Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins on Governor Hochul

“Today is truly a historic day for the Empire State. New leadership signals a new day for the political environment in Albany and around New York. I want to congratulate Governor Hochul and look forward to working with her office on fixing New York’s notorious civil litigation landscape. As she works to reform politics as usual in Albany, I hope she keeps in mind the importance of ensuring a fair and equitable civil justice system, devoid of the outsized influence of New York’s powerful trial lawyer lobby. Governor Hochul is a leader with immense talent and the right person to lead the state at this crucial moment in our state and nation’s history,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins on Proposed Antitrust Legislation

“Over the past year, we’ve relied on breakthroughs in the biopharmaceutical industry to bring life-saving vaccines to market and tech companies to supply the infrastructure to keep everyone connected. These platforms were also transformative in elevating the voices of underrepresented communities in conversations surrounding crucial criminal justice reforms. New York is supposed to be a global leader in technology, finance, and medicine. Lawmakers should be working to cultivate an innovative ecosystem, not champion that it be sued out of existence.”

You are Invited! Join us for the 2021 LRANY Annual Meeting!

As in years past, the 2021 LRANY Annual Meeting will feature a CLE, and various speakers, an awards ceremony, and an update from our Executive Director, Tom Stebbins. Draft agenda to follow! Sponsorship opportunities are available, please contact Kate Hobday at khobday@lrany.org to learn more! We look forward to seeing you!

 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins on Baltimore Climate Battle

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court should finally put a stop to efforts by municipalities to create climate policy through litigation. By deciding to provide a full appellate review of the jurisdictional issues in this and similar cases, the Court has affirmed the repeated findings of federal courts that ad hoc court rulings are not the right way to address issues related to climate change. Efforts by the City of Baltimore and other communities to legislate on climate change through litigation undermine governmental and institutional efforts to create real climate solutions through innovation and collaboration. Instead, communities must work in tandem with government and the private sector to form actionable strategies that address environmental challenges.”

Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance Of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins On Mayor De Blasio’s Earth Day Lawsuit

“Mayor de Blasio and his friends at the trial bar are at it again. Just weeks after the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit tossed his administration’s climate change lawsuit de Blasio has hired a new set of money-chasing attorneys to once again sue energy companies.

Not only is this lawsuit likely to replay the fate of the last, the scrambled legal strategy also calls to mind the politically motivated and ultimately failed investigation and litigation launched against Exxon Mobil by disgraced ex-NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

This latest lawsuit is just another posturing ploy engineered by profit-hungry plaintiffs’ lawyers looking for the next litigation jackpot. If Mayor de Blasio is serious about action on climate change, his administration should focus on advancing innovative solutions in New York City.  That action would have far greater effects on reducing our carbon footprint than frivolous lawsuits that the courts in New York have already dismissed three times.”

Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins on Baltimore Climate Battle

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court should finally put a stop to efforts by municipalities to create climate policy through litigation. By deciding to provide a full appellate review of the jurisdictional issues in this and similar cases, the Court has affirmed the repeated findings of federal courts that ad hoc court rulings are not the right way to address issues related to climate change. Efforts by the City of Baltimore and other communities to legislate on climate change through litigation undermine governmental and institutional efforts to create real climate solutions through innovation and collaboration. Instead, communities must work in tandem with government and the private sector to form actionable strategies that address environmental challenges.

Statement From Lawsuit Reform Alliance Of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins On Mayor De Blasio’s Earth Day Lawsuit

“Mayor de Blasio and his friends at the trial bar are at it again. Just weeks after the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit tossed his administration’s climate change lawsuit de Blasio has hired a new set of money-chasing attorneys to once again sue energy companies.

