Thursday, April 28, 2011
Eliminating Joint and Several Liability will Ultimately Burden Victims and Taxpayers
Pennsylvania litigator says erroneous theory behind efforts to eliminate joint and several liability. Civil litigator Larry Coben criticized the theory behind legislation eliminating joint and several liability in Pennsylvania, writing in the Legal Intelligencer (4/26, Coben) that "an apportionment statue ...assumes the reliability of allocating percentages of fault" and "relies upon the false inference that any tortfeasor, once found liable, is only partly responsible because there are other negligent parties." Coben said corporations and wealthy defendants use apportionment to avoid liability by hiring top-notch attorneys to "deflect responsibility to those with limited resources and avoid paying for the harm caused." Coben said eliminating joint and several liability will ultimately burden victims and taxpayers.