joint and several liability

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Related to joint and several liability: Jointly and severally

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 ?
Jake Corman, drastically alters Pennsylvania's long-established joint and several liability rule.
Legal minds agree that the Supreme Court decision sounds like the death knell for the prevailing reasoning in favor of imposing joint and several liability in Superfund cases where sites involve "toxic soups," which preclude any equitable, reasonable way to perform fair-share apportionment of responsibility among contributors, be they site owners or managers, disposers, and/or generators of the hazardous waste.
The only issue pending in a stand-alone case is whether the requesting spouse is entitled to relief from joint and several liability.
Under Florida's current law, joint and several liability applies only to economic damages for defendants who are more than 10 percent at fault.
Without joint and several liability innocent plaintiffs--those guilty of no contributory negligence--will be left with only a partial recovery against negligent tortfeasors whose wrongful acts caused all the harm.
Under joint and several liability, even if a company was deemed only 1% at fault for a plaintiff's injuries, that company could be held fully responsible for massive awards that may have had very little to do with their own wrongdoing.
Additionally, some states have enacted legislation that addresses the issue of joint and several liability (the legal doctrine that makes each party responsible for an injury liable for all the damages awarded if other parties responsible cannot pay), as compared to basing liability directly on the percentage of fault that can be attributed.
1) Less than or equal to 10 percent, there is no joint and several liability at all;
Enacted in 1971 and modified by the Tax Reform Act of 1984, the statutory language allows relief from liability in situations where the result of joint and several liability is particularly harsh and inequitable.
In Texas, Governor George Bush signed six statutes that cap punitive damages, restrict joint and several liability, limit liability for medical malpractice and grant limited immunity for state and local governments.
of a husband and wife file a joint tax return, both parties assume joint and several liability.
In the absence of exculpation, the partners of a professional service firm will have joint and several liability, under which each partner is responsible for the full amount of the obligation, and may look to their partners for contribution.
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