Maine Revised Statutes

§156. Comparative negligence

When any person suffers death or damage as a result partly of that person's own fault and partly of the fault of any other person or persons, a claim in respect of that death or damage may not be defeated by reason of the fault of the person suffering the damage, but the damages recoverable in respect thereof must be reduced to such extent as the jury thinks just and equitable having regard to the claimant's share in the responsibility for the damage. [1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).]

When damages are recoverable by any person by virtue of this section, subject to such reduction as is mentioned, the court shall instruct the jury to find and record the total damages that would have been recoverable if the claimant had not been at fault, and further instruct the jury to reduce the total damages by dollars and cents, and not by percentage, to the extent considered just and equitable, having regard to the claimant's share in the responsibility for the damages, and instruct the jury to return both amounts with the knowledge that the lesser figure is the final verdict in the case. [1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).]

Fault means negligence, breach of statutory duty or other act or omission that gives rise to a liability in tort or would, apart from this section, give rise to the defense of contributory negligence. [1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).]

If such claimant is found by the jury to be equally at fault, the claimant may not recover. [1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).]

In a case involving multiparty defendants, each defendant is jointly and severally liable to the plaintiff for the full amount of the plaintiff's damages. However, any defendant has the right through the use of special interrogatories to request of the jury the percentage of fault contributed by each defendant. If a defendant is released by the plaintiff under an agreement that precludes the plaintiff from collecting against remaining parties that portion of any damages attributable to the released defendant's share of responsibility, then the following rules apply. [1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).]

1. General rule.  The released defendant is entitled to be dismissed with prejudice from the case. The dismissal bars all related claims for contribution assertable by remaining parties against the released defendant.
[ 1999, c. 633, §1 (NEW); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF) .]
2. Post-dismissal procedures.  The trial court must preserve for the remaining parties a fair opportunity to adjudicate the liability of the released and dismissed defendant. Remaining parties may conduct discovery against a released and dismissed defendant and invoke evidentiary rules at trial as if the released and dismissed defendant were still a party.
[ 1999, c. 633, §1 (NEW); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF) .]
3. Binding effect.  To apportion responsibility in the pending action for claims that were included in the settlement and presented at trial, a finding on the issue of the released and dismissed defendant's liability binds all parties to the suit, but such a finding has no binding effect in other actions relating to other damage claims.
[ 1999, c. 633, §1 (NEW); 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF) .]
1965, c. 383, (NEW). 1965, c. 424, (NEW). 1965, c. 513, §27 (RP). 1969, c. 399, §§1,2 (AMD). 1971, c. 8, (AMD). 1999, c. 633, §1 (AMD). 1999, c. 633, §3 (AFF).