This morning, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York announced its participation in the Let New York Work Coalition, a broad based group composed of small and large businesses, farmers, school superintendents, elected officials, realtors, school boards, and taxpayers. This diverse group has joined together to advocate for meaningful mandate relief. The coalition strongly supports six measures, including making the pension system more affordable, redefining compulsory arbitration, reducing the costs of construction, freezing step increases, establishing minimum health insurance contribution levels for employees, and limiting new unfunded mandates. All of these measures would reduce the financial burden on municipalities and taxpayers, stimulate the economy, and promote job creation.
As part of the plan to reduce construction costs, the coalition is advocating for common sense reform to the “Scaffold Law.” Under this law, contractors, employers and property owners are held absolutely liable for “elevation related injuries”. This means when an injured worker sues, the contractor, employer, or owner is automatically 100% liable, even if the injured worker was entirely at fault. The coalition is advocating for a modest reform – if the worker was injured because they were intoxicated, violating safety standards, or committing a criminal act, the employer or property owner who hired them is allowed to defend themselves in court.
Says Brian Sampson, Executive Director of the advocacy group Unshackle Upstate,
“The Scaffold Law is another clear example of why New York ranks 50th, dead last, in business tax climate. The net cause of this law is that New York State has abandoned fairness standard that allows people to defend themselves against accusations and innuendo. New York must take decisive action to reform this antiquated law. Failure to reform the absolute liability standard will continue to result in increased spending of tax dollars paying for claims rather than public improvements and will stifle the progress of private projects.”
Reforming the Scaffold Law would create jobs, improve workplace safety, and strengthen New York’s economy, at no cost to taxpayers. This reform would hold negligent workers accountable for their own actions, without infringing on the rights of those who are truly injured to file a lawsuit or collect workers’ compensation.
The Let New York Work Coalition held a press conference this morning to announce more details about their efforts. This media coverage of the coalition will increase awareness of these issues and emphasize the need for change.