Louisiana’s 1996 Shift in Tort Law Policy

As recognized by the Louisiana Supreme Court in Dumas v. State, DCRT, 2002-0563 (La. 10/15/02), 828 So.2d 530, 537, prior to the 1996 tort reform amendments to La. C.C. arts. 2323 and 2324(B), the policy behind Louisiana’s tort law was ensuring that innocent victims received full compensation for their injuries. With the 1996 amendments, the Louisiana Legislature shifted Louisiana’s policy so that each tortfeasor pays only for that portion of the damage he has caused and the tortfeasor shall not be solidarily liable with any other person for damages attributable to the fault of that other person. With the advent of this new policy, the right of contribution among solidary tortfeasors also disappeared since it is no longer necessary in light of the abolishment of solidarity. The Louisiana Legislature struck a new balance in favor of known, present and solvent tortfeasors instead of the previous priority that fully compensated injured victims.