm to be forced to pay the entire judgment, where the co-defendants are unable to pay their share.

ATRA's Position:

ATRA supports replacing the rule of joint and several liability with the rule of proportionate liability. In a proportionate liability system, each co-defendant is proportionally liable for the plaintiff’s harm. For example, a co-defendant that is found by a jury to be 20% responsible for a plaintiff’s injury would be required to pay no more than 20% of the entire settlement. More moderate reforms that ATRA supports include: (1) barring the application of joint and several liability to recover non-economic damages; and (2) barring the application of joint and several liability to recover from co-defendants found to be responsible for less than a certain percentage (such as 25%) of the plaintiff’s harm.


Opposition Opinion:

The personal injury bar’s argument in support of joint and several liability—that the rule protects the right of their clients to be fully compensated—fails to address the hardship imposed by the rule on co-defendants that are required to pay damages beyond their proportion of fault.

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SF 35 (1994).

Wyoming|1994

Amends the joint and several liability reform passed in 1986. 

[…]

Amends the joint and several liability reform passed in 1986.  Defines when an individual is at fault.  Specifies the amount of damages recoverable in cases where more than one party is at fault.  Clarifies the relationship between fault and negligence.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 17 (1986): Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-1-109(e).

Wyoming|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 421 (2005).

West Virginia|2005

Eliminates joint and several liability for defendants 30 percent or

[…]

Eliminates joint and several liability for defendants 30 percent or less at fault.  In such situations, defendants pay only percentage of fault as determined by the jury.  Provides that if a claimant has not been paid after six months of the judgment, defendants 10 percent or more responsible are subject to reallocation of uncollected amount.  Defendants less than 10 percent at fault or whose fault is equal to or less than the claimant’s percentage of fault are not subject to reallocation.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 2122 (2003).

West Virginia|2003

Provides for modified joint and several liability in medical malpractice

[…]

Provides for modified joint and several liability in medical malpractice cases so that liability is several among defendants who go to trial, but does not take into account settling defendant’s liability.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 11 (1995).

Wisconsin|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 51% at fault.  Provides that a plaintiff’s negligence will be measured separately against each defendant.  The statute retroactively abolishing joint liability for any defendant found to be less than 51% at fault violated the Due Process Clauses of the State and Federal Constitutions.


[hide]

Challenged and Struck Down

Matthies v. Positive Safety Mfg. Co., 628 N.W.2d 842 (Wis. 2001).

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 4630 (1986): Wash. Rev. Code Ann. § 4.22.070(1)(b).

Washington|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in cases in which defendants acted in concert or the plaintiff is found to be fault free, or in cases involving hazardous or solid waste disposal sites, business torts and manufacturing of generic products.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: (1985).

Vermont|1985

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 74 (1999): Utah Code Ann. § 78‑27-40.

Utah|1999

Clarifies the 1986 statute that abolished joint liability to address

[…]

Clarifies the 1986 statute that abolished joint liability to address the Utah Supreme Court decision in Field v. The Boyer Company.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 64 (1986).

Utah|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 4 (2003).

Texas|2003

Defendant pays only assessed percentage of fault unless defendant is

[…]

Defendant pays only assessed percentage of fault unless defendant is 50% or more responsible.  Defendants can designate (as opposed to join) other responsible third parties whose fault contributed to causing plaintiff’s harm.  In toxic tort cases, the threshold for joint and several liability raised from 15% to 50%.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 28 (1995).

Texas|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 51% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 5 (1987).

Texas|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 20% at fault, except when a plaintiff is found to be fault free and a defendant’s share exceeds 10%, and when damages result from environmental pollution or hazardous waste.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: S.B. 56 (2013)

Tennessee|2013

Codifies current state law by providing that if multiple defendants are

[…]

Codifies current state law by providing that if multiple defendants are found liable in a civil action governed by comparative fault, a defendant shall only be severally liable for the percentage of damages for which fault is attributed to such defendant by the trier of fact, and no defendant shall be held jointly liable for any damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992).

