Introduced Version






HOUSE BILL No. 1140

_____


DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 34-6-2-88; IC 34-20-8-1; IC 34-51-2.

Synopsis: Assessment of liability in civil actions. Removes the following from the law under which compensatory damages are awarded in civil actions: (1) The prohibition against informing the jury of an immunity defense available to a nonparty. (2) The requirement that the jury consider the fault of each person who caused or contributed to the claimant's injury or damage, regardless of whether the person was or could have been named as a party.

Effective: July 1, 2004.





Kersey




    January 13, 2004, read first time and referred to Committee on Judiciary.







Introduced

Second Regular Session 113th General Assembly (2004)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
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HOUSE BILL No. 1140



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning civil procedure.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 34-6-2-88; (04)IN1140.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 34-6-2-88 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004]: Sec. 88. (a) "Nonparty" for purposes of IC 34-51-2, means a person who caused or contributed to cause the alleged injury, death, or damage to property is or may be liable to the claimant in part or in whole for the damages claimed but who has not been joined in the action as a defendant.
     (b) "Nonparty" does not include an employer of a claimant.
SOURCE: IC 34-20-8-1; (04)IN1140.1.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 34-20-8-1, AS AMENDED BY P.L.1-1999, SECTION 71, IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004]: Sec. 1. (a) In a product liability action, the fault of the person suffering the physical harm, as well as the fault of all others who caused or contributed to cause the harm, claimant, of the defendant, and of any person who is a nonparty shall be compared by the trier of fact in accordance with IC 34-51-2-7, IC 34-51-2-8, or IC 34-51-2-9.
    (b) In assessing percentage of fault, the jury shall consider the fault of all persons who contributed to the physical harm, regardless of

whether the person was or could have been named as a party, as long as the nonparty was alleged to have caused or contributed to cause the physical harm.

SOURCE: IC 34-51-2-7; (04)IN1140.1.3. -->     SECTION 3. IC 34-51-2-7 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004]: Sec. 7. (a) This section applies to an action based on fault that is:
        (1) brought against one (1) defendant or two (2) or more defendants who may be treated as a single party; and
        (2) tried to a jury.
    (b) The court, unless all the parties agree otherwise, shall instruct the jury to determine its verdict in the following manner:
        (1) The jury shall determine the percentage of fault of the claimant, of the defendant, and of any person who is a nonparty. The jury may not be informed of any immunity defense that is available to a nonparty. In assessing percentage of fault, the jury shall consider the fault of all persons who caused or contributed to cause the alleged injury, death, or damage to property, tangible or intangible, regardless of whether the person was or could have been named as a party. The percentage of fault of parties to the action may total less than one hundred percent (100%) if the jury finds that fault contributing to cause the claimant's loss has also come from a nonparty or nonparties.
        (2) If the percentage of fault of the claimant is greater than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault involved in the incident which caused the claimant's death, injury, or property damage, the jury shall return a verdict for the defendant and no further deliberation of the jury is required.
        (3) If the percentage of fault of the claimant is not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault, the jury then shall determine the total amount of damages the claimant would be entitled to recover if contributory fault were disregarded.
        (4) The jury next shall multiply the percentage of fault of the defendant by the amount of damages determined under subdivision (3) and shall then enter a verdict for the claimant in the amount of the product of that multiplication.
SOURCE: IC 34-51-2-8; (04)IN1140.1.4. -->     SECTION 4. IC 34-51-2-8 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2004]: Sec. 8. (a) This section applies to an action based on fault that:
        (1) is brought against two (2) or more defendants; and
        (2) is tried to a jury.
    (b) The court, unless all the parties agree otherwise, shall instruct the jury to determine its verdict in the following manner:
        (1) The jury shall determine the percentage of fault of the claimant, of the defendants, and of any person who is a nonparty. The jury may not be informed of any immunity defense that might be available to a nonparty. In assessing percentage of fault, the jury shall consider the fault of all persons who caused or contributed to cause the alleged injury, death, or damage to property, tangible or intangible, regardless of whether the person was or could have been named as a party. The percentage of fault of parties to the action may total less than one hundred percent (100%) if the jury finds that fault contributing to cause the claimant's loss has also come from a nonparty or nonparties.
        (2) If the percentage of fault of the claimant is greater than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault involved in the incident which caused the claimant's death, injury, or property damage, the jury shall return a verdict for the defendants and no further deliberation of the jury is required.
        (3) If the percentage of fault of the claimant is not greater than fifty percent (50%) of the total fault, the jury shall then determine the total amount of damages the claimant would be entitled to recover if contributory fault were disregarded.
        (4) The jury next shall multiply the percentage of fault of each defendant by the amount of damages determined under subdivision (3) and shall enter a verdict against each defendant (and such other defendants as are liable with the defendant by reason of their relationship to a defendant) in the amount of the product of the multiplication of each defendant's percentage of fault times the amount of damages as determined under subdivision (3).