This Article first reviews what a study of the 1986 Tort Reform Act reveals to be problems created by that Act for negotiators of settlements in tort suits. These problems are greatest for fault-free plaintiffs. Next, a summary of the previous law governing joint and several liability provides an understanding of these problems and the changes negotiators should make in their negotiation strategies. The court's success in avoiding the mandated disaster for the Workers Compensation Fund raises the possibility that the court may also provide fault-free plaintiffs with an easier escape from the perils and pitfalls created by the Act for the negotiation of settlements with multiple defendants. The likelihood, however, is that the court will not provide that escape. It therefore becomes appropriate to analyze carefully the statements made by the court concerning the negotiation process to ascertain their application to other situations. It is also appropriate to suggest how the law governing negotiation of tort cases involving multiple defendants should develop.
Cornelius J. Peck, Reading Tea Leaves: The Future of Negotiations for Tort Claimants Free From Fault, 15 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 335 (1992).