December 28, 2011 Articles

Releasing Joint Tortfeasors

By Douglas J. Pepe

The issue comes up frequently. Multiple parties contributed to the plaintiffs’ claimed losses. One of the alleged tortfeasors reaches an agreement-in-principle to settle with the plaintiffs. It’s time to draft the mutual releases. Does the release of defendant A have the potential to impact the plaintiffs’ claims against defendants B, C, and D? Do the mutual releases have the potential to impact the settling defendant’s rights and obligations vis-à-vis the other tortfeasors? The answer to both questions is yes. There are two issues both sides will want to consider and address in drafting your settlement agreement.

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