SB 669 - This act modifies provisions relating to civil actions, including the determination of fault of parties and nonparties and immunity from liability for certain designers, manufacturers, sellers, and lessors of products.
DETERMINATION OF FAULT OF PARTIES & NONPARTIES (SECTIONS 537.059, 537.060, & 537.067)
In all tort actions in which any party contends that damages were caused by the alleged fault of more than one person or entity, the trier of fact shall determine the amount of fault attributable to each person or entity, regardless of whether the person or entity is a party to the action and regardless of whether the person or entity has settled or been released from liability. Fault of another person or entity may be alleged by any party in the action in any claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or as an affirmative defense. Any determination of fault attributable to a person or entity not a party to the action shall not be binding against or otherwise affect the rights or liabilities of the person or entity.
Current law provides that an agreement by release, covenant not to sue or not to enforce a judgment given in good faith to one of two or more persons liable in tort for the same injury or wrongful death shall reduce the claim for damages by the greater of either the stipulated amount of the agreement or the amount of consideration paid. Further, the agreement shall discharge the tort-feasor to whom it is given from all liability for contribution or noncontractual indemnity, as defined, to any other tort-feasor. This act repeals this provision and provides that in all tort-actions for damages, if the defendant is found to bear 51% or more of the fault, then the defendant shall be jointly and severally liable for the amount of the judgment less the total of any stipulated amount in any release, covenant not to sue or not to enforce a judgment under any agreement with any other person or entity alleged to have been at fault, or any consideration paid by such person or entity, whichever is greater.
These provisions are similar to provisions in SB 1243 (2022).
IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY FOR CERTAIN DESIGNERS, MANUFACTURERS, SELLERS, AND LESSORS OF PRODUCTS (SECTION 537.767)
This act provides that in any civil action for personal injury, death, or property damages caused by a product the plaintiff shall prove that the defendant designed, manufactured, sold, or leased the particular product that is alleged to have caused the injury and not a similar or equivalent product. Designers, manufacturers, sellers, or lessors of products not identified as used, ingested, or encountered by the injured party shall not be held liable for the alleged injury. A person, firm, corporation, association, partnership, or entity whose design is copied or otherwise used by a manufacturer without the designer's express authorization shall not be subject to liability for personal injury, death, or property damage even if the use of the design was foreseeable.
This provision is identical to SB 350 (2021) and a provision in SB 1243 (2022).