Times Union: Lawsuit alleges StarKist misled consumers about AHA mark

LRANY’s Tom Stebbins was quoted in a story in the Times Union about a lawsuit filed against canned-tuna company Starkist for its use of the American Heart Association’s logo:

In court documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in Albany, Abraham Jacob Warner said he bought StarKist tuna products as recently as February because of an American Heart Association logo displayed on the cans. The Walker Valley resident said he thought the heart check mark indicated the products were a healthier choice than cans without the logo.

Warner is asking the judge to award $50 to each class member or their actual damages, depending on which is greater, “an increase in the award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to one thousand dollars,” and lawyer fees and costs.

Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, said the complaint highlights the need for change in how the state handles these types of lawsuits.

“Would a reasonable consumer feel they were injured because the company paid administrative fees for use of the American Heart Association Check-Mark logo? And for that matter, would a whole class of consumers feel that way? Something fishy is going on here,” he said in an emailed statement.

New York Post: Brew-haha

The New York Post published a letter from LRANY’s Adam Morey on Sunday, April 8, 2018:

Brew-haha

The Post is correct that your daily coffee is still safe to consume, despite a judge’s ruling that coffee shops in California must display cancer warnings (“Don’t Fear the Java,” Editorial, April 3).

But this is more than a dubious decision from a crazy California courtroom: It represents a victory for the profiteering lawyers who brought the lawsuit.

Scientists disagree whether the chemical in question is a carcinogen, but a California-only law encourages lawyers to sue despite scientific uncertainty.

Such a law should worry New Yorkers. Gov. Cuomo has said the plaintiffs’ bar is “the most powerful political force in Albany.”

Perhaps it is time for legislators to rebuke the lawyers lobby, lest New York end up like California, where trial lawyers and warning-label crusaders have confined the state to its own alternate universe.

Adam Morey, Public Affairs Manager, Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, Albany

 

Journal News/LoHud.com: Frivolous American with Disabilities Act lawsuits ‘surge’ in NY, report claims

The Journal News/LoHud.com covered a report released last week by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York that details the increase in abusive lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act:

New York has seen a spike in “meritless and dubious” federal lawsuits filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a report filed by a legal reform group claims.

Titled “Serial Plaintiffs,” the 11-page report by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York maintains that, while well-meaning, the law can be exploited by attorneys seeking hefty settlements, in some cases using “boilerplate” lawsuits. 

More recently, there has been a spike in lawsuits accusing company websites as being in violation of ADA, a symptom of unclear language in the law that requires updating, according to the report. 

The full story can be found here.

LRANY Slams NYPIRG Physician Report

docFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (Albany, NY) – Today, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), a non-partisan nonprofit advocacy group focused on state-level lawsuit reform, released a report entitled: “The Doctor is in…Another State: How NYPIRG’s Physician Supply Report Misses the Mark.” The report highlights serious flaws in the New York Public Interest Group’s (NYPIRG) recent report “The Doctor Is In: New York State’s Increasing Number of Physicians,” which claimed that no physician shortage exists in New York, and that high medical malpractice rates do not affect physician supply.

The first glaring flaw, LRANY contends, is that the report presents only the current per capita number of physicians, and fails to account for long-term trends. LRANY analyzed physician supply data for 50 states between 2008 and 2012, and found that total physician supply increased in nearly all states. The national average per capita growth in total physician supply was 6.04 per 100,000, yet New York’s per capita supply grew by only 2.3 per 100,000, barely one third the national average. Thirty-seven states performed better than New York, including states that have enacted key tort reforms such as Texas, California, Wisconsin, and Florida.

Tom Stebbins, LRANY’s Executive Director, said “NYPIRG is clearly trying to manipulate the numbers to support their political agenda – which is closely aligned with the personal injury trial lawyer lobby.”

