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LRANY Letter, Albany Times Union – Cleanse Agenda of Trial Lawyers

Lawsuit_1-6236The Albany Times Union recently published a letter to the editor written by LRANY’s Thomas Stebbins highlighting the opportunity for common sense reforms in the wake of Sheldon Silver’s conviction.

An excerpt:

“For years, it has been an open secret in Albany that the trial lawyers controlled the Assembly. Former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was known to work as “of counsel” for powerhouse tort law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, and many in Albany, including other legislators, believed Mr. Silver would not buck the interests of his employer.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo himself publicly stated that the trial lawyers were the ‘single most powerful political force in Albany.'”

Read Full Letter Here

CBS 6 TV Interview: Lawmakers, Government Watchdogs Push for Reform after Silver Verdict

Watch Tom Stebbins discuss Silver’s conviction and opportunity for reform with Albany’s CBS 6 Kimberly Howard:

See Full Story Here

STATEMENT: In the Wake of Sheldon Silver’s Conviction, Legal Reform is Ethics Reform

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December 1, 2015

In the Wake of Sheldon Silver’s Conviction,
Legal Reform is Ethics Reform

“After years under the corrupt leadership of Sheldon Silver, it is a new era in Albany. Any real reforms must include meaningful steps to cleanse New York State of the trial lawyer agenda which former Speaker Silver protected and personally profited from  for decades.

New York state elected leaders from both parties must address the problem of using their positions for personal gain. In the wake of this guilty verdict, legal reform is ethics reform. Our five-point plan can restore New York’s legal system to serve all New Yorkers, not trial lawyer special interests.”

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

A digital version of LRANY’s 5-point “Justice for All” plan can be found here: http://bit.ly/1CXUP6a

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Contact: Tom Stebbins | Tstebbins@lrany.org | 518.424.5811 

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.

Statement from LRANY Executive Director on Guilty Verdict in Sheldon Silver’s Corruption Trial

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November 30, 2015

Statement from LRANY Executive Director on Guilty Verdict in Sheldon Silver’s Corruption Trial

“As we have been saying for years, Sheldon Silver’s ‘income’ was nothing more than a political payment to ensure he executed the agenda of the trial lawyers who paid him. We are left with a state decimated by lawsuits and litigation – highest medical liability costs, highest construction insurance costs, and an asbestos court rated the worst the nation. Today marks a new day where the legislature can start working for the people of New York, not just the trial lawyers.”

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

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Contact: Tom Stebbins | Tstebbins@lrany.org | 518.424.5811  

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.

STATEMENT: LRANY Executive Director on Perry Weitz Testimony at Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial

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November 4, 2015

Statement from LRANY Executive Director on Perry Weitz Testimony at Sheldon Silver Corruption Trial

“We challenge Mr. Silver’s defense team to show one shred of evidence where Mr. Silver bucked the legislative will of Weitz and Luxenberg or the trial lawyers. New York State has the highest medical liability costs in the nation, our asbestos court is the country’s #1 ‘Judicial Hellhole’, and we are ranked highest for ‘litigation risk’ – all due in large part to Mr. Silver’s tenure as Assembly Speaker. One has to wonder if Mr. Silver was serving the state of New York, or the trial lawyers who were paying him.”

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

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Contact: Tom Stebbins | Tstebbins@lrany.org | 518.424.5811  

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.

Statement from LRANY Executive Director on Sheldon Silver Trial

“For years, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York has identified the payments from law firms to Sheldon Silver as a potentially massive conflict of interest. The investigation into this alleged corruption is overdue. New York needs legislators who are working for the people, not personal injury lawyers.”

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

One-page information sheets:

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The New York Times: Albany’s Worst Offense

NYSCapitolPanoramaToday, The New York Times published a letter to the editor written by LRANY’s Executive Director, Thomas Stebbins.  This letter beings to light what is perhaps the greatest corruption of all, the no-show job loophole.

An Excerpt:

“To the Editor:

Re “Another Albany Leader Must Go” (editorial, May 5):

In all the editorializing and rending of garments regarding the recent arrest of the New York Senate majority leader, Dean Skelos, no ink was spilled on what is perhaps the greatest corruption of all: that a no-show law firm job is perfectly legal.

In both the Sheldon Silver and the Skelos cases, public officials were paid millions by law firms to essentially do no work. But with millions on the line, would legislators do anything in Albany to jeopardize that income? Would they pass any laws that might upset their employers?”

Read Full Letter Here

Response to Sheldon Silver’s Latest Indictment

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April 24, 2015

Response to Sheldon Silver’s Latest Indictment

“While the latest charges against former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver should outrage New Yorkers, what is more outrageous is not what is illegal, but what is legal. According to press reports, Silver’s dealings with the lawsuit lending firm Counsel Financial are under investigation, but activities of the industry itself are what should be investigated and regulated.

Lawsuit lenders in New York often charge predatory rates far above what is considered legal for any other type of loan, sometimes in excess of 100% annually. By claiming their products are ‘investments,’ they are able to dodge New York’s strict consumer protection laws. Sheldon Silver’s newest indictment shows how profitable that model can be. Tragically, consumers who take these loans often see much or all of their final settlement or award consumed by interest charges and attorneys’ fees.

This latest charge against Sheldon Silver is a wake-up call that predatory lending is alive and well in New York. We urge lawmakers, the Attorney General, and the Department of Financial Services to come together to put an end to predatory lawsuit lending.”

-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 PDF of Statement

Albany Times Union: Hope Follows Silver Indictment

shelly cuffsToday, the Albany Times Union published a letter to the editor written by LRANY’s Phoebe Stonbely. This letter highlights the new found optimism and hope that is upon New York following the arrest and indictment of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

An Excerpt:

“Following the indictment of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Albany may finally see an opportunity for justice, fairness and common sense to return to our legislative body. Mr. Silver’s more than 20-year reign as speaker is now under federal investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, and the Legislature finally has a chance to shake the influence of the trial lawyers and work for the people of New York.

Year after year, Mr. Silver blocked sensible changes and reforms to our legal system. He adamantly opposed any reforms that would hurt of the bottom line of the trial lawyers, passed laws that would further expand liability and consistently told New Yorkers that there was no conflict of interest between his role as speaker and his six-figure income from a personal injury law firm.”

Read Full Letter

The Buffalo News: Silver Indictment Offers Hope for Lawsuit Reform

This weekend the Buffalo News published a letter to the editor from LRANY’s Manager of Government Affairs, Scott Hobson highlighting the renewed opportunity for lawsuit reform with new leadership in the assembly.

An excerpt:

“News that former speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver has been indicted by a federal grand jury on corruption and conspiracy charges has spurred a renewed sense of optimism for supporters of common-sense lawsuit reform.

Silver, who served “of counsel” to a large personal injury law firm, was long seen as the greatest obstacle to lawsuit reform, unwilling to even consider proposals that would erode his personal profits and those of his employer. And while the personal injury lawyers thrived under Silver’s leadership, the rest of the state, particularly upstate, suffered. Thanks in no small part to our oppressive legal climate, many businesses have been forced to close or flee the state, taking jobs and tax dollars with them.”

Read Full Letter