Tennessee|1992

Bans application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bans application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 263 (1987): S.D. Codified Laws Ann. § 15-8-15.1.

South Dakota|1987

Provides that “any party who is allocated less than 50%

[…]

Provides that “any party who is allocated less than 50% of the total fault allocated to all parties may not be jointly liable for more than twice the percentage of fault allocated to that party.”


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Medical Liability: S. 83 (2005).

South Carolina|2005

Specifies that if there are multiple defendants in a civil

[…]

Specifies that if there are multiple defendants in a civil action, joint and several liability does not apply to any defendant 50 percent or less responsible for the damages.  Furthermore, specified that comparative fault is included in the calculation of total fault in the case.  If the plaintiff is found to be greater than 50 percent responsible for the total fault, then the plaintiff is completely barred from recovering damages.  A defendant found to be less than 50 percent responsible is only responsible for its proportional share of damages based on its percentage of liability.  Retained the right of the “empty chair” defense where a defendant retains the right to assert that another potential tortfeasor, whether or not a party,  contributed to the alleged damages and may be liable for any or all damages alleged by another party.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H. 3008 (2005).

South Carolina|2005

Provides that joint and several liability does not apply to

[…]

Provides that joint and several liability does not apply to defendants less than 50 percent responsible of the total fault. In the calculation of total fault, comparative fault of the plaintiff is to be included.  If the plaintiff is found to be 50 percent or greater at fault, the plaintiff shall then be barred from recovery.  Defendant’s less  than 50 percent at fault shall only be responsible for its proportional share of the damages based on its percentages of liability.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1131 (2011).

Pennsylvania|2011

Bars the application of the rule of joint and several

[…]

Bars the application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except when a defendant has: (1) been found liable for intentional fraud or tort; (2) been held more than 60% liable; (3) been held liable for environmental hazards; or (4) been held civilly liable as a result of drunk driving.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1089 (2002).

Pennsylvania|2002

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except when a defendant has: (1) been found liable for intentional fraud or tort; (2) been held more than 60% liable; (3) been held liable for environmental hazards, or; (4) been held civilly liable as a result of drunk driving.  The 2002 joint and several liability law violated the single subject rule of the PA Constitution. DeWeese v. Weaver, 880 A.2d 54 & 824 A.2d 364 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005).


[hide]

Challenged and Struck Down

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 601 (1995): Or. Rev. Stat. § 18.485.

Oregon|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except where the defendants is determined to be insolvent within one year of the final judgment.  In those cases, a defendant less than 20% at fault would be liable for no more than two times her original exposure and a defendant more than 20% liable would be liable for the full amount of damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 323 (1987).

Oregon|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of  noneconomic damages.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, where the defendant is found to be less than 15% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform- S.B. 862 (2011), 23 Okl. St. § 15.1.

Oklahoma|2011

Eliminates joint and several liability except where the state brings

[…]

Eliminates joint and several liability except where the state brings the lawsuit.


[hide]

Joint & Several Liability: HB 1603 (2009).

Oklahoma|2009

Provides that unless a defendant is more than 50% at

[…]

Provides that unless a defendant is more than 50% at fault, the defendant will only be charged its proportionate share of the injury award.


[hide]

Challenged and Struck Down

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 2661 (2004).

Oklahoma|2004

Restricts joint liability to only a defendant that is more

[…]

Restricts joint liability to only a defendant that is more than 50 percent at fault, except where any defendant acted with willful and wanton conduct or reckless disregard and then all defendants may be held joint and severably liable.  Limitation only applies when the plaintiff has no comparative negligence.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Anderson v. O’Donohue, 677 P.2d 648 (Okla. 1983). Laubach v. Morgan, 588 P.2d 1071 (Okla. 1978).

Oklahoma|1978

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the award of all damages if the plaintiff was at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 120 (2003).

Ohio|2003

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 50% unless the defendant committed an intentional tort.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 350 (1996).

Ohio|1996

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability for the recovery of noneconomic damages, where the plaintiff was contributorily negligent or impliedly assumed the risk that caused the harm.   The comprehensive 1996 tort reform law violated the doctrine of separation of powers and the one-subject provision of the State Constitution.  State ex rel. Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers v. Sheward, 715 N.E.2d 1062 (Ohio 1999).


