As stated in the first part of this Blog, as of June 28, 2011 Pennsylvania significantly changed the law of Joint and Several Liability. Prior to this change if an injured party brought a claim against more than one defendant, each defendant would be potentially responsible for the entire amount of any jury verdict even if the comparative responsibility of that defendant was only 1%.
Under the new Joint and Several Liability Law that took effect in June 2011 a party defendant is only responsible for their proportionate share of the verdict as determined by a jury. If the jury determines that a party is 60% or more responsible for the accident then that party will be responsible for the entire verdict as they would have been under the prior law.
There are certain limited exceptions to the law. If one of the exceptions applies in a particular case, liability will be assessed as it was prior to June 28, 2011. The exceptions are as follows:
- If the defendant intentionally injures the plaintiff;
- If the defendant made an intentional misrepresentation;
- Any case where the action is based on the release of a hazardous substance; and
- If the defendant is a bar and there is a liquor liability case against that bar and the bar insurance coverage.