Joint and Several Liability: Refers to a
plaintiff's ability to sue one or more defendants separately or all together at
his or her option. Permits a group of defendants to be held both individually
and collectively liable for all damages suffered by the plaintiff. The plaintiff
can recover the entire amount of damages from one defendant, even if all of the
defendants are liable.
For incidents arising after August 17, 2002: Due to a new Pennsylvania law,
joint and several liability has been changed so that a plaintiff may no longer
be able to collect all his damages from one defendant, even if more than one
defendant is found responsible. A percentage of fault will be assessed against
each defendant and, unless a defendant's negligence is 60% or greater, an at
fault defendant will be responsible for only its percentage of fault.
Joint Tenancy: A form of legal co-ownership of property (also known as
survivorship). At the death of one co-owner, the surviving co-owner becomes sole
owner of the property. Tenancy by the entirety is a special form of joint
tenancy between a husband and wife.
Judge: Workers' compensation judges are appointed and are
representatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. They
conduct hearings in an administrative proceeding for workers' compensation
Judgment: Official decision of a court resolving the issues in a legal
action and stating the rights and obligations of the parties. See also decree,
Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict (n.o.v.): An order by the trial
judge entering a judgment in a manner contradictory to the jury’s verdict.
This is granted only when the verdict is unreasonable and unsupportable.
Judicial: Pertaining to a judge.
Judicial Notice: The procedure by which a judge recognizes the existence
of the truth of a certain fact having bearing on the case without the production
of evidence because such fact is established by common notoriety. For example,
if the accident happened on Thanksgiving, the judge can take judicial notice
that the accident happened on a Thursday.
Judicial Review: The authority of a court to review the official
actions of other branches of government. Also, the authority to declare
unconstitutional the actions of other branches.
Jurisdiction: The legal right by which judges exercise their
Jurisprudence: The study of law and the structure of the legal system.
Jury: Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into and
declare a verdict on matters of fact. A petit jury is an ordinary or trial jury,
composed of six to 12 persons, which hears either civil or criminal cases.
Jury Commissioner: The court officer responsible for choosing the
panel of persons to serve as potential jurors for a particular court term.
Justiciable: Issues and claims capable of being properly examined in