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Collette Brings Her Fight to Albany

Today, Collette McLafferty traveled up to Albany to fight against frivolous lawsuits and fight for ‪Collette’s Law‬! Find out more about Collette’s Law and how to help support Collette’s legal battle here.

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THANKS FOR MAKING SCAFFOLD LAW REFORM DAY AT THE CAPITOL A SUCCESS!

SLR LOBBY DAY 2016 -4Yesterday, over one hundred advocates gathered at the state capitol to urge lawmakers to support common sense reform to the New York’s Scaffold Law. Among them were contractors, builders, small business owners, developers, lawyers, and municipal officials. Attendees traveled from all corners of the state, from Buffalo to Brooklyn, to make their voice heard. The feedback from attendees on legislative meetings was overwhelmingly positive.

During the morning briefing, attendees were addressed by Judith Nelson, President & CEO of Habitat for Humanity New York State, as well as Jolie Milstein, President & CEO of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH)  – both of whom stressed the importance of Scaffold Law reform for affordable housing and disaster relief efforts. Senator Patrick Gallivan (R, Elma), who has been a champion of Scaffold Law reform since taking office in 2011, also addressed the crowd – applauding the coalitions efforts and giving them credit for the continuing progress towards change of the outdated law over the past few years.

After the morning session attendees split up into regional groups to share their stories with their legislators and educate them on the issue. Many lawmakers, expressed support for reform, and those opposed to change heard loud and clear from our supporters about why the Scaffold Law needs to be changed.

We would like to thank everyone who attended and our generous sponsors for their help in making this day successful. Without your contributions, we could not continue to keep our fight strong. Thank you.   

Did not have a chance to attend? Attended but want to double your impact?

Virtual Lobby Day will be open for the rest of the week. Make your voice heard! 

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TIME IS NOW.REFORM THE SCAFFOLD LAW! (2)

Can’t Make it to the Scaffold Law Reform Day at the Capitol?

TIME IS NOW.REFORM THE SCAFFOLD LAW! (2)

You Can Still Contact Elected Officials With Our Virtual Lobby Day!

If you are unable to make it to the Scaffold Law Reform Day at the Capitol, don’t worry! 

We are providing you multiple virtual vehicles to contact your elected officials and still make your voice heard!

Twitter: 

Hashtag: #SLRLobbyDay2016

A list of Twitter Handles for NYS Legislators can be found here: http://bit.ly/1npRC5K

Suggested Tweet: @(Your NYS Legislator here) TIME IS NOW! Reform the #ScaffoldLaw! – #SLRLobbyDay2016

votervoiceVoterVoice:

Send a letter directly to your elected officials with this electronic message service.

Follow this link:  http://bit.ly/1ZZ5ixi

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Please contact us with any questions or concerns. 

Thank you for staying involved. With your support, we can make reform a reality.

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For Immediate Release: Watchdog Group Announces Financial Impact of Scaffold Law on Recently Announced Public Projects

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For Immediate Release
January 19, 2015
Contact: Phoebe Stonbely
pstonbely@lrany.org
518.512.5265

Watchdog Group Announces Financial Impact of Scaffold Law on Recently Announced Public Projects
Estimates that $5 billion will be ‘wasted’ on law that exists only in New York

ALBANY – The Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY) announced today that the so-called ‘Scaffold Law’ will consume at least $5 billion of public infrastructure spending planned by the Cuomo administration. “It’s a staggering figure,” said Tom Stebbins, Executive Director of LRANY. “Statewide, the financial burden of the Scaffold Law is greater than the entire cost of the Tappan Zee bridge project.”

The group used actuarial, public, and academic data to create the cost estimate, including data from the Port Authority and Metropolitan Transit Authority. After reviewing these sources, LRANY found that the Scaffold Law adds at least 5-7% to the cost of public projects in New York. While the full $100 billion in projects has not been clarified, the group estimated specific costs on several of the Governor’s initiatives, including:

  • $1.1-1.54 billion in additional costs to upstate transportation
  • $150-210 million in additional costs to Penn Station upgrades
  • $10-14 million in additional costs to upstate airport reconstruction
  • $50-70 million in additional costs to the Javits Center project
  • $50-70 million in additional costs to the LIRR project
  • $415-580 million in additional costs to the MTA Capital Plan

“No other state is burdened with these costs,” said Stebbins. “How can the Governor expect New York to compete?”

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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

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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

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LRANY Executive Director on 2016 State of the State

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January 13, 2016

LRANY Executive Director on 2016 State of the State

“Of the 14 proposals outlined by the Governor, 12 require construction, and there is no greater hindrance to construction in New York than a law the Governor himself has called ‘infuriating’ – the so-called ‘Scaffold Law.’ New York is the only state to have a law like it, it costs billions, and does not keep workers safe. If the Governor is serious about these proposals, he needs to reform the greatest impediment to their success: the Scaffold Law.”

