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Joint and Several Liability Rule Reform

Joint and several liability is a theory of recovery that permits the plaintiff to recover damages from multiple defendants collectively, or from each defendant individually. In a state that follows the rule of joint and several liability, if a plaintiff sues three defendants, two of whom are 95 percent responsible for the defendant’s injuries, but are also bankrupt, the plaintiff may recover 100 percent of her damages from the solvent defendant that is 5 percent responsible for her injuries.

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: 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.

Alaska

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Proposition 2 (1988). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Arkansas

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1038 (2003); A.C.A. § 16-55-213. 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.

Arizona

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1036: (1987): Ariz. Stat. § 12-2506. 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).

California

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

Colorado

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

Connecticut

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

Florida

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

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

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 145 (2006); Fla. Stat. § 768.36, Fla. Stat. § 768.098; Amending Fla. Stat. § 768.81. Bars application of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Georgia

Joint and Several Liability Reform: H.B. 3 (2005). Eliminates joint and several liability.

Hawaii

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

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1088 (1994). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages from all governmental entities.

Iowa

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

Idaho

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

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

Illinois

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

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

Kansas

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Brown v. Keill, 580 P.2d 867, 874 (Kan. 1978). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Kentucky

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

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 21 (1996): Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 411.182. Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Louisiana

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 21 (1996): La. Civ. Code arts 1804, 2323, 2324. Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Massachusetts

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

Michigan

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

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

Minnesota

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HF 1493 (1988): Minn. Stat. Ann. § 604.02 Subd. 1. Provides that defendants found to be 15% or less at fault shall pay no more than four times their share of damages.

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

Missouri

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

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

Mississippi

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

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

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

Montana

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

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

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 571 (1997): Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-705. 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. 

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 572 (1997); Mont. Code Anno., § 27-1-705 (2010). 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.

North Dakota

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

Nebraska

Joint and Several Liability Reform: LB 88 (1991): Neb. Rev. Stat. § 25-21,185.10. Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages.

New Hampshire

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 110 (1990): N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 507:7-e. 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.

New Jersey

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

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

New Mexico

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

Nevada

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

Medical Liability Reform: Joint and Several Liability Rule Reform: AB 1 (2002); Amended Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 41A.045. Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of noneconomic damages for medical liability claims. 

New York

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

Ohio

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

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

Oklahoma

Joint and Several Liability Reform: Anderson v. O’Donohue, 677 P.2d 648 (Okla. 1983). Laubach v. Morgan, 588 P.2d 1071 (Okla. 1978). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the award of all damages if the plaintiff was at fault.

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

Joint & Several Liability: HB 1603 (2009). Provides that unless a defendant is more than 50% at fault, the defendant will only be charged its proportionate share of the injury award.

Joint and Several Liability Reform- S.B. 862 (2011), 23 Okl. St. § 15.1. Eliminates joint and several liability except where the state brings the lawsuit.

Oregon

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

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

Pennsylvania

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

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

South Carolina

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

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

South Dakota

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

Tennessee

Joint and Several Liability Reform: McIntyre v. Balentine, 833 S.W.2d 52 (Tenn. 1992). Bans application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

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

Texas

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

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

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

Utah

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 64 (1986). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 74 (1999): Utah Code Ann. § 78‑27-40. Clarifies the 1986 statute that abolished joint liability to address the Utah Supreme Court decision in Field v. The Boyer Company.

Vermont

Joint and Several Liability Reform: (1985). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

Washington

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

Wisconsin

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 11 (1995): Wis. Stat. Ann. § 895.045(1). 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.  Matthies v. Positive Manufacturing Co., 2001 WL 737384 (Wis. July 2, 2001).

West Virginia

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

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

Wyoming

Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 17 (1986): Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 1-1-109(e). Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of all damages.

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

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

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. 

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

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. 

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

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

2009
Oklahoma
Joint & Several Liability: HB 1603 (2009).

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Eliminates joint and several liability.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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%.

2003
Arkansas
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1038 (2003); A.C.A. § 16-55-213.

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.

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

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

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

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). 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

1997
Montana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 571 (1997): Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-705.

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. 

1997
Montana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 572 (1997); Mont. Code Anno., § 27-1-705 (2010).

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.

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

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).

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

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

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

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

1995
Wisconsin
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 11 (1995): Wis. Stat. Ann. § 895.045(1).

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.  Matthies v. Positive Manufacturing Co., 2001 WL 737384 (Wis. July 2, 2001).

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

1990
New Hampshire
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 110 (1990): N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 507:7-e.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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).

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

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

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

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

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

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).

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

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.  

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

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.

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

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.  

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

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.”

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

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.”

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

1987
Arizona
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1036: (1987): Ariz. Stat. § 12-2506.

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).

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

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.)

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

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.

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

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.  

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

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

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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

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

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.)

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

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.

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

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).

1985
Vermont
Joint and Several Liability Reform: (1985).

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

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

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

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

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

West Virginia
Joint and Several Liability Reform: W.V. Code Ann. § 55-7B-9.

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of damages, where the defendant is found to be less than 25% at fault.

Rhode Island
Joint and Several Liability Reform:

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

Georgia
Joint and Several Liability Reform: Ga. Code Ann. § 51-12-33.

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in certain cases where the plaintiff is partially at fault.

Missouri
Joint and Several Liability Reform: § 537.067 R.S.Mo.

Limits joint liability to two times the defendant’s percentage of fault, if the plaintiff was at fault.

Indiana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: Ind. Code Ann. § 34-51-2-8.

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

Constitutionality: Challenged and Upheld

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

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

Arizona
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 1036: (1987): Ariz. Stat. § 12-2506.

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).

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

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.

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

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).

Constitutionality: Unchallenged

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

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. 

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

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. 

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

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

Oklahoma
Joint & Several Liability: HB 1603 (2009).

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

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

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

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

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.

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

Eliminates joint and several liability.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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%.

Arkansas
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 1038 (2003); A.C.A. § 16-55-213.

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.

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

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

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

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). 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

Montana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 571 (1997): Mont. Code Ann. § 27-1-705.

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. 

Montana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: HB 572 (1997); Mont. Code Anno., § 27-1-705 (2010).

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

New Hampshire
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 110 (1990): N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 507:7-e.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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).

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

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

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

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.  

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

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.

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

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.  

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

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.”

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

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.”

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.)

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

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.

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

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.  

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

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

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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

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

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.)

Vermont
Joint and Several Liability Reform: (1985).

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

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

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

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

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

West Virginia
Joint and Several Liability Reform: W.V. Code Ann. § 55-7B-9.

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in the recovery of damages, where the defendant is found to be less than 25% at fault.

Rhode Island
Joint and Several Liability Reform:

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

Georgia
Joint and Several Liability Reform: Ga. Code Ann. § 51-12-33.

Bars application of the rule of joint and several liability in certain cases where the plaintiff is partially at fault.

Missouri
Joint and Several Liability Reform: § 537.067 R.S.Mo.

Limits joint liability to two times the defendant’s percentage of fault, if the plaintiff was at fault.

Indiana
Joint and Several Liability Reform: Ind. Code Ann. § 34-51-2-8.

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

Constitutionality: Challenged and Struckdown

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

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).

Wisconsin
Joint and Several Liability Reform: SB 11 (1995): Wis. Stat. Ann. § 895.045(1).

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.  Matthies v. Positive Manufacturing Co., 2001 WL 737384 (Wis. July 2, 2001).

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

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).

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

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).