Pa. lawmakers set vote on tort reform

    The Pennsylvania House will vote Monday on a legal reform bill Republicans have been trying to pass for years.

    The measure changes the way damages are awarded in most civil lawsuits. Right now, if two companies are held liable, one of the defendants can be ordered to pay up to 100 percent of a judgment, even if the company is only responsible, for, say, 60 percent of the damages.

    House Bill 1 would put restrictions on the law. Kevin Shivers, who heads the National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Pennsylvania chapter, explains: “If you’re 10 percent at fault in an accident, you’re going to be required to pay 10 percent of the damages. If you’re 20 percent at fault, you’ll be required to pay 20 percent.”

    Republicans have named the bill the “Fair Share Act.” By and large, House Democrats oppose the measure; their leader calls it the “Wrongdoers Protection Act.”

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    Democrats tried to add exceptions and amendments to the bill when it came up for an initial vote last week, but their efforts came up short.

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