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Should a Pierringer Agreement (i.e., partial settlement) be rejected if a wealthy non-settling Defendant will be left holding the bag for an impecunious non-settling co-Defendant? Is that fair?

In February Darcy Merkur and Ava Williams appeared before Justice Kaufman in Ottawa to address this challenge to a Pierringer Agreement our clients entered into after nearly 14 years of litigation (not to mention a challenge to the legislated principle of joint and several liability). In the newly released decision His Honour upheld our Pierringer Agreement and agreed that the settling defendant was carved out from all further financial exposure despite the impecuniosity of one of the remaining defendants. Defendants with assets would be wise to consider using Pierringer Agreements to resolve claims with Plaintiffs and avoid being held financially responsible for Defendants without adequate assets. Furthermore, the Court reiterated the importance of Pierringer Agreements in multi-party litigation especially in our current civil system which is plagued with delays. We anticipate that the decision will be appealed and we look forward to appearing before the Ontario Court of Appeal to continue to advocate for our clients and for the proper administration of civil justice.

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