House Republicans Pass Landmark Lawsuit Abuse Reform, Called The “Fair Share Act”

An important job-friendly reform to revitalize Pennsylvania’s economy and protect taxpayers

HARRISBURG — Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement regarding the Pennsylvania State House’s passage of HB1, called the “Fair Share Act”, a significant lawsuit abuse reform that will improve Pennsylvania’s economic climate:

“House Republicans campaigned on government reform and have already been delivering by passing the ‘Fair Share Act,’ a commonsense reform that will put an end to frivolous lawsuits. The Fair Share Act means that if a defendant is found 15 percent liable for a fault, that person only is accountable for 15 percent of the total award. The current system wastes taxpayer dollars, hampers job creation and economic growth by enabling frivolous lawsuits to prey on businesses, hospitals, state and local governments by forcing them to pay crippling awards regardless if they are at fault or not,” Chairman Rob Gleason said.

“Pennsylvania is one of nine states to not have already modified the system of joint liability, and it’s unfathomable why House Democrats chose to obstruct the Fair Share Act in the past. In 2006, Governor Ed Rendell kowtowed to special interests instead of answering Pennsylvanians call for reform by vetoing the Fair Share Act. Thankfully, Governor Tom Corbett is a proven reformer who understands that the status quo in Harrisburg must change to get our economy moving again.”

In a statement by Republican Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s (R-Allegheny) office, “The Fair Share Act eliminates joint liability for defendants in civil cases found to be less than 60 percent liable and implements a system of comparative responsibility in which a defendant is responsible for paying only his fair share of the damages. That means if a party is responsible for 10 percent of the fault, that party would be accountable for paying only 10 percent of the total award. Under current law, the doctrine of joint and several liability establishes that a defendant in a multi-defendant civil case may be required to pay damages associated with the actions of its co-defendants.

“Each year, according to the acting attorney general, the Commonwealth is sued several hundred times; currently, more than 1,300 tort cases are pending against the state. The majority of these cases involve the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) where an uninsured, or under-insured, driver caused death or bodily injury. The plaintiffs are just looking for someone to pay, regardless of fault.” (Majority Leader Mike Turzai, “House Passes Milestone Lawsuit Abuse Reform Measure.” Pennsylvania House of Representatives, 4/11/11,