Pennsylvania House Passes Fair Share Law
/ 18.Apr, 2011
Pennsylvania has joint and several liability. Under this joint and several liability, a defendant found to be 1% negligent can be held responsible for payment of the entire verdict in a negligence action. This “1% Rule” has been subject to much criticism. As a result, there has been a movement in the Pennsylvania Legislation to amend the joint and several liability system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
On April 11, 2011, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed HB1 by a vote of 112 to 81. This bill replaces the joint and several liability system, eliminating the “1% Rule” with “fair share” liability. Under this law, an individual defendant would only be responsible for payment of the entire verdict if the defendant’s negligence was 60% or more. The bill now goes to the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee conducted hearings on April 11, 2011 regarding SB2, the Senate version of the Fair Share Act. The Senate is also considering SB500, a watered down version of fair share. The actions in the Senate will determine the final version of the reform.
Swartz Campbell LLC attorneys have been directly involved in legislative reform efforts. James C. Haggerty, Esquire recently testified before the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee with respect to attempts to allow parties to argue specific amounts of damages in personal injury litigation. At the same time, Suzanne Tighe, Esquire and James C. Haggerty, Esquire have prepared a Position Paper on behalf of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute with respect to joint and several liability and fair share reforms. This Position Paper has been distributed to all members of the Pennsylvania Legislature. Click here for a copy of the Position Paper.