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In for a Penny, in for a Pound: The Pennsylvania Superior Court Holds that the Fair Share Act Apportionment of Liability Among Defendants Applies Only in Situations where a Plaintiff is Comparatively at Fault

On March 29, 2021 by Schnader in Litigation

Stephen J. Shapiro and Brittany C. Wakim published a client alert, “In for a Penny, in for a Pound: The Pennsylvania Superior Court Holds that the Fair Share Act Apportionment of Liability Among Defendants Applies Only in Situations where a Plaintiff is Comparatively at Fault.” 

The Pennsylvania Superior Court recently held that the Pennsylvania Fair Share Act (“the FSA”) only applies to potentially limit exposure to joint and several liability when a plaintiff is also comparatively at fault. Absent any comparative fault (liability) on the part of the plaintiff, the FSA does not govern and courts are to apply the common-law principle of joint and several liability.

JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY

Before Pennsylvania enacted the FSA in 2011, the doctrine of joint and several liability applied to negligence and strict liability causes of action governed by Pennsylvania law. Under joint and several liability, a plaintiff can seek to recover his or her entire judgment from any of the defendant tortfeasors that are liable, regardless of the extent to which the defendant’s conduct contributed to the injuries and harm. As long as the factfinder apportions some percentage of liability, no matter how small, to a defendant, the plaintiff can recover the entire judgment from that defendant.

Please click here to read the full alert.