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Collette McLafferty Maintains Strength in Fight Against Abusive Lawsuit

collette speaking lrany 2Collette McLafferty, the professional singer who was sued for $10 million back in 2014 for being “too unattractive” for a P!nk tribute band, has not given up her fight. The lawsuit abuse victim turned lawsuit reform advocate continues to combat this frivolous lawsuit while simultaneously pushing for legislation to minimize abusive lawsuits.

From the beginning of her battle, Collette has been determined to keep her story in the press to help educate others about her lawsuit and New York’s broken civil justice system. Just this week, she earned recognition in The Huffington Post, with an article by a HuffPo writer who also works with Funded Justice.

After hearing Collette’s story, LRANY developed ‘Collette’s Law,’ legislation that takes aim at frivolous lawsuits by requiring those who file meritless actions to pay the other party’s legal costs, as well as increasing sanctions for those who file frivolous lawsuits.

While many lawsuit abuse victims settle, Collette is fighting. Unfortunately despite the obvious meritless nature of this lawsuit, Collette has incurred thousands of dollars in legal costs. She is currently raising money to cover the remaining $3,500 in legal costs through Funded Justice, a crowdfunding group that helps anyone with a legal issue who needs money to hire an attorney.

In a video, which can be found on her campaign page, Collette titles these funds “a contribution to ending the culture of frivolous lawsuits in New York.” LRANY has been honored to work with Collette over the last few years and to have found such a strong advocate for change. We encourage you to take a look at her campaign page and show your support.

See her campaign page with a video here

See The Huffington Post article here

Write a message to your elected official to support Collette’s Law here

STATEMENT: Response to the Cuomo, Schneiderman Litigation Risk Partnership from LRANY Executive Director

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November 19, 2015

Response to the Cuomo, Schneiderman Litigation Risk Partnership from Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York Executive Director Tom Stebbins

“We are thrilled that the Governor and Attorney General both recognize the runaway costs of litigation against New York State, our schools, and our municipalities, but New York needs to do more than asses risk, we need to address it. Studies have shown that our municipalities pay over a billion dollars in lawsuits costs every year. New York City alone spends more on lawsuit settlements than on parks, libraries, and aging combined – over $700 million according to reports from the NYC comptroller.

Governor Cuomo is uniquely positioned to target the sources of these costs by spearheading common sense reform of laws like the Scaffold Law, which estimates suggest cost our public institutions $785m annually. The Governor could also push reform of our so-called ‘joint and several’ laws which encourage litigants to ‘sue everybody’ but most often affect our state and municipalities. We commend the Governor and AG for recognizing the problems, but now is the time to focus on the solutions.”

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

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Contact: Phoebe Stonbely | PStonbely@lrany.org | 518.512.5265

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.

See Press Release from the Governor’s Office on the Partnership for Litigation Risk Reduction Here

Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month, October 2015: NYC Aunt Sues Her Own Nephew

This month, LRANY’s Phoebe Stonbely will discuss a lawsuit that gained public outrage as soon as it hit the press. Earlier this month, the news that a NYC aunt was suing her own nephew for an overzealous hug at his 8th birthday party began to take over headlines.

Jennifer Connell brought the case against her nephew in Connecticut court seeking $127,000 for medical expenses relating to a broken wrist caused by the “forceful greeting” which occurred 4 yrs ago.

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Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month September 2015: “Greatest Man in History” Sues NYPD

This month Phoebe Stonbely will discuss a lawsuit featuring a man from Brooklyn who is the self-proclaimed “greatest man in history”.

Tommy Adams who claims to be a well-known athlete, author and scientist who has predicted hurricanes and saved people from a burning building is seeking $6M from the NYPD. Claiming that the seven arrests for public urination he racked up over the last 8 years were unjust.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Singer Sued for $10M, Accused of being “Ugly and Untalented,” Rejects Settlement Offer and Gag Order, Vows to Fight for Meaningful Legal Reform

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For Immediate Release
September 16, 2015
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
pstonbely@lrany.org
518.512.5265

Singer Sued for $10M, Accused of being “Ugly and Untalented,” Rejects Settlement Offer and Gag Order, Vows to Fight for Meaningful Legal Reform

(ALBANY, NY) – Collette McLafferty’s life was turned upside down in 2014 when the singer and songwriter was served with a $10 million lawsuit which accused her of being “ugly and untalented” by a person whom she had never met, stemming from a job she accepted in a P!NK tribute band. McLafferty says the one hundred and twelve page lawsuit, and the corresponding international press coverage, left her “numb” and “traumatized.”

Facing untold legal fees to defend herself against absurd claims, Collette turned to the internet. While internet commenters are notoriously cruel, Collette’s story evinced great sympathy from internet users the around the world. Bloggers and writers came to her defense, and turned their sights on the plaintiff who filed the $10 million case, Charles Bonfante.

Now the tables have turned. Under international criticism, Bonfante, a personal injury lawyer who is representing himself, recently offered to drop his lawsuit and actually pay Collette “half her legal fees.” But McLafferty refuses to give in, “Nobody should ever have to go through what I’ve been through. This situation has humiliated me publicly, damaged my reputation, my career, my livelihood. This is harassment, legalized extortion plain and simple,” she said.

McLafferty has teamed up with the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a nonprofit, nonpartisan legal reform advocacy organization to draft “Collette’s Law.” The draft legislation takes aim at frivolous lawsuits by requiring those who file meritless actions to pay the other party’s legal costs, as well as increasing sanctions for plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits.

