History of the Connecticut Judicial Seal Home Home BannerBanner


 

 

 

 

 

   

3.5-6  Apportionment Claim - One Defendant (No Special Defense) and One Apportionment Respondent Only

Revised to January 1, 2008

Note:  This charge is designed to be used when the plaintiff has sued one defendant who has filed a notice of apportionment against another potential tortfeasor – called here the apportionment respondent – and the apportionment respondent is not a party to the case at the time of trial.

The defendant has made a claim in this case regarding the negligence of another (person / driver), <insert name of apportionment respondent, hereafter "AR"> who has not been sued in this case.  Because the plaintiff has not sued AR, AR is not liable to pay money damages to the plaintiff; but the conduct of AR must be considered by you in determining whether the defendant is liable to pay damages to the plaintiff and in determining whether any damages assessed against the defendant should be reduced because of AR's conduct.

The defendant claims that AR was negligent and that, if the plaintiff suffered injury, it was AR's negligence that legally caused injury to the plaintiff.  Here are the defendant's claims concerning AR's conduct:

<Charge on the specifications of negligence against AR.>

I have previously explained to you how to analyze claims of negligence and causation.  The same analysis applies with respect to the defendant's claim against AR.  What is different is the burden of proof.  As to this claim of the defendant, it is the defendant's burden to prove the allegations concerning AR by a preponderance of the evidence.  I also remind you that unless you first determine that the plaintiff has carried (his/her) burden of proof, that is, that the plaintiff has proved that the negligence of the defendant legally caused injury to the plaintiff, you need not evaluate the claim of the defendant about the negligence of AR.  That is because a finding about AR's responsibility serves only to reduce any damages owed by the defendant to the plaintiff and not to relieve the defendant of liability.

If you find that plaintiff has proved (his/her) claim against the defendant and that the defendant has proved (his/her) claim regarding AR, you will have to allocate the percentage of negligence attributable to the defendant and the negligence attributable to AR, with the total amount of negligence equaling 100%.  You must then reduce the amount of damages to be awarded to the plaintiff from the defendant by any percentage of negligence which the defendant proves to be attributable to AR.

Assume, for example, that the defendant has proved that AR was negligent, that AR's negligence caused injury to the plaintiff, and that AR's negligence constituted 25% of all proven negligence that caused the plaintiff's injury. [That would logically mean that you have found that the remaining 75% was attributable to the defendant, because the total amount of the negligence must always equal 100%.]  Let us also assume you determine damages to be $100.  You would then reduce your award to the plaintiff by the 25% that was attributable to AR, and your award to the plaintiff from the defendant would be $75.

In another example, if you were to find that all of the plaintiff's injuries – 100% – were caused by the negligence of AR and none at all were attributable to the defendant, then that would mean you have found that the defendant is not liable to the plaintiff at all and your verdict must be for the defendant.

Notes

See Sample Apportionment Verdict Form (Plaintiff), Instruction 6.2.  The judge should consider distributing copies of the verdict forms to the jury in conjunction with the delivery of this charge so that the jury can see the practical effect of the charge before they begin their deliberations.  General Statutes § 52-102b; Carlson v. Waterbury Hospital, 280 Conn.125 (2006).
 


 

Attorneys | Case Look-up | Courts | Directories | Educational Resources | E-Services | Español | FAQ's | Juror Information | Media | Opinions | Opportunities | Self-Help | Home

Common Legal Words | Contact Us | Site Map | Website Policies and Disclaimers

Copyright © 2011, State of Connecticut Judicial Branch