[hide]

Challenged and Struck Down

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 9391 (1986): N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. & R. §§ 1601-1602.

New York|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages from defendants found to be 50% or less at fault.  The reform does not apply to actions where the defendant is found to have acted with reckless disregard of the rights of others, and in actions involving motor vehicle cases, actions involving the release of toxic substances into the environment, intentional torts, contract cases, product liability cases where the manufacturer could not be joined, construction cases, and other specific actions.


[hide]

Medical Liability Reform: Joint and Several Liability Rule Reform: AB 1 (2002); Amended Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 41A.045.

Nevada|2002

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages for medical liability claims.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 511 (1987): Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann § 41.141.

Nevada|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in product liability cases, cases involving toxic waste, cases involving intentional torts, and cases where defendants acted in concert.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 164 (1987): N.M. Stat. Ann. § 41-3A-1.

New Mexico|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in cases involving toxic torts, cases in which the relationship of defendants could make one defendant vicariously liable for the acts of others, cases involving the manufacture or sale of a defective product (in these cases the manufacturer and retailer can be held liable for their collective percentage of fault but not the fault of other defendants), and in situations “having a sound basis in public policy.”


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1494 (1995).

New Jersey|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 60% at fault.  (The law formerly extended the 60% threshold for noneconomic damages only.)  The reform does not apply to toxic torts.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 2703, SB 2708 (1987): N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:15-5.3.

New Jersey|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 20% at fault.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages from defendants found to be between 20% and 60% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 110 (1989)

New Hampshire|1990

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be less than 50% at fault.


[hide]

Unchallenged

Joint and Several Liability Reform: LB 88 (1991): Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,185.10.

Nebraska|1991

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1571 (1987): N.D. Cent Code § 32‑03.2‑02.

North Dakota|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except for intentional torts, cases in which defendants acted in concert, and product liability cases.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 571 (1997)

Montana|1997

Retains the current system of modified joint and several liability,

[…]

Retains the current system of modified joint and several liability, where joint liability does not apply to defendants found to be less than 50% at fault.  Revises the comparative negligence statute to permit the allocation of a percentage of liability to defendants who settle or are released from liability by the plaintiff.  Allows those defendants to intervene in the action to defend against claims affirmatively asserted.  Provides that joint liability shall apply in actions arising from an act or omission that violates a state environmental law relating to hazardous or deleterious substances.


[hide]

Unchallenged

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 572 (1997)

Montana|1997

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.  Takes effect only if HB 571 is held unconstitutional.


[hide]

Unchallenged

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 212 (1995).

Montana|1995

Restores the joint and several liability reforms of 1987, which

[…]

Restores the joint and several liability reforms of 1987, which had been weakened by the Montana Supreme Court.  Provides procedural safeguards to allow joint liability to apply only when a defendant is found to be more than 50% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 51 (1987).

Montana|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from defendants found to be 50% or less at fault.  Parts of the 1987 comparative negligence statute allowing fault to be allocated to nonparties violated the due process provision of the State Constitution.  Newville v. State of Montana, Department of Family Services, 883 P.2d 793 (Mont. 1994).


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 13 (special session) (2004); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 85-5-7.

Mississippi|2004

Abolishes joint and several liability.  Provides that defendants are not

[…]

Abolishes joint and several liability.  Provides that defendants are not responsible for any fault allocated to an immune tortfeasor or a tortfeasor whose liability is limited by law.


[hide]

Medical Liability Reform: Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B.2 (special session) (2002); Amended Miss. Code Ann. § 85-5-7.

Mississippi|2002

Replaces the rule of joint and several liability with the

[…]

Replaces the rule of joint and several liability with the rule of proportionate liability for noneconomic damages (that is, limit a joint tortfeasor’s liability for noneconomic damages to his percentage of fault).  Replaces the rule of joint and several liability with the rule of proportionate liability for economic damages, where the defendant is found to be less than 30% at fault.  Replaces the rule of joint and several liability with a rule that allows a joint tortfeasor to be held up to 50% responsible for economic damages, where the defendant is found to be at least 30% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1171 (1989): Miss. Code Ann. § 85-5-7(2).

