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Contribution is an equitable tool used to distribute losses among all parties responsible for injury to another. Like any other equitable concept, its development in American jurisprudence has been shaped by each jurisdiction's perception of "fairness" and "justice." As a result, application of the doctrine varies widely from state to state. With the appearance in recent years of industry-wide strict products liability actions,' contribution has taken on a new importance. But two obstacles continue to hinder its application. First, since contribution law does vary so widely, it is difficult for litigants to determine what law, if any, is applied in the relevant jurisdiction. This problem is made more complex by the fact that many of these cases are tried in federal courts which, under the principles of Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, must themselves attempt to divine the status of the forum state's law. Second, contribution, a derivative of negligence law, is based on fault principles. On the other hand, strict liability is based on the existence of a defective product. ...

This comment will examine the area of contribution among tortfeasors and its applicability to manufacturers in strict products liability actions. More particularly, a closer look will be taken at the possible consequences of pretrial settlements between plaintiffs and defendants. The current status of asbestos-product litigation will be discussed as illustrative of the monetary as well as academic interests at stake.

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