CS/HB 201

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to negligence; amending s. 768.81, F.S.;
3specifying how the trier of fact is to apportion damages
4in products liability actions alleging additional or
5enhanced injury resulting from the crash of a motor
6vehicle alleged to be defective; providing that the
7doctrine of joint and several liability applies to a tort
8action brought by a first responder; defining the term
9"first responder"; providing applicability; providing an
10effective date.
12Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
14     Section 1.  Subsection (3) and paragraph (b) of subsection
15(4) of section 768.81, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
16     768.81  Comparative fault.-
17     (3)  APPORTIONMENT OF DAMAGES.-In cases to which this
18section applies, the court shall enter judgment against each
19party liable on the basis of such party's percentage of fault
20and not on the basis of the doctrine of joint and several
22     (a)  In order to allocate any or all fault to a nonparty, a
23defendant must affirmatively plead the fault of a nonparty and,
24absent a showing of good cause, identify the nonparty, if known,
25or describe the nonparty as specifically as practicable, either
26by motion or in the initial responsive pleading when defenses
27are first presented, subject to amendment any time before trial
28in accordance with the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure.
29     (b)  In order to allocate any or all fault to a nonparty
30and include the named or unnamed nonparty on the verdict form
31for purposes of apportioning damages, a defendant must prove at
32trial, by a preponderance of the evidence, the fault of the
33nonparty in causing the plaintiff's injuries.
34     (c)  In a products liability action brought by the claimant
35alleging that because of a defective product the injuries
36received by the claimant in a motor vehicle accident were
37greater than the injuries the claimant would have received but
38for the defective product, the trier of fact shall consider only
39the fault of the persons responsible for the accident in regard
40to the injuries directly caused by the accident and shall
41consider only the fault of the persons responsible for the
42defective product in regard to the injuries directly caused by
43the defective product, unless the trier of fact cannot
44distinguish the injuries directly caused by the defective
45product, in which case the trier of fact shall consider the
46fault of all persons who contributed to the accident and the
47injuries and apportion liability between them.
48     (4)  APPLICABILITY.-
49     (b)  This section does not apply to any action brought by
50any person to recover actual economic damages resulting from
51pollution, to any action based upon an intentional tort, to any
52action brought by a first responder, or to any cause of action
53as to which application of the doctrine of joint and several
54liability is specifically provided by chapter 403, chapter 498,
55chapter 517, chapter 542, or chapter 895. For purposes of this
56paragraph, the term "first responder" means a law enforcement
57officer as defined in s. 943.10, a firefighter as defined in s.
58633.30, or an emergency medical technician or paramedic as
59defined in s. 401.23, whether such first responder is employed
60full time, employed part time, or is a volunteer.
61     Section 2.  This act shall take effect upon becoming a law
62and shall apply to causes of action accruing on or after that

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.