Legal Memorandum: The Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act defined and reviewed

Issue: Under Illinois law, what act promotes both settlements and equitable distribution of damages for tortfeasors?

Area of Law: Uncategorized
Keywords: ; Tort; Joint; Tortfeasor; Contribution; Act; Good Faith; Liability; Settlement; Fraud
Jurisdiction: Illinois
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2016

The Joint Tortfeasor Contribution Act ([statref]740 ILCS 100/1 et seq. (West 2010)[/statref]) (Contribution Act) seeks to promote two important public policies: encouraging settlements and ensuring the equitable apportionment of damages among tortfeasors. Johnson v. United Airlines, 203 Ill.2d 121, 133 (2003); BHI Corp. v. Litgen Concrete Cutting & Coring Co., 214 Ill.2d 356, 365 (2005). The Contribution Act creates a right of contribution in actions "where 2 or more persons are subject to liability in tort arising out of the same injury to person or property, or the same wrongful death, to the extent that a tortfeasor pays more than his pro rata share of the common liability." (Citations omitted.) Johnson, 203 Ill.2d at 128. The Contribution Act also provides that a tortfeasor who settles in good faith with the injured party is discharged from contribution liability. [statref]740 ILCS 100/2(c), (d)[/statref].

Specifically, section 2 of the Contribution Act states, in pertinent part, provides as follows:

(c) When a release or covenant not to sue or not to enforce judgment is given in good faith to one or more persons liable in tort arising out of the same injury or the same wrongful death, it does not discharge any of the other tortfeasors from liability for the injury or wrongful death unless its terms so provide but it reduces the recovery on any claim against the others to the extent of any amount stated in the release or the covenant, or in the amount of the consideration […]


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