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Crain’s Health Pulse: NY regains status as No. 1 for medical malpractice payouts

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York executive director Tom Stebbins talked with a reporter for Health Pulse at Crain’s New York Business about New York’s “dubious honor” as the number one state when it comes to total and per capita medical liability payouts:

In 2017, New York once again achieved the dubious honor of having the nation’s highest medical malpractice payouts per capita, according to the latest annual report from medical malpractice insurer Diederich Healthcare. New York ranked first in each of the last five years, except for 2016, when it was bumped down a spot by New Hampshire.

Some say the ranking should spur the state to finally pass legislative reforms to bring medical malpractice costs down.

“If you look at California, a similarly blue state that has enacted reforms, they are typically on the lower end of the list,” said Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a nonprofit that lobbies to rein in the number and severity of lawsuits in New York for the benefit of businesses, health care providers and other members.

While New York’s medical malpractice payouts amounted to $618 million, or $31.13 per capita, in 2017, California’s totaled just $260.7 million, or about $6.59 per capita.

Read the full story here (subscription required.)

Governing: In World’s Most Expensive City for Building, an Attempt to Lower Costs

Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York executive director Tom Stebbins was quoted in an article at Governing about how the state’s Scaffold Law leads to increased costs and delays, and the impact that reforming the law through Congress will have on work site safety:

The federal legislation targets New York’s 1885 Scaffold Act, which imposes absolute liability on a property owner or construction employer in any case of a work-related fall. According to a 2013 Rockefeller Institute report, the law has the effect of increasing construction costs by about 7 percent. Although most states had such a law on the books a century ago, federal health and safety protections and state workers’ compensation laws have supplanted scaffold laws everywhere except New York.

“It’s important to note the bill we’re advocating for doesn’t alter safety provisions,” says Tom Stebbins, executive director of the tort reform group Lawsuit Reform Alliance New York. “It just applies liability for these injuries the way it’s done elsewhere.”

Read the full article here.

New York Law Journal: NY Should Reform Tort Law, Group Says

LRANY executive director Tom Stebbins is quoted in a recent New York Law Journal article about a report released in December about New York’s costly tort environment:

The head of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a tort-reform business group, said the Empire Center’s report is a “catalogue of the damage decades of trial lawyer rule has done to New York’s civil justice system.”

“By simply putting New York’s rules in line with most other states we could save billions. Governor Cuomo and the Legislature should take notice of the commonsense reforms outlined in this report and put a stop to the taxpayers’ subsidy of the lawsuit industry,” said Tom Stebbins, the executive director of the alliance.

Read the full article here.

LRANY Executive Director’s Statement on the Empire Center’s New York Tort Liability Report

Albany, NY – “This report is a catalogue of the damage decades of trial lawyer rule has done to New York’s civil justice system. From Sheldon Silver’s ‘of counsel’ shenanigans, to courts stacked with cronies, to class action chaos – and the insanity of the Scaffold Law – this report shows how entrenched the trial lawyers’ special interests are in New York. And the report nails it on the head, by simply putting New York’s rules in line with most other states we could save billions. Governor Cuomo and the legislature should take notice of the commonsense reforms outlined in this report and put a stop to the taxpayers’ subsidy of the lawsuit industry.”

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

Read the full report here.

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The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) is a nonpartisan not-for-profit association of businesses, healthcare providers, membership organizations, and concerned taxpayers committed to fixing New York’s broken civil justice system.