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 ?
They are jointly and severally liable for the full purchase price under the Consumer Credit Act.
Deposits and Guarantees required: Group, consortia or joint bidders must be jointly and severally liable.
If there is any joint debt, both account holders are jointly and severally liable, so the survivor would be liable to clear this.
If the landlord or appointed managing agent fails to comply with this provision, they will become jointly and severally liable for the invoices for water usage at the rented property.
If three of you are purchasing jointly then you should 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 will be jointly and severally liable under the mortgage.
Taking the second point, if you are getting a mortgage you and your co-owner will be jointly and severally liable for all amounts which become due under the terms of the mortgage.
The plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that each defendant's negligence proximately caused her severe and permanent eye injuries, and that the defendants were jointly and severally liable.
Uhl, "The panel found Associated Securities jointly and severally liable for Forrest's fraudulent conduct in connection with the sale of APEX to the Claimants.
The insurer argued that each was strictly liable for distributing a defective product, and jointly and severally liable for the whole amount of the homeowner's damage.
The parent who signs the application shall be held jointly and severally liable with that minor for any damages caused by the minor's negligent or willful misconduct.
When tort defendants are held jointly and severally liable, the total of all damages is payable by each defendant without regard to each defendant's individually assigned degree of fault.
In the case of both types of partnerships, the member partners might be jointly and severally liable for each other's misconduct.