This comment was prompted by the 1979 enactment of Section 8.01- 35.1 of the Code of Virginia, which changed the law in Virginia regarding the release of, and contribution among, joint tortfeasors. Contribution statutes such as section 8.01-35.1 provide an equitable remedy for the problem of unjust enrichment (or, more accurately, unequal punishment) whenever one of several joint tortfeasors pays more than his ratable share of a claim. There has been considerable debate concerning the retroactive effect of these statutes-that is, whether a newly promulgated contribution statute can be applied retroactively to affect a claim which arose before the statute was enacted. The debate focuses on the formulation of a workable definition of the "right of contribution," and the determination of when that right arises.
Gary R. Allen,
Release of Joint Tortfeasors-Virginia Code Section 8.01-35.1 and its Retroactive Application,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol18/iss4/7