§55-7-13c. Liability to be several; amount of judgment; allocation of fault.

(a) In any action for damages, the liability of each defendant for compensatory damages shall be several only and may not be joint. Each defendant shall be liable only for the amount of compensatory damages allocated to that defendant in direct proportion to that defendant's percentage of fault, and a separate judgment shall be rendered against each defendant for his or her share of that amount. However, joint liability may be imposed on two or more defendants who consciously conspire and deliberately pursue a common plan or design to commit a tortious act or omission. Any person held jointly liable under this section shall have a right of contribution from other defendants that acted in concert.

(b) To determine the amount of judgment to be entered against each defendant, the court, with regard to each defendant, shall multiply the total amount of compensatory damages recoverable by the plaintiff by the percentage of each defendant's fault and, subject to subsection (d) of this section, that amount shall be the maximum recoverable against that defendant.

(c) Any fault chargeable to the plaintiff shall not bar recovery by the plaintiff unless the plaintiff's fault is greater than the combined fault of all other persons responsible for the total amount of damages, if any, to be awarded. If the plaintiff's fault is less than the combined fault of all other persons, the plaintiff's recovery shall be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff's degree of fault.

(d) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, if a plaintiff through good faith efforts is unable to collect from a liable defendant, the plaintiff may, not later than one year after judgment becomes final through lapse of time for appeal or through exhaustion of appeal, whichever occurs later, move for reallocation of any uncollectible amount among the other parties found to be liable.

(1) Upon the filing of the motion, the court shall determine whether all or part of a defendant's proportionate share of the verdict is uncollectible from that defendant and shall reallocate the uncollectible amount among the other parties found to be liable, including a plaintiff at fault, according to their percentages at fault: Provided, That the court may not reallocate to any defendant an uncollectible amount greater than that defendant's percentage of fault multiplied by the uncollectible amount: Provided, however,, That there shall be no reallocation against a defendant whose percentage of fault is equal to or less than the plaintiff's percentage of fault.

(2)If the motion is filed, the parties may conduct discovery on the issue of collectibility prior to a hearing on the motion.

(e) A party whose liability is reallocated under subsection (d) of this section is nonetheless subject to contribution and to any continuing liability to the plaintiff on the judgment.

(f) This section does not affect, impair or abrogate any right of indemnity or contribution arising out of any contract or agreement or any right of indemnity otherwise provided by law.

(g) The fault allocated under this section to an immune defendant or a defendant whose liability is limited by law may not be allocated to any other defendant.

(h) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section to the contrary, a defendant that commits one or more of the followings acts or omissions shall be jointly and severally liable:

(1) A defendant whose conduct constitutes driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or any other drug or any combination thereof, as described in section two, article five, chapter seventeen-c of this code, which is a proximate cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff;

(2) A defendant whose acts or omissions constitute criminal conduct which is a proximate cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff; or

(3) A defendant whose conduct constitutes an illegal disposal of hazardous waste, as described in section three, article eighteen, chapter twenty-two of this code, which conduct is a proximate cause of the damages suffered by the plaintiff.

(i) This section does not apply to the following statutes:

(1) Article twelve-a, chapter twenty-nine of this code;

(2) Chapter forty-six of this code; and

(3) Article seven-b, chapter fifty-five of this code.

Bill History For §55-7-13C