Tom Stebbins, Executive Director for the Alliance, stressed the need for systemic changes, “Sadly, Collette’s case is far from an isolated incident. You are more likely to get sued in New York than just about anywhere else in the world, thanks to our plaintiff-friendly laws, ineffective attorney discipline systems, and powerful trial lawyer special interest lobby.”

McLafferty is urging state lawmakers to introduce Collette’s Law and pass meaningful lawsuit reform. “My case shows just how broken our legal system really is. We need real, fundamental, reform to put an end to lawsuit abuse.”

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Watch Collette tell her story at http://youtu.be/Gf4fsrK3X8o

For more information, please contact Phoebe Stonbely at 518-512-5265 or pstonbely@LRANY.org.

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.

View PDF Release

NYDN EXCLUSIVE: Hundreds of Workers’ Compensation Suits Filed in Bronx Could Clog Courts, Advocates Say

Law school Gavel Books ScalesThe New York Daily News recently published an exclusive featuring commentary from LRANY’s Executive Director, Tom Stebbins.  The article focused on the hundreds of workers’ compensation suits have been filed in the Bronx that could clog the courts.

An excerpt:

“‘If successful, this would unleash legal Armageddon,’ Tom Stebbins of the watchdog group Lawsuit Reform Alliance said of the slew of cases a Bronx judge is now weighing whether to keep on the borough’s Civil Court docket.

The lawyers who filed the suits, from the firm Lewin & Baglio, claim medical providers have been stymied within the State Workers’ Compensation Board following a 2007 tweak to state law allowed such companies to bill insurance firms directly — slowing down payments. All of the suits seek less than $25,000 in damages.

“The door to recovery for pharmacies and durable medical providers has been locked for too long,” Lewin told the Daily News.

Aghast insurance firms and legal watchdogs feel the cases should be resolved by the Workers’ Compensation Board and have no place before a Bronx jury. The cases are ‘frivolous,’ Stebbins said.”

Read Full Article

For Immediate Release: Lawsuit Reform Alliance Estimates $200m in Additional Costs for LaGuardia Airport Project Due to the ‘Scaffold Law’

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For Immediate Release
July 30, 2015
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
pstonbely@lrany.org
518.512.5265

Lawsuit Reform Alliance Estimates $200m in Additional Costs for LaGuardia Airport Project Due to the ‘Scaffold Law’
Infrastructure projects across the state costs more because of only-in-New York law

(Albany, NY) – The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a non-profit, nonpartisan group dedicated to legal reform, says that a 100-year old state law will add about $200m in additional costs to the recently announced LaGuardia Airport rebuild. The law, commonly known as the “Scaffold Law,” exists only in New York and holds contractors and property owners absolutely, 100% liable in lawsuits for construction injuries, regardless of any contributing fault of a the worker.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo and Vice President Biden for investing in our state’s infrastructure, but unless the Scaffold Law is reformed, much of that money will be wasted,” said Tom Stebbins, the group’s executive director. “In this case, the City owns the land, so according to the Scaffold Law, the City and the Port Authority would potentially be liable for any claims — claims that might not be valid in any other state.”

Citing estimates from national contractors, the group conservatively estimates that approximately 5% of the LaGuardia project’s total cost will be spent on lawsuit claims driven by the Scaffold Law. Said Stebbins, “LaGuardia is just one project. In 2014, the New York City School Construction Authority spent an additional $215 million on insurance because of the Scaffold Law – enough to build 2-3 new schools. Statewide, the cost to municipalities is estimated to be $785 million.”

Stebbins noted that the Port Authority, which currently operates LaGuardia Airport, is already well aware of the costs of the Scaffold Law. “Data from the Port Authority shows that the claims costs on the New York side of a bridge project are twice that of the costs on the New Jersey side.” He quipped, “Maybe they should move LaGuardia to Jersey.”

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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.

See PDF Release Here

Crain’s New York: How to Heal the City’s Hospitals; Tame Trial Lawyers.

MedicalToday, Crain’s New York Business published a letter to the editor written by LRANY Execuitve Director, Thomas B. Stebbins.  This letter focused on the need for medical liability reform in our state as numerous hospitals are closing under the crushing cost of medial liability insurance due to the high risk imposed on practitioners by the current legal climate.

An excerpt:

“News that city hospitals need a billion dollars to stay solvent is no surprise (“New York City hospitals hit up state, feds for another $1 billion,” May 20). For years, hospitals in the city have been closing under the crushing weight of medical liability insurance costs.

It doesn’t have to be this way. New York’s medical liability insurance costs are the highest in the nation by a truly shocking margin, due in large part to the trial lawyers’ control of state policy in Albany. The trial lawyers’ lobbyists work to expand liability for doctors and hospitals and prevent many of the reasonable reforms undertaken by other states to control litigation costs.”

Read the Full Letter Here

Most Outrageous Lawsuit of the Month, April 2015 – “Trauma Queens” Sue For $20M Each

This month’s lawsuit features two NYC 20-somethings looking to capitalize off of a tragic event and a lawyer who was happy for the opportunity to take advantage of the legal system.

After the tragic East Village gas explosion earlier this month, Lucie Bauermeister and Anna Ramotowska though unharmed from the blast felt they were owed compensation for the emotional trauma caused from the event- so they filed a lawsuit for $20million EACH. That’s $40 million dollars these two women, deemed “trauma queens” by the NY Post, are seeking for virtually zero physical injuries.

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