Spencer v. Johnson

The consolidated appeals in Spencer v. Johnson arose out of an auto accident in West Philadelphia. A labor union owned the car, and the union provided the car to one of its employees. That employee’s husband was driving when he struck a pedestrian, causing the injuries at issue in this case. The driver, his wife, and the union were all named defendants. A jury found that all three defendants shared liability for the injuries and apportioned liability among the defendants. The plaintiff sought to mold the verdict to make the union jointly and severally liable for the wife’s negligence. The trial court denied that request. The Pennsylvania Superior Court reversed and held that the trial court erred in failing to grant the plaintiff’s motion to mold the verdict under the Fair Share Act. The Court ruled that the jury’s general verdict warranted a finding that the union was vicariously liable for its employee’s negligence. Therefore, the theory of joint and several liability applied. The union and its employee’s combined liability exceeded the necessary 60% liability threshold required under 42 Pa.C.S. § 7102(a.1)(3)(iii).

SPENCER