New Proposal to Reform Pennsylvania Joint and Several Liability
Another bill has emerged in the Pennsylvania Senate with an alternative proposal to reform the joint and several liability rules in the Commonwealth. Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, who previously introduced SB 500, introduced SB 1131 on June 13. The new measure appears to attempt a compromise between dueling proposals, which we have written about in the past.
SB 1131 would eliminate joint and several liability except where the defendant is found to be more than 60% responsible for the harm. This is identical to the proposal in SB 2.
However, SB 1131 incorporates notable exceptions to its abolition of joint and several liability. The bill would maintain joint and several liability in cases of economic damages and in cases where a minor’s interest is at stake.
This new proposal appears to reflect an attempt at compromise between outright elimination of joint and several liability and protection of injured parties. However, whether it is enough to clear what appears to be a legislative log jam remains to be seen. The Senate will likely vote today on final passage of SB 1131; whether any amendments will be offered and how the bill will fare in the House remain to be seen.