Not only is this lawsuit likely to replay the fate of the last, the scrambled legal strategy also calls to mind the politically motivated and ultimately failed investigation and litigation launched against Exxon Mobil by disgraced ex-NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

This latest lawsuit is just another posturing ploy engineered by profit-hungry plaintiffs’ lawyers looking for the next litigation jackpot. If Mayor de Blasio is serious about action on climate change, his administration should focus on advancing innovative solutions in New York City.  That action would have far greater effects on reducing our carbon footprint than frivolous lawsuits that the courts in New York have already dismissed three times.”

LRANY’s 2019 Annual Meeting!

The 2019 LRANY Annual Meeting, held earlier this month at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Albany, NY, was a successful day! The day included a morning session presented by the talented Phil Goldberg, Special Counsel to the Manufacturer’s Accountability Project and Managing Partner at Shook Hardy & Bacon, a luncheon with an LRANY update by Executive Director, Tom Stebbins, and afternoon mini-sessions with Ted Frank, Director of Litigation at the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute & Center for Class Action Fairness, a Scaffold Law update by Jason Cintron, Co-Managing Director of the The Minority & Women Contractors & Developers Association and Liz Benjamin of Marathon Strategies and former Capital Tonight Host rounded out the day, presenting One Party Rule: A Brave New Albany or Business as Usual? It was an engaging and educational day!

A special thank you to our sponsors, speakers, and guests – these events could not take place without your support!

News10NBC: One man, 18 months, 124 ADA lawsuits over websites

GENEVA, N.Y. (WHEC) — On Monday, one of the most exclusive wineries in the Finger Lakes got sued because of its website.

The person suing Belhurst Estate Winery in Geneva is also suing 124 other places, and it’s all because of their websites. 

The plaintiff’s name is Thomas Olsen. He is blind and lives in Brooklyn. 

The lawsuit says the winery’s website isn’t set up to let Olsen use his technology and read the website and therefore it stops him “from visiting defendants’ hotel.”

News10NBC found out the plaintiffs and their lawyers target one industry after another. 

It started with suing art galleries because their websites violated the terms of the Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Then colleges and universities got hit. Nazareth College, RIT and almost 50 other schools got sued. 

And now, it looks like the next target is the restaurant industry. 

“First it asks me if I’m 21 or older,” said John Urlaub, owner of Rohrbach Brewery. 

He says when he heard about this trend of suing over websites last year, he contacted his web provider. 

John Urlaub, Rohrbach Brewery owner: “We went to them right away and said, ‘whatever it takes please get us in compliance.'”

Federal records show, since January of 2018, Mr. Olsen has filed 124 lawsuits just like this. 

His lawyers’ firm have filed more than 400. 

Tom Stebbins, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York: “And one thing we’ve seen is so many of these seem to be lawyer-driven. They’re not driven necessarily to provide access. They’re driven to get money for the lawyers.”

View the full story here.

Crain’s: One reason health insurance costs are up: Albany loves lawsuits

LRANY’s Tom Stebbins had a letter to the editor published in Crain’s New York Business this week:

As New York health insurers request higher rates (“Health insurers request 8.4% average rate hike”), New Yorkers should be aware that the price of medical professional liability insurance is a hidden driver of these costs. For certain specialties, including OBGYNs medical liability insurance costs are the highest in the country, and sadly, legislators in Albany are on the cusp of making it much worse.

New York already has the highest medical liability payouts per capita and highest total of such payouts in the country, an amount which totaled $685.3 million in 2018. Not surprisingly, New York was ranked this year as the worst state for doctors to practice, with professional liability insurance costs listed as a contributing factor.

The state’s pro-lawsuit statutes, driven by the personal injury bar’s influence in Albany, are the prime culprit. The lawyer-lobby has successfully convinced lawmakers to resist reforming the state’s standards for expert evidence, and recently pushed them to lift the statute of limitations in certain cases. And now, at the behest of this powerful special interest, the State Legislature is advancing another bill which would allow for subjective pain and suffering payouts in medical cases involving wrongful death claims. An analysis from actuarial firm Milliman Inc. found that medical liability premiums will increase by 47% if this bill is enacted.

Read the full letter here.