Fair Share Act Limiting Damages In Civil Lawsuits Advances

Brad Bumsted and Sari Heidenreich
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The state House today is expected to give final consideration to one of Gov. Tom Corbett’s top legislative priorities: limiting who would have to pay damage awards in civil lawsuits.

After defeating amendments to weaken the bill on Sunday, the legislation is positioned for a vote that would send the Fair Share Act to Corbett’s desk. It’s aimed at eliminating the situation in which a party found 10 percent responsible could be required to cover 100 percent of the damages if others cannot pay.

The legislation would apply to defendants found to be less than 60 percent responsible in a civil judgment. Under the bill, the percentage of the total award they must pay could not exceed their degree of responsibility.

It’s been attacked by trial lawyers and their supporters in the Legislature as protecting corporations at the expense of victims.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, said it’s about “fairness for defendants.” House Minority Leader Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, said it protects “negligent wrongdoers.”

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