Complex questions surrounding the application of the Fair Share Act, which modified Pennsylvania’s common law “joint and several” liability law, are being taken up by courts in the Commonwealth with increasing frequency. Given the practical consequences of the differences in application between the Act and “joint and several” liability, additional litigation over the application of the Fair Share Act to real world factual situations will undoubtedly arise.
Currently, in Roverano v. PECO Energy, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania is considering the question of whether, under the Fair Share Act, the jury, or else the trial judge, is responsible for the task of apportioning liability to multiple defendants in a strict liability case. In Roverano – an asbestos case -- a jury awarded the plaintiff $6.3 million. On the verdict sheet were eight joint tortfeasor co-defendants. The judge did not allow the jury to apportion liability to each defendant and, as a result, no guidance was provided by the jury about how much each defendant was to contribute to the award. Instead, the judge merely divided the jury’s award by eight (the number of defendants in the case) and apportioned to each defendant one-eighth of the verdict amount.