Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Contribution Definition:

The right of a person who has discharged a common liability to recover proportionate share from the other(s) that were so liable.
In FBI Foods, Justice Dillon wisely wrote, at ¶14:

"The rule of equity that allows a right of contribution is that if two persons are equally liable to be sued for one sum, and one is compelled to pay, he has a right of contribution against the other person liable which is measured by the benefit which that person has received by the payment."
In Volume 18 of American Jurisprudence entitled Contribution, the authors write:

"The right to contribution is the right of a person who has discharged a common liability or burden to recover of another, who is also liable, the portion he or she ought to pay or bear. The doctrine of contribution requires that persons under a common burden share that burden equitably."

Contribution, a creature of equity, is to be distinguished from subrogation and indemnity.

Examples of legal situations where in the event of a single person paying and having a equitable right of contribution against others are joint TortFeasors and those otherwise joint and severally liable, in either contract or tort.

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