Substitute House Bill No. 6962

Public Act No. 99-69

An Act Concerning Apportionment of Liability between Negligent and Intentional Tortfeasors.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 52-572h of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) For the purposes of this section: (1) "Economic damages" means compensation determined by the trier of fact for pecuniary losses including, but not limited to, the cost of reasonable and necessary medical care, rehabilitative services, custodial care and loss of earnings or earning capacity excluding any noneconomic damages; (2) "noneconomic damages" means compensation determined by the trier of fact for all nonpecuniary losses including, but not limited to, physical pain and suffering and mental and emotional suffering; (3) "recoverable economic damages" means the economic damages reduced by any applicable findings including but not limited to set-offs, credits, comparative negligence, additur and remittitur, and any reduction provided by section 52-225a; (4) "recoverable noneconomic damages" means the noneconomic damages reduced by any applicable findings including but not limited to set-offs, credits, comparative negligence, additur and remittitur.

(b) In causes of action based on negligence, contributory negligence shall not bar recovery in an action by any person or [his] the person's legal representative to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property if the negligence was not greater than the combined negligence of the person or persons against whom recovery is sought including settled or released persons under subsection (n) of this section. The economic or noneconomic damages allowed shall be diminished in the proportion of the percentage of negligence attributable to the person recovering which percentage shall be determined pursuant to subsection (f) of this section.

(c) In a negligence action to recover damages resulting from personal injury, wrongful death or damage to property occurring on or after October 1, 1987, if the damages are determined to be proximately caused by the negligence of more than one party, each party against whom recovery is allowed shall be liable to the claimant only for [his] such party's proportionate share of the recoverable economic damages and the recoverable noneconomic damages except as provided in subsection (g) of this section.

(d) The proportionate share of damages for which each party is liable is calculated by multiplying the recoverable economic damages and the recoverable noneconomic damages by a fraction in which the numerator is the party's percentage of negligence, which percentage shall be determined pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, and the denominator is the total of the percentages of negligence, which percentages shall be determined pursuant to subsection (f) of this section, to be attributable to all parties whose negligent actions were a proximate cause of the injury, death or damage to property including settled or released persons under subsection (n) of this section. Any percentage of negligence attributable to the claimant shall not be included in the denominator of the fraction.

(e) In any action to which this section is applicable, the instructions to the jury given by the court shall include an explanation of the effect on awards and liabilities of the percentage of negligence found by the jury to be attributable to each party.

(f) The jury or, if there is no jury, the court shall specify: (1) The amount of economic damages; (2) the amount of noneconomic damages; (3) any findings of fact necessary for the court to specify recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages; (4) the percentage of negligence that proximately caused the injury, death or damage to property in relation to one hundred per cent, that is attributable to each party whose negligent actions were a proximate cause of the injury, death or damage to property including settled or released persons under subsection (n) of this section; and (5) the percentage of such negligence attributable to the claimant.

(g) (1) Upon motion by the claimant to open the judgment filed, after good faith efforts by the claimant to collect from a liable defendant, not later than one year after judgment becomes final through lapse of time or through exhaustion of appeal, whichever occurs later, the court shall determine whether all or part of a defendant's proportionate share of the recoverable economic damages and recoverable noneconomic damages is uncollectible from that party, and shall reallocate such uncollectible amount among the other defendants in accordance with the provisions of this subsection. (2) The court shall order that the portion of such uncollectible amount which represents recoverable noneconomic damages be reallocated among the other defendants according to their percentages of negligence, provided that the court shall not reallocate to any such defendant an amount greater than that defendant's percentage of negligence multiplied by such uncollectible amount. (3) The court shall order that the portion of such uncollectible amount which represents recoverable economic damages be reallocated among the other defendants. The court shall reallocate to any such other defendant an amount equal to such uncollectible amount of recoverable economic damages multiplied by a fraction in which the numerator is such defendant's percentage of negligence and the denominator is the total of the percentages of negligence of all defendants, excluding any defendant whose liability is being reallocated. (4) The defendant whose liability is reallocated is nonetheless subject to contribution pursuant to subsection (h) of this section and to any continuing liability to the claimant on the judgment.

(h) (1) A right of contribution exists in parties who, pursuant to subsection (g) of this section are required to pay more than their proportionate share of such judgment. The total recovery by a party seeking contribution shall be limited to the amount paid by such party in excess of such party's proportionate share of such judgment.

(2) An action for contribution shall be brought within two years after the party seeking contribution has made the final payment in excess of [his] such party's proportionate share of the claim.

(i) This section shall not limit or impair any right of subrogation arising from any other relationship.

(j) This section shall not impair any right to indemnity under existing law. Where one tortfeasor is entitled to indemnity from another, the right of the indemnitee is for indemnity and not contribution, and the indemnitor is not entitled to contribution from the indemnitee for any portion of [his] such indemnity obligation.

(k) This section shall not apply to breaches of trust or of other fiduciary obligation.

(l) The legal doctrines of last clear chance and assumption of risk in actions to which this section is applicable are abolished.

(m) The family car doctrine shall not be applied to impute contributory or comparative negligence pursuant to this section to the owner of any motor vehicle or motor boat.

(n) A release, settlement or similar agreement entered into by a claimant and a person discharges that person from all liability for contribution, but it does not discharge any other persons liable upon the same claim unless it so provides. However, the total award of damages is reduced by the amount of the released person's percentage of negligence determined in accordance with subsection (f) of this section.

(o) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, there shall be no apportionment of liability or damages between parties liable for negligence and parties liable on any basis other than negligence including, but not limited to, intentional, wanton or reckless misconduct, strict liability or liability pursuant to any cause of action created by statute, except that liability may be apportioned among parties liable for negligence in any cause of action created by statute based on negligence including, but not limited to, an action for wrongful death pursuant to section 52-555 or an action for injuries caused by a motor vehicle owned by the state pursuant to section 52-556.

Sec. 2. This act shall take effect from its passage and shall be applicable to any civil action pending on or filed on or after August 11, 1998.

Approved May 27, 1999

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