FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday February 14, 2017
CONTACT: Phoebe Stonbely (518)708-3578
Municipal Costs the Focus of Scaffold Law Reform Day
NYCOM Urges Lawmakers to Fix the Law
Advocates: “Cost billions and causes injuries.”
ALBANY, NY – Civil justice advocates gathered at the state capitol to urge legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo to fix the only-in-New York Scaffold Law. New Yorkers from across the state attended the annual Scaffold Law Reform Day at the Capitol to educate elected officials on the law, and highlight the law’s impact on taxpayers and local governments.
The Scaffold Law holds contractors and property owners “absolutely liable” in lawsuits for gravity-related injuries, regardless of any contributing fault of a worker. Advocates aim to reform the law to a “comparative negligence” standard, where the conduct of the employee is considered when apportioning liability, just as it is done in the rest of the United States.
“Bottom line: The Scaffold Law cost billions and causes injuries. And with our municipalities taking the hit for this outdated law, that means every taxpayer across New York pays for this gift to the trial lawyers,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, which helped organize the event. “A simple fix will help our economy and provide our local governments with critical financial relief.”
Advocates call the Scaffold Law “an issue that has been plaguing our state for way too long,” according to Stebbins. “And our municipalities are ready to see a change. A majority of New York counties – 36 to date– have passed a resolution in support of Scaffold Law reform, a true signal we need to fix this unfair law.”
NYCOM’s Executive Director, Peter Baynes, agreed with this sentiment saying, “Municipalities are essentially very large property owners, and as such, are faced with widespread liability for accidents that occur on worksites often beyond their supervision. As a result, municipalities and local governments are faced with signiﬁcantly higher construction costs, which are passed on to the taxpayer.”
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