The Gotham Gazette recently published an op-ed written by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York’s Executive Director, Thomas Stebbins. This op-ed focuses on the recent conviction of Sheldon Silver and the necessary reforms which must now be advanced now that his influence is no longer ruling Albany. Stebbins highlighted the need for Scaffold Law reform as part of these needed changes.
“New York also has the highest construction insurance costs in the nation, due to the odious so-called “Scaffold Law,” which Mr. Silver cravenly defended.
The oddly-named law has little to do with scaffolds. What it does is hold contractors and property owners absolutely liable in a lawsuit for workers’ injuries even if, in the words of the court, they had “nothing to do with the plaintiff’s accident.”
New York is the only state to apply absolute liability to contractors. In 2014, Mr. Silver proudly shut down Scaffold Law reforms that would have put our legal system in line with the rest of the country by creating a standard where negligence is proportionate to fault. Silver stymied this common sense reform despite findings that the law cost the state government $785 million a year and corresponds with an increase in injuries. In the wake of his corruption conviction, New Yorkers are right to wonder if Mr. Silver blocked Scaffold Law reform on behalf of his trial lawyer employers.”