Torts – Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act – Effect of Release on Injured Person’s Claim
Plaintiffs were injured in a collision involving vehicles driven by the individual defendants Hershberger and Mong. Mong settled with each of the seven plaintiffs for varying amounts, receiving from them releases which not only discharged him from all liability but also reduced the damages recoverable against Hershberger by fifty percent. Plaintiffs then sued Hershberger, who joined Mong as an additional defendant. After verdicts were rendered against both defendants, the trial court denied Hershberger’s motion to compel reduction of the verdicts so that in each of the seven instances his liability would be the lesser of (a) fifty percent of the verdict and (b) the deficiency between the verdict and the amount paid to the particular plaintiff by Mong. On appeal, held, reversed. Under section 4 of the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, a release of one joint tortfeasor reduces the claim against the others by the greater of (a) the consideration paid for the release and (b) the amount which the release specifies. Daugherty v. Hershberger, 386 Pa. 367, 126 A. (2d) 730 (1956).