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 ?
In practice, despite the many cases where joint and several liability has been imposed, and upheld on appeal, many courts have recognized generally that liability under Superfund should be governed by traditional and evolving principles of the common law.
Joint and several liability ensures that victims recover fully for their injuries and are not victimized further by the legal system.
3) At least 25 percent but less than 50 percent, there is no joint and several liability for economic damages in excess of $500,000; and
IRS issued Notice 96-19 requesting comment on numerous questions relating to replacing the joint and several liability standard with a proportionate liability standard.
Wisconsin recently passed laws that cap noneconomic damages and limit joint and several liability.
My recommendation would be to address the statutory change in retroactive joint and several liability, which will immediately eliminate some of the litigation.
The Superfund law imposes strict, joint and several liability for cleanup costs on those persons who cause the release of hazardous substances.
Establish a principle of proportionate liability--under which each defendant's share of damages would match its share of responsibility--and eliminate or restrict joint and several liability.
The Comprehensive Environmental Responsibility Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) imposes joint and several liability for the costs of landfill cleanup.
Indivisible Toxic Torts: The Economics of Joint and Several Liability
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