P died while operating a hydraulic aerial work platform manufactured by D based on strict products liability.
D argued that P and his employer had committed contributory negligence.
Trial court found for P in full amount.
IL Supreme Court affirmed.
Does the doctrine of comparative negligence eliminate joint and several liability?
The doctrine of comparative negligence does not eliminate joint and several liability.
Four reasons have been advanced for retaining joint and several liability:
The feasibility of apportioning fault on a comparative basis does not render an indivisible injury divisible for purposes of the joint and several liability rule.
When P is not guilty of negligence, P would be forced to bear a portion of loss should one of the tortfeasors prove financially unable to satisfy his share of the damages.
Even when P is partially at fault, P's culpability is not equivalent to that of D. D's negligence related to a lack of due care for the safety of others, not to his own safety. First is tortious, second is not.
Elimination of joint and several liability would work a serious and unwarranted deleterious effect on the ability of an injured P to obtain adequate compensation for his injuries.
Without J&S liability, burden of the insolvent or immune D would fall on the P. Thus, P's damages would be reduced beyond the percentage of fault attributable to him under comparative negligence.
Most jurisdictions that have adopted comparative negligence have retained the doctrine of J&S liability.