Guest Viewpoint: Lawsuit Expansion Would Hurt Taxpayers

An opinion editorial written by LRANY Executive Director, Thomas B. Stebbins, was run in three Gannett publications today: The Ithaca Journal, Elmira Star Gazette and The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.  The piece explains a stealthy move made by the New York State Legislature in the final hours of session to pass legislation which would increase costs to taxpayers by making it easier to sue municipalities and local governments.

Despite the rhetoric, some things in Albany never change.

In a carefully engineered 11th-hour move last week, the New York State Legislature passed a bill making it easier for plaintiffs to sue the municipalities and public entities of New York. The bill was rushed through committee and ordered directly to the floor, where it passed both houses without a single word of debate. Few legislators ever read the bill, and even fewer fully understood its impact.

The bill, innocuously titled the “Uniform Notice of Claims Act,” extends the time period for filing certain lawsuits against public entities and centralizes the filing of claims with the secretary of state.”

Read full opinion editorial.

The bill now heads to Governor Cuomo’s desk, where it must receive his signature prior to becoming law.  LRANY urges the Governor to veto the bill – if signed into law, every taxpayer in New York will end up footing the bill.

 

**Please note that when this op-ed was originally published, it did reflect an incorrect figure of over $2 billion in annual settlement and judgment claims for municipalities.  This figure has since been corrected. **

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