Mary Carter agreements2 occur when a plaintiff asserting liability against joint tortfeasors 3 enters into a settlement agreement with less than all of the defendants. The settling defendant, who remains a party at trial, obtains the possibility of offsetting her financial exposure depending on how much money the plaintiff recovers from the other defendants. These agreements pose a potential threat to the adversarial nature of the trial process. This threat is especially severe when the trier of fact is not apprised of the agreement.4 Although maintaining the adversarial character of judicial proceedings is a public policy deserving of protection, 5 the ability of a plaintiff to control the tenor of her lawsuit also merits judicial consideration.6 Mary Carter agreements implicate both of these public policies in ways that require trial courts to administer actions with procedural safeguards. However, these safeguards must
Thomas G. Pirmantgen,
When Your Rival Becomes Your Dance Partner: Mary Carter Agreements in Missouri Courts,
64 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol64/iss3/4