LAWSUIT REFORM ALLIANCE APPLAUDS MOVEMENT OF REP. FASO’S INFRASTRUCTURE EXPANSION ACT

LAWSUIT REFORM ALLIANCE APPLAUDS MOVEMENT OF REP. FASO’S INFRASTRUCTURE EXPANSION ACT

Committee Decision on Federal Scaffold Law Reform Bill an Important Step in Ensuring Infrastructure Dollars Go Further

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Judiciary Committee today favorably reported a bill introduced by Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) called the Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2017.

The bill, H.R. 3808 would allow any project financed with federal taxpayer dollars to utilize the same liability standard found in every other state. Currently, under a unique statute known as the ‘Scaffold Law,’ New York is the only state in the country that applies absolute liability to property owners and contractors in the event of a gravity-related work-site accident.

Tom Stebbins, the executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York celebrated the committee’s decision. “Today marks tremendous progress towards ensuring that federal infrastructure dollars are not wasted. This bill will make more infrastructure improvement possible, without compromising quality or safety,” he said.

In addition to the 75+ member Scaffold Law Reform Coalition, the bill is supported by:

  • Habitat for Humanity of New York State (Link)
  • Associated General Contractors of New York (Link)
  • New York State Association for Affordable Housing (Link)
  • New York State Conference of Mayors (Link)
  • Partnership for New York City (Link)

Learn more at www.ScaffoldLaw.org.

 

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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.

New York Post: Lawmakers square off over profitable cottage industry

LRANY executive director Tom Stebbins was quoted by the New York Post in an article about state legislation aimed at regulating the lawsuit cash advance industry:

Dilan’s proposal wouldn’t regulate the amount of interest that can be charged by the firms — unlike a pending bill that would cap rates at 16 percent, the legal limit for loans under New York civil law.

A sponsor of that bill, state Sen. Robert Ortt (R-Lockport), said he was blindsided by Dilan’s move, describing that proposal a​s a​ bogus attempt at regulation.

“In my view, that’s the industry’s bill. It’s a toothless bill,” Ortt said.

“When we talk about reform, the real gist is the rates they are charging​ — which to me is the definition of predatory lending.”

Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, also said, “Frankly, without the rate cap, the [Dilan] bill does nothing to protect consumers.”

“New York law has allowed them to be taken advantage of . . . That’s why we need to have protection,” Stebbins added.

Read the full article here.

New York Post: Ridiculous class-action lawsuits are costing you tons of money

The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York’s Adam Morey was quoted in the New York Post for an article about the costs of the class-action system and how lawyers often walk away with more than the class of plaintiffs:

A shortened Subway “footlong” is simply the result of bread baking up thicker in the oven, not less food, courts found.

“In their haste to file suit … the lawyers neglected to consider whether the claims had any merit. They did not,” Judge Lynn Adelman wrote in an August ruling tossing the planned settlement, which would have paid consumers nothing.

“The idea of a class action is to somehow protect the consumer and to make injured parties whole,” said Adam Morey of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. “That’s not happening if the majority of the money goes to the lawyers.”

Read the full article here.

 

New York Law Journal: NY Should Reform Tort Law, Group Says

LRANY executive director Tom Stebbins is quoted in a recent New York Law Journal article about a report released in December about New York’s costly tort environment:

The head of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a tort-reform business group, said the Empire Center’s report is a “catalogue of the damage decades of trial lawyer rule has done to New York’s civil justice system.”

“By simply putting New York’s rules in line with most other states we could save billions. Governor Cuomo and the Legislature should take notice of the commonsense reforms outlined in this report and put a stop to the taxpayers’ subsidy of the lawsuit industry,” said Tom Stebbins, the executive director of the alliance.

Read the full article here.

ICYMI: New York’s Costly Tort Laws and How to Fix Them

A New Report from the Empire Center on How to Fix New York’s Costly Tort Environment was Covered by the New York Post Editorial Board and LRANY Executive Director Tom Stebbins Wrote About the Report for the Progressive Policy Institute.

 

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins writes for the Progressive Policy Institute that New York has long been a battleground over civil justice issues with progressives on both sides of the issues. A recent report by the non-partisan, non-profit think tank, the Empire Center for Public Policy, shows how many of New York’s laws, though, have been bent over the years to overly favor
personal injury lawyers and their lawsuit industry.

 

The New York Post published an editorial in Sunday’s edition urging Governor Cuomo and the Legislature to “stand up to the tort bar” and enact some of the commonsense reforms recommended in the Empire Center’s report. “Wonder why New York pays through the nose for everything from health care to construction projects to auto insurance – and taxes? A new report from the Empire Center has a one-word answer: lawsuits,” the editorial says.

