Silver Conviction Overturned – Statement from LRANY Executive Director

July 13, 2017
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely



“If using public money to buy lucrative clients for your law firm is not corruption then I don’t know what is. Sheldon Silver presided over one of the most corrupt state governments in history, bought and paid for by trial lawyer special interests. And New York is still recovering. Mr. Silver used his office to enrich himself – to the tune of $5 million – not serve the people of New York. With this devastating decision, the judge has signaled that government is for sale and has likely opened the flood gates to more corruption.”

-Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York



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.

Civil Justice Advocate Urges Governor Cuomo to Sign Legislation That Will Limit Liability for Agricultural Tourism

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 11, 2017**
Contact: Adam Morey

Civil Justice Advocate Urges Governor Cuomo to Sign Legislation That Will Limit Liability for Agricultural Tourism

“New York’s farmers should not forego the economic benefits of agricultural tourism and education for our children due to fear of being sued”

(Albany, NY) –Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York sent a letter today urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign legislation that will protect the state’s agricultural tourism industry from certain types of liability.

“Agricultural tourism represents an important revenue opportunity for entrepreneurial farmers—especially in struggling Upstate economies—but many have had to give up these opportunities due to the prohibitive cost of insurance,” wrote Stebbins.

“Many farms offer educational programs for children that promote respect for the environment and healthy eating habits. New York’s farmers should not forego the economic benefits of agricultural tourism and education for our children due to fear of being sued,” he continued.

Once signed into law, the bill, sponsored by Senator Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Saratoga), will control rising insurance premiums by offering farms, equine establishments, wineries, and pick-your-own orchards liability relief when it comes to the inherent risks of agricultural tourism.

As Stebbins’ letter notes, “The bill does not offer farmers immunity from liability; rather, it provides clarity for farm owners as well as the public concerning responsible engagement in agricultural activities.”

With support from the Business Council of New York State, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, New York State Horse Council, and New York Farm Bureau, the bill passed both houses of the Legislature at the end of session in June.


New York Post — Lawyers Cash in on Suits Demanding ADA-Compliant Web Sites

In New York, 14 retailers have been sued in the past 13 days. The New York Post has published an article discussing these website access lawsuits claiming violation of the ADA. This is the latest trend of litigation abuse using the ADA. LRANY’s Tom Stebbins was quoted in the piece.

An excerpt:

“Retailers across the country are getting slammed for operating Web sites that discriminate against the blind or visually impaired.

Businesses in New York and California appear to be getting hit the hardest, legal experts said.

‘These are cut-and-paste lawsuits that are not about accessibility but about making money,’ according to Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.

Meanwhile, Washington has yet to clarify the 1990, pre-internet law — and experts don’t expect a revised rule until 2018.

‘We are worried that New York will become worse than California, which has a $1 billion problem in these lawsuits,’ Stebbins said.”

Read full article here

Albany Times Union — Supporters Wrong About Sex Abuse Statute Change

The Albany Times Union has published a letter this week written by LRANY’s Executive Director. This letter discusses a difficult matter where current proposed legislation is only a solution looking for a problem.

An excerpt:

“In Chris Churchill’s column, ‘Two moments illustrate one sorry disconnect,’ June 25, he suggests that retroactively eliminating the civil statute of limitations for sexual abuse is “about protecting children.” That may be what advocates claim but, unfortunately, that is not what the proposal would do.

The bill would create a one year ‘reviver window’ to file previously time-barred civil claims, not criminal charges. New York has already eliminated the statute of limitations for most felony sex crimes, a reform that may actually have value in getting these monsters off the street. Civil cases would have no such value, as the target is usually the institution, not the offender. In fact, after enactment of similar legislation in California, 336 claims against the state’s largest Catholic dioceses alleged abuse by deceased people.”

Read full letter here

Elmira Star-Gazette — Scaffold Law in Need of Reform

The Elmira Star-Gazette recently published a letter written by LRANY’s Executive Director. This piece is in response to an article which failed to mention the trial lawyers as the primary opposition to Scaffold Law law reform.

An excerpt:

“The Elmira Star-Gazette, Ithaca Journal and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle are right to identify the “Scaffold Law” as one of the primary regulations that makes New York so hostile to business (“Why is it so costly to do business in NY? Here are four hurdles,” June 7). The law, which only exists in New York, holds contractors and property owners liable for injuries even if they had nothing to do with the accident.

However, the paper inaccurately identifies labor unions as the primary force that opposes Scaffold Law reform. It comes as no surprise that those who profit from injuries are most opposed to fixing this costly law: the personal injury trial lawyers.”

Read full letter here

New York Post —There’s No Actual Veggies in ‘Veggie Straws’: Suit

As the courtroom food fights continue, the New York Post published an article this week showcasing the latest suit against a maker of Veggie Straws for not containing any Veggies. LRANY’s Tom Stebbins was quoted in this article.

An excerpt:

“Two snack-loving men have sued Hain Celestial Group after discovering there are no actual vegetables in the company’s popular Garden Veggie Straws.

The snack food, which claims to have 30 percent less fat than potato chips, comes in bags with photos of spinach, a tomato and a potato on the front.

‘These courtroom food fights are not about consumer protection,” said Tom Stebbins, executive director, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, adding that the Hain suit is “just another absurd cash grab by money-hungry trial lawyers.'”

Read full article here

Legal NewsLine — Visually Impaired Plaintiff Says Online Glasses Retailer’s Website Violates ADA

The internet-based newswire – Legal NewsLine published an article this week exposing a recent lawsuit against a Glasses retailer, this lawsuit came from a visually impaired individual claiming the site violated the ADA as it was not accessible. This is a growing issue we are seeing across the country as plaintiff’s lawyers see this as a quick and easy cash grab. LRANY’s Tom Stebbins was quoted in this piece.

An excerpt:

“A prospective federal class action lawsuit filed in New York City last week claims a retailer of online glasses violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York laws by not providing proper website access for the visually-impaired.

Lawrence Young, of The Bronx, N.Y., brought the suit on behalf of himself and all other persons similarly situated versus Warby Parker Retail, Inc. and JAND, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 28.

‘Justice may be blind, but the lawyers in this lawsuit have eyes for only one thing: money. Congress passed the ADA to provide disabled Americans with access, not provide personal injury lawyers with a new revenue stream. This lawsuit is an affront to justice, the ADA, and the disabled,’ Stebbins said.”

 Read full article here

LRANY’s Phoebe Stonbely Named 40 Under 40 Rising Star

We are proud to announce that LRANY’s Phoebe Stonbely was named one of City & State’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars for the Class of 2017. Phoebe was chosen alongside renowned Albany professionals and elected officials. This recognition marks the fourth LRANY employee to be named for this honor.

As a founding member of LRANY, over the last seven years Phoebe has been an integral part of the organizations growth and success. She has taken on many roles within the organization – including operations, press relations, event planning, social media management, amongst others.

We would like to congratulate Ms. Stonbely on this well-deserved acknowledgement, for her hard work and dedication to LRANY.

See full write up here

Another Successful Event in the Books!

Yesterday, LRANY held our annual Asbestos Litigation event in New York City. The event ran seamlessly and we had an impressive group of attendees who heard presentations from renowned professionals in the industry. LRANY is proud to host this important and educational gathering each year. With your support, we will continue to find new approaches and solutions for asbestos litigation in New York and beyond.

We could not continue to have such successful events without the support from our sponsors, speakers, and attendees. Thank you!