For Immediate Release
May 17, 2016
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
On NYSTLA Lobby Day, LRANY Decries Trial Lawyer Influence
Deemed “the single most powerful political force in Albany,” by Governor Cuomo, legal reform group calls for end to shadow government and no-show jobs
ALBANY – As the trial lawyers roam the halls of the Capital and Legislative Office Building for their annual lobby day, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), the state’s only advocacy group dedicated to civil justice reform, is calling the out-sized political influence of the trial lawyer lobby a “shadow government.” The Albany-based group recently released its annual “Power of Attorney” report, which analyzes the lobbying spending and political contributions of New York’s plaintiffs’ lawyer lobby. LRANY found that for the sixth consecutive year, the plaintiffs’ lawyer lobbying spend continued to surge, a 64% increase since 2010. According to the report, in 2015 plaintiffs’ lawyers, their lobbying groups, and associated Political Action Committees (PACs) spent a combined $2.64 million to influence state elected officials.
“It is no secret that the strong influence of the trial lawyers translates into lawsuit friendly policies that hurt our local businesses, healthcare professionals and municipalities,” said Tom Stebbins, LRANY Executive Director. “Even though trial lawyers were at the center of the biggest corruption scandal to hit Albany in years, and that’s saying something, their influence remains strong thanks to the money they continue to shower on Albany politicians.”
The group features former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on the report’s cover to highlight the disgraced politician as an indisputable example of the trial lawyers’ influence over the New York legislature. “Dozens of bills were blocked by the former speaker, promoting policies that continually lined the pockets of the trial lawyers’ at the expense of the taxpayer and the state’s economy.” Stebbins explained, “the vicious cycle of political influence flourished as the millions made suing New Yorkers went right back into the coffers of high ranking elected officials.”
LRANY is hopeful that following the change in legislative leadership, New York may begin to see overdue civil justice reforms enacted. “Our elected officials are meant to represent the people, not the interests of their wealthiest donors,” argued 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.