Section 6-5-755

Recovery; contribution.

(a) In an action against a manufacturer and one or more other defendants, including other manufacturers, for death or injury to person or damage to property arising out of an accident, the right of the plaintiff to recover jointly and severally against such defendants found liable is preserved.

(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), in an action arising out of such accident, if the respective or comparative responsibility of tortfeasors is an issue, then the jury shall return special verdicts, or in the absence of a jury the court shall make special findings, allocating the percentage of responsibility attributable to each defendant found to have proximately caused the accident.

(c) Responsibility for the accident may be allocated to a nonparty in an action under the procedure described in subsection (b) if each of the following requirements are satisfied:

(1) A defendant affirmatively pleads the responsibility of a nonparty as a proximate cause of the accident, and, absent a showing of good cause, identifies the nonparty, if known, or describes the nonparty as specifically as practicable, either by motion or responsive pleading when defenses are first presented or in accordance with the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure governing supplemental and amended pleadings.

(2) The defendant proves at trial, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the act or failure to act of the nonparty was a proximate cause of the accident in whole or in part.

(d) Regarding a party or nonparty joint tortfeasor or tortfeasors who has not settled with the plaintiff and whose comparative responsibility for the accident has been determined under the procedure described in subsection (b) or subsection (c), a defendant found liable and who has paid the plaintiff an amount in excess of defendant's percentage of comparative responsibility shall be entitled to recover contribution in such excess amount from the joint tortfeasor or tortfeasors according to the percentage of its responsibility so determined. In such a circumstance, contribution among joint tortfeasors is allowed.

(e) Regarding any joint tortfeasor, whether a party or nonparty in the action, who has settled with the plaintiff, a defendant is entitled to elect either informing the trier of fact of the terms of the pro tanto settlement and admitting such settlement into evidence, or choosing a post-judgment setoff by the trial court of the amount of such settlement against the amount of the judgment in the manner permitted by Alabama law.

(f) This section does not apply to contract actions, nor does it limit or abridge the contractual rights of a party.

(Act 2013-73, p. 148, §6.)