joint and several liability

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Joint and Several Liability

A designation of liability by which members of a group are either individually or mutually responsible to a party in whose favor a judgment has been awarded.

Joint and several liability is a form of liability that is used in civil cases where two or more people are found liable for damages. The winning plaintiff in such a case may collect the entire judgment from any one of the parties, or from any and all of the parties in various amounts until the judgment is paid in full. In other words, if any of the defendants do not have enough money or assets to pay an equal share of the award, the other defendants must make up the difference.

Defendants in a civil suit can be held jointly and severally liable only if their concurrent acts brought about the harm to the plaintiff. The acts of the defendants do not have to be simultaneous: they must simply contribute to the same event. For example, assume that an electrician negligently installs an electrical line. Years later, another electrician inspects the line and approves it. When the plaintiff is subsequently injured by a short circuit in the line, the plaintiff may sue both electricians and hold them jointly and severally liable.

Joint and several liability can also arise where a Husband and Wife or members of an organization owe the government income taxes. In such cases, the revenue agency may collect on the debt from any and all of the debtors. In a contractual situation, where two or more persons are responsible for the same performance and default on their obligations, a nondefaulting party may hold any and all parties liable for damages resulting from the breach of performance.

A small number of states do not strictly follow the doctrine of joint and several liability. In such jurisdictions, called comparative Negligence jurisdictions, liability is prorated according to the percentage of the total damages attributable to each defendant's conduct.

joint and several liability

noun absolute, abstruse, across-the-board, aggregate, all-embracing, all inclusive, all-out, bewildering, chaotic, circuitous, clear, collective, combined, complete, complicated, composite, confused, convoluted, difficult, downright, elaborated, enigmatic, entangled, entire, exhaustive, explicit, express, extended, extensive, flexuous, full, gradely, gross, impenetrable, implicated, inclusive, in-depth, individually and collectively liable, individually and mutually liable, inextricable, inscrutable, integral, interlaced, interwoven, intricate, involuted, involved, jumbled, kaleidoscopic, knotted, labyrinthine, muddied, multiplex, obscure, out-and-out, outright, perplexing, plenary, radical, rank, recondite, sheer, sinuous, snarled, straight-out, sweeping, tangled, teetotal, thorough, together or separate, tortuous, unambiguous, unarranged, unclassified, unconditional, undecipherable, unequivocal, unfathomable, universal, unmitigated, unorganized, unqualified, unreserved, utter, varied, whole, widespread
Associated concepts: ostensible principal

joint and several liability

liability where a person can be sued jointly with others or individually for the whole sum, leaving it to the person sued to recover from the others with whom he is jointly liable. For example, every partner is jointly liable with his co-partners and also severally liable for everything for which the firm becomes liable while he is a partner.
References in periodicals archive ?
Siemens Transmission & Distribution Ltd (Reyrolle), Siemens AG Osterreich and KEG are jointly and severally liable for the amount of 2,250,000.
Generally, the existence of a single, indivisible injury is necessary to establish that multiple defendants are jointly and severally liable.
Courts in other states, including California and Tennessee, have held that participants in the chain of distribution may be jointly and severally liable for an injury caused by a defective product.
Banks and landlords may also require additional security as the partners will no longer be jointly and severally liable for borrowings.
In that case, the plan, as the investor in the partnership, would be jointly and severally liable for the partnership's obligations.
Since we are being held jointly and severally liable, if even one of us begins to earn more than the minimum, the state can take the whole $25,000 (plus interest) from that one individual.
7 of the resolutions stated that members practicing as shareholders in a PC were required to be jointly and severally liable for the actions of other shareholders, except where adequate professional liability insurance was carried or sufficient capitalization was mentioned.
Tenderers must appear as jointly and severally liable consortia and appoint the authorized representative.
Luckily Veronica, of Clydebank, had paid by credit card so the bank are jointly and severally liable.
It added that the Commission failed to show that the company - with which Parker-Hannefin is jointly and severally liable - had participated in the infringement before 1 January 2002, and thus decided to reduce the fine from 25.
If there is any joint debt, both account holders are jointly and severally liable, so the survivor would be liable to clear this.
If three of you are purchasing jointly then you will own the property jointly as tenants in common with each of you having a one-third share in the equity as, of course, all three of you will be jointly and severally liable under the mortgage.