As New York State’s cities and towns struggle under the burden of rising costs, last night, just hours before the end of the legislative session, the Legislature passed a law making it easier for plaintiffs to sue municipalities and public entities. Rather than provide municipalities with promised mandate relief, both houses of the legislature passed the “Uniform Notice of Claims Act,” a bill which aims to streamline the process to sue cities and towns.
“This is a step in the wrong direction for New York. Ultimately, New York taxpayers will have to foot the bill for these new lawsuits,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. Stebbins was not surprised by the bill, saying, “The Trial Lawyer Lobby was the third largest political contributor in the state in 2011, it is tough for municipalities and public institutions to compete against that.”
The bill extends the amount of time plaintiffs have to file cases against municipalities and centralizes the filing of lawsuits with the Secretary of State.