pro tanto

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Pro tanto is Latin phrase meaning “to that extent” or “for so much,” and it often refers to a partial satisfaction of a debt or claim. Example: In a negligence suit with multiple tortfeasors, a plaintiff may settle with one of the defendants and then pursue further action against the remaining defendants. That settlement is referred to as a “pro tanto settlement.” The remaining defendants are entitled to offset the pro tanto settlement against any judgment entered against them. For example, in Ex parte Goldsen, two defendants were liable for damages sustained by the plaintiff as a result of a car accident. The second defendant was able to offset the $76,898 judgment against him by $20,000, the amount of the pro tanto settlement with the first defendant.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]