September 19, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
DIVERSE GROUP OF ADVOCATES RALLY BEHIND NEW FEDERAL BILL TO FIX SCAFFOLD LAW
Reform of Only-In-New York Liability Rules Crucial for Disaster Relief, Infrastructure Modernization, Low-income Housing
(Albany, NY) – The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) today joined the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), Habitat for Humanity, MWBE contractors, and other construction and business organizations to applaud Rep. John Faso (R-Kinderhook) for introducing the “Infrastructure Expansion Act of 2017.”
“Congressman Faso’s proposal is an important step in the right direction and should be a wake-up call for Governor Cuomo and the legislature,” said LRANY Executive Director Tom Stebbins, “New York’s unique Scaffold Law only benefits the personal injury trial lawyers allowing them to raid our public authorities of valuable taxpayers’ dollars. The trial lawyers lobby continues to dishonestly call this a safety law, in spite of research finding that the law actually increases the rate of worksite injuries.”
The proposed legislation would apply a “comparative negligence” standard to New York construction projects that receive federal funding. The bill would not block New York’s ability to receive federal funding. Instead, the measure would actually save taxpayers’ money by applying the legal standard found in the rest of the country to projects in New York. Currently, New York judges apply “absolute liability” to lawsuits brought under the Scaffold Law, which drives up the cost of every construction project in the state.
“It’s a shame we have to rely on the federal government to fix this legal abnormality, but something must be done to break up Albany’s cozy relationship with the trial bar,” added Stebbins.
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.