The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to hear a case Wednesday that could give trial and defense lawyers alike some clear guidance on how damages are parceled out in civil lawsuits.
As The Legal Intelligencer reports, the high court will be asked to decide if “the [Fair Share Act of 2011] means that courts can no longer evenly divide damage awards between the defendants in strict liability cases, and whether juries must consider evidence of settlements between the plaintiff and any bankrupt entities when determining how to apportion the damages.”
The act, signed into law by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, did away with a doctrine known as “joint and several liability,” in which a defendant could be held equally liable for damages, irrespective of his or her actual level of responsibility for an injury.
Under the revised law, “defendants could still be held accountable for full damages if they’re found to be at least 60 percent at fault in a case in which injury resulted from an alcohol-related accident, or if the defendant purposely inflicting injury and environmental contamination,” The Morning Call of Allentown reported at the time.