The Business Council opposes this legislation which would establish a time limit on utilizing third party practice of no later than 90 days after completion of examinations before trial of the original parties. Current law sets no time limit prior to trial for proceeding against a third party defendant potentially liable to the defendant for all or part of a claim.
This bill is intended to correct the perceived problem of primary defendants bringing in additional defendants at the last minute to upend or delay a case. It fails to take into account, however, that there are often relevant facts about a case that will not be known until weeks or months after the completion of examinations. Without this information a defendant may not be able to make an adequate determination of whether to implead additional parties. Our courts are here to decide cases based on the facts and the law. Any facts that could help a party in a case before trial should not be denied by an arbitrary time limit.
Plaintiffs already have the ability to request judicial intervention, allowing the courts to impose time limits for impleading of third parties when there is cause to believe the defendants are delaying an action. This process protects litigants from abusive practices without undermining legitimate inquiries that may take a little more time.
This bill would also increase the burdens on our court system. Allowing defendants to implead third parties brings all liable parties into the same action rather than having separate actions arising from the same set of facts. The current system saves the courts time and money.
For these reasons the Business Council urges you to oppose passage of A.357.