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Pa. Legislature Softens State’s ‘Joint and Several’ Legal Liability Law

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – The Pennsylvania House has sent Governor Tom Corbett a major piece of his legislative agenda: a bill that would make major reforms to lawsuit liability in Pennsylvania.

Under the current law known as “joint and several,” in lawsuits involving multiple defendants, any one defendant can be on the hook for the entire judgment if codefendants can’t pay.

Under the bill expected to be signed by Gov. Corbett, any defendant deemed less than 60 percent responsible would only have to pay an amount equal to his or her percentage of responsibility.

Rep. Mike Gerber (D-Montgomery County) opposed the bill.

“This bill aims to protect defendants who have been found negligent — companies or individuals that have committed wrongs,” he says.

But House majority leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) likes the new legislation.

“The rule of joint and several liability has the effect of singling particular defendants out, particularly those with deep pockets,” he said.

Turzai and other supporters say the change is about fairness in the court system.

Reported by Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio 1060

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