Home -> Law Blog Directory -> Appellate Law Blogs -> Appellate Law and Practice
(866) 635-2689 for Personal Injury or (866) 635-9402 for Criminal Defense
Find a Local Lawyer
Divorce (866) 635-6190
Personal Injury (866) 635-2689
Criminal Defense (866) 635-9402
Appellate Law: Appellate Law and Practice
CA1: Contribution train wreck
By S. COTUS
Rio Mar Assoc. L.P. v. UHS of Puerto Rico, Nos. 07-1868, 07-2005 (4/10/08). In this case, Selya needs to reduce the use of big words, since there are complex issues of civil procedure involving members of the upper middle class. This case begins with a vacationer being malpracticed upon by a Puerto Rican hospital after being negligently rescued by lifeguards at the Westin. The hospital settled with the plaintiff for 1.4 million, and then filed a cross-claim against the hotel. (Not an unusual scenario. This flavor, the court explains is a ?Pierringer Relese? see ?See Pierringer v. Hoger, 124 N.W.2d 106, 112 (Wis. 1963) (interpreting such a release as discharging the settling defendant entirely and discharging the non-settling defendant from responsibility for the settling defendant's proportionate share of liability)?) The judge decided that the cross-claim should be heard in a later trial, but refused to order the release of the settlement agreement (or rather, didn?t act on a motion to compel disclosure).
At trial, the plaintiff won, and the hotel lost.
The First concludes that an FRCP 59(e) motion should have been granted, because the judge ?appears to have misconceived the import of the ensuing verdict. Applying the instruction to the facts of this case, the verdict must be presumed to have encompassed all the damages caused by both the Hotel and the Hospital? But the district court seems to have construed this fact as equivalent to a finding that the Hospital bore no responsibility for any part of those damages.? Even though there was no timely objection made, Selya decides that it wasn?t forfeited, because ?In such a situation, demanding that a party object at the conclusion of the charge in order to preserve its rights would be tantamount to demanding that a party anticipate a future hermeneutic misstep on the part of the trial court. The law does not require parties to possess that degree of clairvoyance.? Obviously, this isn?t going to be taken too seriously, since Selya never says this about ?parties? when they are accused of a crime.
Selya takes an ?Eerie? guess and finds that ?in all
likelihood the Puerto Rico Supreme Court would find no meaningful difference
between successive tortfeasors and joint tortfeasors for the purpose of
determining setoffs? and therefore the hotel can setoff the settlement amount
against the verdict based on its proportionate share of liability (rather than
dollar for dollar). Selya notes that other states have enacted a ?proportionate
Finally, they conclude that a remand is available and necessary, a jury trial is available,
Search Blog Directory: