Governor Doyle Right to call proposed changes to Joint and Several “Good Public Policy”
Yesterday Governor Doyle reaffirmed his commitment to changes in the Joint and Several Liability provisions in the Budget, which would help prevent innocent injured parties from being stuck with the bill for their damages when one of the wrongdoers can’t pay.
Doyle explained that he understands that this issue is complicated, but countered theoretical examples being used by some business organizations to try to remove the item from the budget with his own example of why the law makes sense.
Doyle used an example of an injured person, totally innocent and two entities were substantially responsible for the injury. A jury or judge has found one entity 40% responsible and the other 60% responsible. Assuming that the 60% responsible person is now broke or didn’t have insurance, current Wisconsin law says that innocent harmed person is out 60% of what their loss was. Doyle said, “I understand that this is a complicated issue, and I understand that there are arguments to be made on both sides, but in the end you are coming down to deciding, should the innocent person suffer that loss or should the 40% person suffer the loss, who has insurance, and who has been found to be substantially responsible for the person’s injury?”
“The whole argument gets considerably different when you realize that somebody can be 49% responsible and somebody can be completely innocent and that person loses half of what they are entitled to,” explained Doyle.
“We commend Governor Doyle for continuing to stand with consumers and encourage the legislature to follow his lead on this important consumer protection issue,” said Wisconsin Association for Justice President Mark Thomsen.