Mississippi|1989

Provides that the rule of joint and several liability only

[…]

Provides that the rule of joint and several liability only applies to the extent necessary for the injured party to receive 50% of his or her recoverable damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 393 (2005); § 537.067 R.S.Mo.

Missouri|2005

Provides that joint and several liability applies if a defendant

[…]

Provides that joint and several liability applies if a defendant is 51 percent or more at fault.  In such circumstances, the defendant is jointly and severally liable for the amount of the judgment rendered against the defendant.  If a defendant is found to be less than 51 percent at fault, the defendant is only responsible for the percent of the judgment he or she is responsible for.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 700 (1987).

Missouri|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages when a plaintiff is assessed a portion of the fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HF 872 (2003); Amended Minn. Stat. § 604.02.

Minnesota|2003

Raises the threshold for the imposition of joint and several

[…]

Raises the threshold for the imposition of joint and several liability from 15 percent to greater than 50 percent.  Parties less than 50 percent responsible are to be held responsible only for their percentage of fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HF 1493 (1988): Minn. Stat. Ann. § 604.02 Subd. 1.

Minnesota|1988

Provides that defendants found to be 15% or less at

[…]

Provides that defendants found to be 15% or less at fault shall pay no more than four times their share of damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 4508 (1995): MCLS § 600.6304(4), MCLS § 600.6312.

Michigan|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in cases of employers’ vicarious liability and in medical liability cases, where the plaintiff is determined not to have a percentage of fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 5154 (1986): MCLS § 600.6304(4), MCLS § 600.6312.

Michigan|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from municipalities.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from all other defendants, except in products liability actions and actions involving a blame‑free plaintiff.  Provides that defendants are severally liable, except when uncollectible shares of a judgment are reallocated between solvent co‑defendants according to their degree of negligence.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 574 (2001): Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. Ch. 231B §§ 1-2.

Massachusetts|2001

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages against public accountants so that an individual or firm is only liable for damages in proportion to the assigned degree of fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 21 (1996): La. Civ. Code arts 1804, 2323, 2324.

Louisiana|1996

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 21 (1996): Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 411.182.

Kentucky|1996

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 551 (1988).

Kentucky|1988

Requires that juries be instructed to determine the percentage of

[…]

Requires that juries be instructed to determine the percentage of fault appropriate to each claimant, defendant, third party defendant and defendant settling out of court and apportion each party’s equitable share in accordance with the respective percentages of fault.  Prudential Life Ins. Co. v. Moody, 696 S.W.2d 503 (Ky. 1985).


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Brown v. Keill, 580 P.2d 867, 874 (Kan. 1978).

Kansas|1978

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 20 (1995).

Illinois|1995

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages. The reform violates the State Constitutional prohibition against special legislation.  Best v. Taylor Machine Works, Inc., 689 N.E.2d 1057 (Ill. 1997).


[hide]

Challenged and Struck Down

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1200 (1986).

Illinois|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages from defendants found to be 25% or less at fault. Except in auto, product or environmental cases.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 744 (1990).

Idaho|1990

Defines the term “acting in concert,” as used in SB

[…]

Defines the term “acting in concert,” as used in SB 1223 (below), as pursuing a common plan or design that results in the commission of an intentional or reckless tortious act.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1223 (1987): Idaho Code Ann. § 6-803.

Idaho|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in cases of intentional torts, hazardous waste, and medical and pharmaceutical products.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HF 693 (1997): Iowa Code Ann. § 668.4.

Iowa|1997

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all noneconomic damages, and economic damages, where a defendant is found to be less than 50% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1088 (1994).

Hawaii|1994

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from all governmental entities.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB S1 (special session) (1986): Sunset provision (SB 1529) enacted in 1991.

Hawaii|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages from defendants found to be 25% or less at fault.  The reform does not apply to auto, product, or environmental cases.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 3 (2005).

