FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Court: Scaffold Law Applies to 1ft Fall



April 14, 2016
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely

Court: Scaffold Law Applies to 1ft Fall

Reformers say ‘new low’ highlights need for reform

(ALBANY, NY) – Advocates for reform of New York’s controversial ‘Scaffold Law’ are calling a recent decision applying the law to a 1ft ‘fall’ an example of how expansive and onerous the law has become. The decision, entered at the end of March in Manhattan Supreme Court by Judge Anil Singh, granted judgement in favor of the plaintiff for a fall from just “12-18 inches” – a height at which experts say no scaffold or safety device could have protected the worker from falling. “This ruling shows that essentially nothing can be done to avoid a claim under this ridiculous statute,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, “it also shows that the law is not about safety, but about liability and lawsuits that protects nothing other than trial lawyer’s profits.”

The Scaffold Law Reform Coalition – which has members from around the state including Habitat for Humanity, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, the New York Conference of Mayors, and the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership – has strongly advocated for reform of the law for years. The Scaffold Law holds property owners and contractors absolutely liable in a lawsuit for elevation related construction injuries, regardless of the fault of the worker. The group, who claims the current law is draining our state financially, seeks to add comparative negligence to the statute so negligence is attributed proportional to fault. According to researchers at the Rockefeller Institute of Government the law costs taxpayers $785 million per year.

A copy of the court decision can be found here.


The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit association of businesses, professionals, healthcare providers, membership organizations, taxpayers, and concerned citizens committed to changing New York’s legal system to help create jobs and energize our economy.

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