McDermott v. AmClyde: The Quiet Achiever
Martin J. Davies
Tulane University Law School
Journal of Maritime Law and Commerce, Vol. 39, No. 1, 2008
The case of McDermott, Inc. v. AmClyde has had a significant impact on the body of reported law, not just in maritime cases but wherever law recognizes joint and several liability, as it does in the federal contexts, for example, of ERISA, securities fraud, and civil-rights tort claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The proportionate share approach
to partial settlement espoused in McDermott is also generally the rule of tort law in those states that retain joint and several liability for cases involving multiple tortfeasors, and several states have adopted just such a rule after reference to McDermott.
But the true influence of the case should be measured not only in decisions by courts but also in the day-to-day practice of lawyers, both maritime and non-maritime. That influence is underestimated by the number of its references in reported decisions because McDermott was concerned with what happens when cases settle. Its real force is in those cases that do not reach the point of judicial decision. It is probably no exaggeration to say that McDermott is considered by some practicing lawyer somewhere every day.
Keywords: proportionate share, contribution, joint and several, AmClyde, McDermott, settlement
JEL Classification: C70, K13, K41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 12, 2008
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