Georgia|2005

Eliminates joint and several liability.

[…]

Eliminates joint and several liability.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 145 (2006); Fla. Stat. § 768.36, Fla. Stat. § 768.098; Amending Fla. Stat. § 768.81.

Florida|2006

Bars application of joint and several liability in the recovery

[…]

Bars application of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 775 (1999); Fla. Stat. Ann. § 768.81.

Florida|1999

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability,

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability, where the plaintiff is at fault, and where the defendant is 10% or less at fault.  Limits joint liability to $200,000, where the plaintiff is at fault, and where the defendant is more than 10% but less than 25% at fault.  Limits joint liability to $500,000, where the plaintiff is at fault, and where the defendant is at least 25% but not more than 50% at fault.  Limits joint liability to $1 million, where the plaintiff is at fault, and where the defendant is more than 50% at fault.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability, where the plaintiff is not at fault, and where the defendant is less than 10% at fault.  Limits joint liability to $500,000, where the plaintiff is not at fault, and where the defendant is at least 10% but less than 25% at fault.  Limits joint liability to $1 million, where the plaintiff is not at fault, and where the defendant is at least 25% but not more than 50% at fault.  Limits joint liability to $2 million, where the plaintiff is not at fault, and where the defendant is more than 50% at fault.


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 465 (1986).

Florida|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of non-economic damages.  Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of economic damages from defendants less at fault than the plaintiff.  The reform does not apply in the recovery of economic damages for pollution, intentional torts, actions governed by a specific statute providing for joint and several liability, and actions for damages no greater than $25,000.  The joint and several liability provision is constitutional.  Smith v. Department of Insurance, 507 So.2d 1080 (Fla. 1987).   The Florida Supreme Court further interpreted the joint and several liability portion of the statute in Allied Signal v. Fox, case No. 80818, Florida Supreme Court, Aug. 26, 1993 and Fabre v. Marin, case No. 76869, Florida Supreme Court, Aug. 26, 1993.


[hide]

Challenged and Upheld

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 6134 (1986): Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 52-572h.

Connecticut|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except where the liable party’s share of the judgment is uncollectible.  (The 1987 legislation limited application of this reform to noneconomic damages.)


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 70 (1986). Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-111.5.

Colorado|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages. (An amendment approved in 1987 allowed joint liability when tortfeasors consciously acted in a concerted effort to commit a tortious act.)


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Proposition 51 (1986): Cal. Civ. Code § 1431.2.

California|1986

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages.  The Fair Responsibility Act, which abolished joint liability for noneconomic damages, did not violate the equal protection provisions of the State or Federal Constitutions.  Evangelatos v. Superior Court, 753 P.2d 585 (Cal. 1988).


[hide]

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1036: (1987)

Arizona|1987

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

[…]

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages, except in cases of intentional torts and hazardous waste.  The statute abolishing joint liability did not violate the equal protection, due process, or separation of powers provisions of the State Constitution.  Church v. Rawson Drug & Sundry Co., 842 P.2d 1355 (Ariz. App. 1992).  Retroactive application of the statute abolishing joint liability was not unconstitutional.  Neil v. Kavena, 859 P.2d 203 (Ariz. App. 1993).


[hide]

Challenged and Upheld

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1038 (2003)

Arkansas|2003

Provides for a modified repeal of joint and several liability

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Provides for a modified repeal of joint and several liability instead of complete repeal, whereby defendants who are found to be 1 percent to 10 percent at fault will only be responsible for the percentage of damage caused, defendants who are 11 percent to 50 percent at fault could have their share of a judgment increased up to an additional 10% if a co-defendant is unable to pay its share of a judgment, and defendants who are 51% to 99% at fault could have their share of a judgment increased up to an additional 20% if a co-defendant is unable to pay its share of the judgment.  The reform applies to all damages except punitive damages.  Reform provisions also do not apply to cases involving long-term care facility medical directors.


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Unchallenged

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Proposition 2 (1988).

Alaska|1988

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability

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Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.


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