Article 16. Limited Liability of Persons Jointly Liable

NY CPLR § 1600. DEFINITIONS

As used in this article the term “non-economic loss” includes but is not limited to pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium or other damages for non-economic loss.

NY CPLR § 1601. LIMITED LIABILITY OF PERSONS JOINTLY LIABLE

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, when a verdict or decision in an action or claim for personal injury is determined in favor of a claimant in an action involving two or more tortfeasors jointly liable or in a claim against the state and the liability of a defendant is found to be fifty percent or less of the total liability assigned to all persons liable, the liability of such defendant to the claimant for non-economic loss shall not exceed that defendant’s equitable share determined in accordance with the relative culpability of each person causing or contributing to the total liability for non-economic loss;  provided, however that the culpable conduct of any person not a party to the action shall not be considered in determining any equitable share herein if the claimant proves that with due diligence he or she was unable to obtain jurisdiction over such person in said action (or in a claim against the state, in a court of this state);  and further provided that the culpable conduct of any person shall not be considered in determining any equitable share herein to the extent that action against such person is barred because the claimant has not sustained a “grave injury” as defined in section eleven of the workers’ compensation law .
  2. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect or impair any right of a tortfeasor under section 15-108 of the general obligations law .

NY CPLR § 1602. APPLICATION

The limitations set forth in this article shall:

  1. apply to any claim for contribution or indemnification, but shall not include:
  2. not be construed to impair, alter, limit, modify, enlarge, abrogate or restrict (i) the limitations set forth in section twenty-a of the court of claims act ;  (ii) any immunity or right of indemnification available to or conferred upon any defendant for any negligent or wrongful act or omission;  (iii) any right on the part of any defendant to plead and prove an affirmative defense as to culpable conduct attributable to a claimant or decedent which is claimed by such defendant in the diminution of damages in any action;  and (iv) any liability arising by reason of a non-delegable duty or by reason of the doctrine of respondeat superior.
  3. not apply to administrative proceedings.
  4. not apply to claims under the workers’ compensation law or to a claim against a defendant where claimant has sustained a “grave injury” as defined in section eleven of the workers’ compensation law to the extent of the equitable share of any person against whom the claimant is barred from asserting a cause of action because of the applicability of the workers’ compensation law provided, however, that nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to create, impair, alter, limit, modify, enlarge, abrogate, or restrict any theory of liability upon which any person may be held liable.
  5. not apply to actions requiring proof of intent.
  6. not apply to any person held liable by reason of his use, operation, or ownership of a motor vehicle or motorcycle, as those terms are defined respectively in sections three hundred eleven and one hundred twenty-five of the vehicle and traffic law .
  7. not apply to any person held liable for causing claimant’s injury by having acted with reckless disregard for the safety of others.
  8. not apply to any person held liable by reason of the applicability of article ten of the labor law.
  9. not apply to any person held liable for causing claimant’s injury by having unlawfully released into the environment a substance hazardous to public health, safety or the environment, a substance acutely hazardous to public health, safety or the environment or a hazardous waste, as defined in articles thirty-seven and twenty-seven of the environmental conservation law and in violation of article seventy-one of such law;  provided, however, that nothing herein shall require that the violation of said article by such person has resulted in a criminal conviction or administrative adjudication of liability.
  10. not apply to any person held liable in a product liability action where the manufacturer of the product is not a party to the action and the claimant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that jurisdiction over the manufacturer could not with due diligence be obtained and that if the manufacturer were a party to the action, liability for claimant’s injury would have been imposed upon said manufacturer by reason of the doctrine of strict liability, to the extent of the equitable share of such manufacturer.
  11. not apply to any parties found to have acted knowingly or intentionally, and in concert, to cause the acts or failures upon which liability is based;  provided, however, that nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to create, impair, alter, limit, modify, enlarge, abrogate, or restrict any theory of liability upon which said parties may be held liable to the claimant.
  12. in conjunction with the other provisions of this article not be construed to create or enlarge actions for contribution or indemnity barred because of the applicability of the workers’ compensation law of this state, any other state or the federal government, or section 18-201 of the general obligations law .
  13. not apply to any person responsible for the disposal or presence of hazardous or dangerous materials that is the result of the unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine, when such person has been convicted of section 220.73 , 220.74 , 220.75 or 220.76 of the penal law .

NY CPLR § 1603. BURDENS OF PROOF

In any action or claim for damages for personal injury a party asserting that the limitations on liability set forth in this article do not apply shall allege and prove by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more of the exemptions set forth in subdivision one of section sixteen hundred one or section sixteen hundred two applies.  A party asserting limited liability pursuant to this article shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence its equitable share of the total liability.