Ziehl’s car was hit by a Tornado bus, driven by Luviano. Ziehl and his passengers sued Tornado and Luviano. The jury found that Ziehl and Luviano were negligent, and that Tornado and Ziehl’s employer (SCR Construction Co.) were not. In response to the next question the jury found:From there, the court found that Luviano was entitled to contribution from Ziehl for 35% of all plaintiffs’ damages, and also reduced Ziehl’s damages by 35%.

The Fifth Court agreed with Ziehl that this adjustment was improper, noting: “Using the word ‘shall’ three times in [CPRC] section 33.016(c), the Legislature specifically and clearly imposed an obligation on the trier of fact to make a separate finding of the percentage of responsibility for each contribution defendant. The finding must be solely for the purpose of [CPRC] section 33.016 and cannot be part of the percentage of responsibility determined pursuant to section 33.003.” The Court reversed “[b]ecause the statute makes the question mandatory and the question was neither requested nor given ….” Ziehl v. Tornado Bus, No. 05-19-00901-CV (April 22, 2021).


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