Governing: Municipalities Spend Millions of Dollars a Year on Settlements and Claims From Citizens.

This week, Governing magazine release a report that found New York City to have the highest legal pay outs in the nation, in fact higher then the 19 other cities review combined.


“Claims and lawsuits are an everyday occurrence in the Big Apple, where about 9,500 cases were filed against the city last fiscal year. In all, New York paid out $720 million in judgments and claims in fiscal 2016, which amounts to about $84 per resident,” Governing reporter Mike Maciag says of the findings.

“Then there are things like the “scaffold law,” which holds contractors and property owners 100 percent liable when workers fall from ladders or scaffolds at construction sites. New York is the lone remaining state with such a law on the books, and it can significantly raise costs. Consider bridge projects that span from New York to New Jersey: According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, total claim amounts between 2002 and 2012 were more than twice as high on the New York side.

‘We have the most permissive courts in the nation, and it’s not even close,’ says Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. The state, home to the most lawyers per capita, has resisted legislative proposals to modify its tort laws. Many people attribute that to the influence of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, a group that Gov. Andrew Cuomo once called the ‘single most powerful political force in Albany.'”

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