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Chapter 7

JOINT TORTFEASORS

  This chapter deals with situations in which more than one defendant is liable for some or all of the harm suffered by the plaintiff. The key concepts in this chapter are:
  • Joint liability:  If more than one person is a proximate cause of the plaintiff’s harm, and the harm is “indivisible, each defendant is liable for the entire harm. The liability in this situation is said to be “ joint-and-several.
  • Contribution:  A defendant who has paid to the plaintiff more than his pro rata share of damages will usually be able to recover partial reimbursement from the other defendants. Such partial reimbursement is referred to as “contribution.
  • Indemnity:  Sometimes, courts will shift the entire financial responsibility for the tort from one defendant to the other (even though both are jointly and severally liable). This is done by the doctrine of indemnity.
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