Products liability and apportionment addressed regarding empty share defendants in case who had settled previously

Certainteed Corportation v. Ava Nell Dexter, ET AL. 2008-SC-000886-DG December 16, 2010

Opinion of the Court by Justice Noble Reversing and Remanding. Cunningham, Schroder, Scott and Venters, JJ., concur. Minton, C.J., concurs in result only. Abramson, J., not sitting. In a products liability case against nineteen corporate defendants, all but two defendants settled or won summary judgments. The jury ultimately issued a verdict against the two remaining defendants, apportioning zero fault to the empty-chair defendants who had settled or been dismissed from litigation. The court granted a new trial because of the failure of the jury to apportion fault to empty-chair defendants, but the Court of Appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of appeals because the trial court was not clearly erroneous in granting a new trial, in light of the manifest unfairness in apportioning 100 percent fault in the only two remaining defendants. The Chief Justice concurred in result only. Justice Abramson not sitting.

 

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