Individual States 

PENNSYLVANIA

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

Assumption of risk is a defense in cases of strict liability which will bar recovery. Wagner v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 890 F.2d 352 (3d Cir. 1989) .

CAPS ON NONECONOMIC DAMAGES

Damages arising from the same cause of action or transaction or occurrence or series of causes of action or transactions or occurrences shall not exceed $ 500,000 in the aggregate. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §8553(b) .

COLLATERAL SOURCE RULE

If a claimant receives or is entitled to receive benefits under a policy of insurance other than a life insurance policy as a result of losses recoverable for noneconomic damages, the amount of such benefits shall be deducted from the amount of damages which would otherwise be recoverable. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §8553(d) .

COMPARATIVE FAULT

In strict liability, contributory negligence is not a defense that will bar recovery. Parks v. Allied Signal Inc., 113 F.3d 1327 (3d Cir. 1997) .

Generally, in all actions brought to recover damages for negligence resulting in death or injury to person or property, the fact that the plaintiff may have been guilty of contributory negligence will not bar a recovery by the plaintiff where such negligence was not greater than the causal negligence of the defendant or defendants against whom recovery is sought, but any damages sustained by the plaintiff shall be diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributed to the plaintiff. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §7104(a) .

ECONOMIC LOSS

Recovery in tort is barred in product liability actions where the only damage alleged is to the product itself, whether or not the defect posed a risk of other damage or injury or manifested itself in a sudden and calamitous occurrence. REM Coal Co. v. Clark Equip. Co., 563 A.2d 128 (Pa.Super.1989) ; Longport Ocean Plaza Condo., Inc. v. Cato & Assoc., Inc., 2002 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 4609 (E.D.Pa. 2002) (applying New Jersey law).

The economic loss doctrine permits a tort claim for damages to "other property". 2-J Corp. v. Tice, 126 F.3d 539 (3rd Cir. 1997) .

JOINT & SEVERAL LIABILITY

For multidefendant situations, including strict liability, a defendant's liability shall be several and not joint. Damages will be apportioned among the defendants based on their proportionate share of liability. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §7102 (b.1)(1) and (2) .

However, a defendant who is found to be at least 60% at fault, or who is found liable in an intentional tort action, will have joint and several liability, and will have a judgment in the total dollar award entered against him with the right of contribution. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §7102 (3) and (4) .

Any party may request the fact finder to consider the fault percentage of any nonparty who has entered into a release with the plaintiff. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §7102 (b.2) .

In the event of a joint tortfeasor settlement, three releases are available:

"General" release, which discharges liability of the settling joint tortfeasor and all other joint tortfeasors despite no payment made by the others;

"Pro tanto" or "dollar-for-dollar" release, where only the settling joint tortfeasor is discharged, but does reduce the liability of the others by the amount paid;

"Pro rata" release which only discharges the settling tortfeasor, but reduces the non-settling tortfeasors liability by the settler's proportionate share of liability. Buttermore v. Aliquippa Hospital, 522 Pa. 325 (1989) .

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Punitive damages are recoverable in actions in strict liability and negligence where the court has determined the existence of outrageous conduct and reckless indifference. SHV Coal, Inc. v. Continental Grain Co., 526 Pa. 489 (1991) .

Punitive damages are not awarded in exclusive actions for breach of warranty. 13 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann §2714 .

RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTION

A joint tortfeasor compelled to pay more than its percentage share of liability may seek contribution from the other joint tortfeasors. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §7102 .

A settling joint tortfeasor who receives a "general" release has a right of contribution from the other joint tortfeasors. Buttermore v. Aliquippa Hospital, 522 Pa. 325 (1989)

A settling joint tortfeasor who receives a "pro tanto" release has no right of contribution from the other joint tortfeasors. In the event that the settling joint tortfeasor has paid less than its proportionate share of the liability, the non-settling joint tortfeasor has a claim for contribution for the difference between what the settler paid and the proportionate liability assigned to the settler. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §8324 .

A settling joint tortfeasor who receives a "pro rata" release has no right of contribution from the other joint tortfeasors, nor can they exercise any right of contribution as well. Walton v. Avco Corp., 530 Pa. 568 (1992) .

SPECIAL DEFENSES

A products supplier will not be held strictly liable for inherently dangerous products unless it fails to give adequate warning of the danger. Mauzur v. Merck & Co., Inc., 964 F.2d 1348 (3d Cir. 1992) .

A manufacturer is not liable for reasonably foreseeable injuries caused by substantial changes or abnormal use after the initial sale. Brill v. Systems Resources, Inc., 405 Pa. Super. 603 (1991) .

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Property damage, personal injury or wrongful death actions shall be commenced within two years, whether in negligence or strict liability. 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §5524 .

Breach of warranty actions must be brought within four years of the date of sale. 13 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §2725 .

STATUTES OF REPOSE

There is no statute of repose for product liability actions in Pennsylvania.

STRUCTURED SETTLEMENT

The written offer of settlement shall contain an express clause and shall either in a specified sum with prompt cash payment, or contain a structured settlement plus any cash payment. An offer that includes a structured settlement shall disclose the terms of payment underwritten by a financially responsible entity, the identity of the underwriter and the cost. Pa. R.Civ.P. No. 238 .