LRANY Executive Director’s Statement on the Empire Center’s New York Tort Liability Report

Albany, NY – “This report is a catalogue of the damage decades of trial lawyer rule has done to New York’s civil justice system. From Sheldon Silver’s ‘of counsel’ shenanigans, to courts stacked with cronies, to class action chaos – and the insanity of the Scaffold Law – this report shows how entrenched the trial lawyers’ special interests are in New York. And the report nails it on the head, by simply putting New York’s rules in line with most other states we could save billions. Governor Cuomo and the legislature should take notice of the commonsense reforms outlined in this report and put a stop to the taxpayers’ subsidy of the lawsuit industry.”

–Tom Stebbins, Executive Director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

Read the full report here.

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The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit association of businesses, healthcare providers, membership organizations, and concerned taxpayers committed to fixing New York’s broken civil justice system.

Forbes – Media Beware: ‘Shakedown’ Lawyer Suing The Industry Over Videos Without Closed Captioning

LRANY’s Tom Stebbins was recently quoted in an article in Forbes focused on a new wave in ADA lawsuit abuse.

An excerpt:

‘“We’ve seen restaurants, retailers and colleges hit with these website lawsuits,” said Tom Stebbins, the executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

“Now the same lawyers are going after the media? Filing a flurry of lawsuits to cash in on quick settlements is not going to increase access for the disabled.”

Such lawsuits have become popular in recent years as the Department of Justice has delayed formal regulations. Those regulations, which will determine how to make a website compliant with the ADA, were first announced in 2010 but won’t be issued until next year, at the earliest.’

Read Full Article

PRESS RELEASE: New York City Asbestos Court Among Top ‘Judicial Hellholes’ for Fourth Consecutive Year

December 5, 2017
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
Contact: Adam Morey
amorey@lrany.org

 

New York City Asbestos Court Among Top ‘Judicial Hellholes’ for Fourth Consecutive Year

Annual Report Focuses on Disappointing New Rules in New York’s Much Maligned Asbestos Docket

Advocates Say Bill Pending in State Legislature Will End ‘Double-dipping’

ALBANY – Today, the American Tort Reform Foundation released the latest ‘Judicial Hellholes’ report, ranking the New York City Asbestos Litigation court (NYCAL) as the #4 worst ‘hellhole’ in the nation. The 2017-18 report marks the fourth consecutive year that the “brazenly plaintiff-favoring” court has appeared near the top of the list.

New case management rules, imposed by former NYCAL presiding Justice Peter Moulton, have done nothing to solve the docket’s multitude of problems, the report argues. After so many years of covering NYCAL, the exasperated authors concede that, “rather than provide another comprehensive analysis of all the unseemly self-dealing that has long sullied NYCAL’s reputation…this year’s report – due to space limitations – will focus largely on a much anticipated and ultimately disappointing new Case Management Order (CMO).”

In addition, the report points to pending legislation introduced by state Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. John Bonacic (R-Middletown) and Assembly Member Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria). Their bill aims to solve the problem of ‘double dipping’ by plaintiffs’ attorneys in the dual compensation system, which is made up of asbestos trust funds as well as the state tort system.

New York’s legal reform group, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), which, along with a number of organizations including the Business Council of New York and the US Chamber of Commerce, signed on to an amicus brief in support of the defendants’ motion to renegotiate the CMO, agrees that while the ranking is an improvement from previous years, the court has not become any more just or fair.

LRANY Executive Director, Tom Stebbins said, “The New York City asbestos court again leads the nation as one of the most lop-sided and plaintiffs’ lawyer friendly jurisdictions. We support the defendants who filed suit to renegotiate the CMO and put an end to punitive damages and unscrupulous suppression of evidence through trust-fund ‘double dipping.’ Senator Bonacic’s bill to resolve that issue has gained support in the legislature and now has more than 30 co-sponsors throughout both houses. LRANY looks forward to seeing that bill signed into law.”

American Tort Reform Association President, Tiger Joyce said, “a much anticipated update to the court’s Case Management Order proved to be a great disappointment for defendants, as the plaintiff-favoring judge who wrote it was predictably rewarded with an appellate court appointment by a governor who acknowledges that trial lawyers are ‘the single most powerful political force’ in the state.”

The full report can be found here.

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LRANY Annual Meeting a Great Success!

The 2017 LRANY Annual Meeting, held this week at the Renaissance Hotel in Albany, NY, was a great success. The seamless day included a morning session presented by talented Goldberg Segalla attorneys, a luncheon with a fascinating keynote speech from renowned “America’s worst mom” Lenore Skenazy, and an afternoon mini-sessions on ‘Litigation in Everyday Life.’

A special thank you to our sponsors, speakers, guests, and venue – the day could not have come together so well without your support.