Government Tort Liability
Clarifies that government entities are only liable in certain cases for the percentage share of the damages they actually caused. (HB1037 HD1)
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-FIFTH LEGISLATURE, 2009
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO CIVIL ACTIONS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to abolish joint and several liability for government entities in all cases under chapter 663, Hawaii Revised Statutes, so that government entities would only be liable for the percentage share of the damages actually attributable to the government entities.
SECTION 2. Section 663-10.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
entity as a tortfeasor; abolition of joint and several liability. Any
other law to the contrary notwithstanding, including but not limited to
sections 663-10.9, 663-11 to 663-13, 663-16, 663-17, and 663-31, in any case
where a government entity is determined to be a tortfeasor along with one or
more other tortfeasors, the government entity shall be liable for no more than
that percentage share of the damages attributable to the government entity[
provided that joint and several liability shall be retained for tort claims
relating to the maintenance and design of highways pursuant to section 663-10.9].
For purposes of this section, "government entity" means any unit of government in this State, including the State and any county or combination of counties, department, agency, institution, board, commission, district, council, bureau, office, governing authority, or other instrumentality of state or county government, or corporation or other establishment owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of this State or any county.
For purposes of this section, the liability of a government entity shall include its vicarious liability for the acts or omissions of its officers and employees."
SECTION 3. Section 663-10.9, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§663-10.9 Abolition of joint and several liability; exceptions. Joint and several liability for joint tortfeasors as defined in section 663-11 is abolished except in the following circumstances:
(1) For the recovery of economic damages against joint tortfeasors in actions involving injury or death to persons;
(2) For the recovery of economic and noneconomic damages against joint tortfeasors in actions involving:
(A) Intentional torts;
(B) Torts relating to environmental pollution;
(C) Toxic and asbestos-related torts;
(D) Torts relating to aircraft accidents;
(E) Strict and products liability torts; or
(F) Torts relating to motor vehicle accidents [
as provided in paragraph (4)];
(3) For the recovery of noneconomic damages in actions, other than those enumerated in paragraph (2), involving injury or death to persons against those tortfeasors whose individual degree of negligence is found to be twenty-five per cent or more under section 663-31. Where a tortfeasor's degree of negligence is less than twenty-five per cent, then the amount recoverable against that tortfeasor for noneconomic damages shall be in direct proportion to the degree of negligence assigned; and
(4) F or recovery of noneconomic damages in
motor vehicle accidents involving tort actions relating to the maintenance and
design of highways including actions involving guardrails, utility poles,
street and directional signs, and any other highway-related device upon a
showing that the affected joint tortfeasor was given reasonable prior notice of
a prior occurrence under similar circumstances to the occurrence upon which the
tort claim is based. In actions in which the affected joint tortfeasor has not
been shown to have had such reasonable prior notice, the recovery of
noneconomic damages shall be as provided in paragraph (3). (5)] (4) Provided, however, that joint
and several liability for economic and noneconomic damages for claims against
design professionals, as defined in chapter 672, and certified public
accountants, as defined in chapter 466, is abolished in actions not involving
physical injury or death to persons."
SECTION 4. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2009.