Is It Necessary to Determine Fault of All Entities Contributing to Accident and Not Only Defendants ?
The doctrine of vicarious liability allows for parties that are not at fault to be held liable for the actions of active tortfeasors.
The Florida Legislature specifically included the word "chargeable" in the comparative fault statute.
In Nash v. Wells Fargo Guard Services, Inc., 678 So. 2d 1262, 1264 (Fla. 1996), this Court held that "the named defendant cannot rely on the vicarious liability of a nonparty to establish the nonparty's fault." Id.
This holding was in the context of putting the nonparty's name on a jury verdict form for the purpose of apportioning fault. Id.
J.R. Brooks & Son, Inc. v. Quiroz, 707 So. 2d 861 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998) stands for the proposition that a plaintiff's damage award from a defendant whose liability is based solely on vicarious liability must be reduced by the amount of the settlement entered into with the person that actually committed the negligent act. 707 So. 2d at 863.
In Fabre v. Marin, 623 So. 2d 1182, 1185 (Fla. 1993), partly receded from by Wells v. Tallahassee Mem'l Reg'l Med. Ctr., Inc., 659 So. 2d 249 (Fla. 1995), the Court held that the comparative fault statute was unambiguous in stating that damage judgments should be entered against each liable party on the basis of that party's percentage of fault.
Further, this Court concluded that in order to adequately apportion fault it is necessary to determine the fault of all entities that contributed to the accident and not just those who are defendants in the lawsuit. Id. at 1186-87.