INSURERS APPLAUD DEFEAT OF FAULT BILL:

April 18, 2005

The New Hampshire Senate’s decision to kill a trial lawyer-supported bill that would have required well-insured defendants with little liability to pay the lion’s share of legal judgments has been hailed as a victory for judicial fairness by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

The New Hampshire Senate’s decision to kill a trial lawyer-supported bill that would have required well-insured defendants with little liability to pay the lion’s share of legal judgments has been hailed as a victory for judicial fairness by the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

S.B. 47 would have changed New Hampshire’s civil action fault apportionment system by removing as a “party” any named defendant who had settled before trial.

The bill was an effort by the New Hampshire Trial Lawyer Association to reverse a recent New Hampshire Supreme Court decision clarifying the nature of “party” or “parties” to a lawsuit under the state’s system of joint and several liability and the right of contribution. As a result, parties with large insurance policy limits and little liability would run the risk of a large judgment without any “parties” to share the burden under the joint and several liability determinations and any right of contribution from a joint wrongdoer, according to Frank O’Brien, PCI regional manager. “The New Hampshire Senate prevented a grave consumer injustice by choosing to kill this bill,” he said.

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Insurance Journal West April 18, 2005
April 18, 2005
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