December 15, 2016
*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
New York City Asbestos Court Among Top ‘Judicial Hellholes’ For Third Consecutive Year
Annual Report Remains Critical of the Big Apple’s Mass Tort Docket
Despite Improved Ranking, Civil Justice Advocates Say “Things Have Only Gotten Worse”
ALBANY – Today, the American Tort Reform Foundation issued its latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ report, ranking the New York City Asbestos Litigation court (NYCAL) as the 3rd worst ‘hellhole’ in the nation. The 2016-17 report marks the third consecutive year that the “anything but fair” court has appeared near the top of the list.
Despite sliding from the #1 position in 2014 to #2 in 2015 – and now #3 – the report’s authors and local legal reform advocates say the change does not indicate greater fairness or transparency in the notorious New York court.
According to the report: “no one should interpret this year’s third-place ‘Judicial Hellholes’ ranking for NYCAL to mean that anything has improved there since it was ranked #1 two years ago. To the contrary, things have only gotten worse. And were it not for monumentally egregious civil court imbalances in Missouri and California, NYCAL could well have earned another top ranking this year.”
New York’s own civil justice advocate, Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Albany-based Lawsuit Reform Alliance, agrees that while the ranking is an improvement from previous years, there is no cause for optimism.
“New York’s approach to asbestos litigation is no better than it was at the release of last year’s rankings. In fact, a recent Court of Appeals decision expanded asbestos liability to companies that neither manufactured or sold asbestos. And despite evidence of fraud, there is still no enforceable trust disclosure rule to keep unscrupulous lawyers from gaming the system,” he said.
The report’s authors agree with Mr. Stebbins and refer to the recent Court of Appeals decision as “perhaps the most permissive of any court on the subject.”
*** Additional information and quotations available upon request***
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.