Citing Concern Over Lawsuits, Governor Vetoes “Kovacs Law”

On December 17th, Governor Cuomo vetoed “Steven Kovacs Law,” a bill which would have imposed liability on the host of a gathering in a private home to render reasonable assistance to a guest suffering from a medical emergency. Certainly, the measure was well intentioned; Steven Kovacs, the young man for whom the law was named, died of drug overdose at a party after nobody called an ambulance.

But, as LRANY has pointed out, the law was poorly conceived. In vetoing the bill, the governor expressed concerns that the bill would put homeowners at great risk of being sued, and that the threat of a lawsuit would be ineffective to spur people to act.

This makes sense. Would someone so craven and irresponsible as to stand idly by while friend lies injured or dying change their mind for fear of a lawsuit? New York already protects “good Samaritans” who provide assistance to those in need – must we now also add the threat of being sued for inaction?

LRANY applauds Governor Cuomo for vetoing this bill after careful consideration. We are encouraged to see our highest elected official rebuff the misbegotten notion that civil liability is the solution to all ills. Surely we must ensure that those in need of medical attention receive it, but piling on more lawsuits is not the cure.

You can read the full veto message here

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