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

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Contact: Phoebe Stonbely | PStonbely@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.

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LRANY Releases Common Sense Agenda

New Leadership, New Opportunities: A Roadmap to Fix New York’s Civil Justice System

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Today, the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, released its common sense five-point legislative agenda for 2016. The plan addresses five key areas that most contribute to lawsuit abuse and excessive litigation in New York’s civil justice system.

By virtually every measure, New York is the lawsuit capital of the world. We are worst in the nation for litigation risk and third highest for per-capita lawsuit costs. That costs taxpayers, kills jobs, and drives investment out of the state.

Estimates suggest that these common sense legal reforms would lead to multi-billion dollar benefits for New York including the creation of as many as 200,000 new jobs, $1.04 billion in new tax revenues, and $17 billion in increased economic output.

With Albany experiencing a change in leadership for 2016, LRANY will harness the opportunity and continue to fight for long overdue reforms to strengthen and rebuild our crumbling civil justice system.

The five-point plan focuses on the following issues:

Reform the “Scaffold Law”: New York’s “Scaffold Law,” the only of its kind in the nation, imposes total and virtually inescapable civil liability upon property owners and contractors for gravity-related construction accidents. Any contributing fault of the employee for the injury is not considered in court. This has resulted in a surge of opportunistic lawsuits which have dramatically increased the cost of construction. The law must be reformed to allow liability to be apportioned according to actual fault, as is the case in all other states.

Open Asbestos Trusts: New York law currently does not require plaintiffs in asbestos actions to disclose whether they previously recovered from trust funds. Often lawyers will seek recoveries from both the tort system and the trust system alleging conflicting or even outright fraudulent claims. Lack of transparency encourages widespread abuse, stealing funds intended for the legitimately harmed. These trusts must be opened up to transparency to prevent further abuse of the system.

Raise Standards for Evidence: New York’s antiquated standard of evidence predates the Great Depression, and requires only that theories of evidence be “widely accepted.” Additionally, New York lacks a statewide time frame for disclosure of expert witnesses coercing defendants into a settlement without knowledge of the strength of the case against them. The law must be amended to require evidentiary theories to be based on scientifically verifiable methods and require disclosure of experts well before the date of trial.

Link judgment interest to the market rate: In New York, judgments accrue interest at a rate of 9% annually for as long as a case is pending. This fixed rate does not account for changing market conditions, dramatically inflates award values and creates a strong disincentive for defendants to appeal a ruling. The interest rate must be linked to the federal funds rate.

Enact “fair share liability”: Under New York’s current standard of “joint and several” liability, in a lawsuit with multiple defendants, one defendant as little as 1% responsible can be held fully liable for the full amount of a judgment if the other party is unable to pay their share. New York must adopt “fair share liability,” under which liability is always apportioned proportional to fault.

See Common Sense Agenda Here

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LRANY Welcomes Adam Morey

This week, Adam Morey joined the LRANY team as our Government Affairs Specialist. In this position, Adam will be involved in research, strategic planning, and government affairs. 

Prior to joining LRANY Adam worked in the wine industry in Manhattan and Albany. There he saw first hand the effects that regulatory uncertainty can have on entrepreneurs operating in New York. 
 
Adam holds a bachelor’s degree in American literature and philosophy from the University at Albany and is currently taking courses at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. He is committed to regulatory and legal issues that effect small businesses and individuals.  
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The Results Are In! The Winner of the Most Outrageous Lawsuit for 2015 Is…

You voted and the results are in! The winner of the Most Outrageous Lawsuit for 2015 is…’Woman Sues When Tights Don’t Cause Orgasm’ – watch below:

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New York Post Op-Ed – Even with Shelly Silver in Prison, New Yorkers Will Still Pay for His Legal Corruption

Lawsuit_1-6236Today, the New York Post published an Op-Ed written by LRANY’s Executive Director, Thomas B. Stebbins, highlighting the cost to New Yorkers left after Silver’s decades long reign over Albany and the need to make “New York a great place for all New Yorkers, not just the lawyers who sue us.”

An excerpt:

“If you think you aren’t paying for years of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s (legal) corruption, think again. For decades, Silver carried water for the trial lawyers in Albany, and even when he’s in prison, we’ll all still be stuck with the bill.

New York City taxpayers are on track to shell out over $800 million annually for lawsuit claims by fiscal year 2017-2018, according to a recent city comptroller report. That’s more than the city pays for parks, libraries and the Department of Aging combined.” 

Read Full Op-Ed