Torts II, Pages 396–397

Bundt v. Embro

Supreme Court of New York, Queens County, 1965

Facts:

Two automobiles collided, and their passengers sued both drivers and a contractor who obscured the view of a stop sign. Plaintiffs then recovered against the State of New York in a separate case in the Court of Claims. Defendants now move to amend their answers to interpose the defense of discharge and satisfaction.

Issue:

Can plaintiff recover from defendants as well as from the state?

Rule:

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[O]ne who has been injured by the joint wrong of several parties may recover his damages against either or all; but although there may be several suits and recoveries, there can be but one satisfaction.

Reasoning:

This rule applies to the state as well as it has allowed itself to be sued. It should be treated as any other defendant.

Holding:

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[If] the defendants were in fact joint tort-feasors with the State, the satisfaction of a judgment against the State would operate as a discharge of the defendants.

Judgment:

Leave to amend granted to defendants.

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