The LRANY report also highlights that NYPRIG’s claim that there is no physician shortage in New York is unsupported by the underlying data, which shows only that physician supply has increased in New York. NYPRIG’s claim that this demonstrates that no physician shortage exists is invalid because it does not also account for the total need for physicians, which has increased at a greater rate. LRANY points out that excluding New York City, the Healthcare Association of New York (HANYS) recently estimated New York’s total physician shortage to be over 1,000. Seventy-five percent of hospitals surveyed by HANYS reported that the recruitment of primary care physicians was very difficult due to shortages, while 87% indicated that their ability to recruit physicians was the same or worse than the previous year.

Lastly, the group notes that the NYPIRG report is critically flawed because it claims there is little evidence that our state’s high medical liability premiums are impacting the number of physicians that practice in New York. Said Stebbins, “Of course NYPIRG didn’t find a connection between high liability insurance rates and doctors leaving our state – they didn’t bother to ask the doctors.” Stebbins pointed to the case of Dr. Wendy Villalobos, an OB-GYN who formerly practiced in the Bronx. “Her premiums were $186,000 each year. When she moved to Texas, which enacted comprehensive lawsuit reform in 2003, her premiums fell to just 20% what they were in New York.” Stebbins also highlighted a recent survey by the American Medical Group Association which found that financial considerations top the list of reasons that physicians relocate.

“The bottom line,” said Stebbins, “is that high medical liability premiums driven by our out-of-control legal system are hindering New York’s ability to attract and retain qualified physicians.”

The full report can be accessed here.

LRANY Responds to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address

Statement from Francesca Sommer, Executive Director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York

[hr]

“Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address today pointed to a number of areas which need to be addressed to help turn around our economy and restore people’s faith in New York.

Unfortunately, ignoring the need to reform our antiquated and burdensome lawsuit system will severely restrict our ability to rebuild New York.

With a lawsuit system ranked by Pacific Research institute (PRI) as the third worst in the nation adding layers and layers of costs to municipal governments, businesses, farmers and health care providers it is no wonder that we are faced with higher taxes, lost jobs and higher priced and less available health care.

Governor Cuomo, one thing is very clear: Real reform of New York must also include lawsuit reform.

The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York has a nine-point platform to help reform our lawsuit system and get our economy jumpstarted.  The PRI study found that lawsuit reform in New York would create 86,000 new jobs for each reform or create more than 720,000 jobs total for all nine reforms; raise production of goods and services by $17 billion, increase annual tax revenues by over a billion dollars, and reduce health care costs by $11.4 billion per year.

Information about our plan is available at www.NineWaysToFixNewYork.com.

We look forward to working with Governor Cuomo and the leadership of both sides of the legislature to implement these crucial reforms.

[hr]

The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a broad based coalition of hardworking New York business leaders, health care professionals, local government leaders and consumers who are committed to changing New York’s burdensome and expensive legal system to help create more jobs and energize our State’s economy.

Great Articles!

We’re thrilled that even more people are paying attention to our efforts to reform New York’s antiquated lawsuit system.  Click here to see an “advertorial” which recently ran in The Capitol magazine and click here to see a column which ran in the Albany Times Union.

There’s more big news coming about our organization.  Stay tuned!

New Study: Tort Reform Necessary to Cutting Health Care Costs

A trade group representing medical professional liability insurance companies pointed to a new study indicating that physicians practicing defense medicine cost the U.S. health system $45 billion annually.

The Physician Insurers Association of America said the study in the September 2010 issue of Health Affairs also found that total costs related to medical liability account for more than $55 billion, and the practice of defense medicine constituted 80 percent of that cost.

Click here to see the full article.

NY Post Editorial: “It will be a wonder if New Yorkers manage to keep any of their money away from the trial lawyers.”

Today’s New York Post editorial.  We couldn’t agree more.

Yes. It Really Is This Bad.

Those of us who work in and around the State Capital are often asked if the media reports and our whining are really exagerations.  As today’s (June 18, 2010) New York Post’s editorial points out, it really is that bad.  In a State without a budget and without a plan to pay its bills in the future, New York’s leaders are looking for a way to give more money to the personal injury trial lawyers.

Click here to see the article.

Lawsuit Reform STILL Not on the Table

Here’s an article from Crain’s New York Business which points to the fact that Governor’s proposals to fix the medical malpractice program still don’t include tort reform.