TRUCKING ASSOCIATION OF NEW YORK JOINS FIGHT TO FIX THE SCAFFOLD LAW
Expansive court decisions attract new members to the Scaffold Law Reform Coalition
ALBANY – The Trucking Association of New York (TANY) is the latest advocacy organization to join the coalition in support of A.5624, a bill introduced by Assemblymember John McDonald (D-Cohoes) aimed at updating the Scaffold Law’s strict liability rules.
“It is truly shocking that personal injury lawyers have convinced judges that a law meant to enumerate protections for construction workers on skyscrapers should be applied to someone who lost their footing on a flatbed truck,” said Kendra Hems, President of TANY, “Assemblyman McDonald’s bill is a no-brainer that will update the Scaffold Law’s burdensome liability rules, and make it less of a magnet for over-zealous lawyers looking to cash in on lawsuits.”
Introduced last month to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, Assemblyman McDonald’s bill applies New York’s existing negligence standards to lawsuits brought under the Scaffold Law. Judges currently apply “absolute liability” to these filings, a standard unique to the Scaffold Law, which faults only the property owner and contractor for worksite injuries, even if those parties had nothing to do with the accident.
“Most importantly,” the bill’s justification memo concludes, the proposed reform “would not weaken the law’s safety provisions.”
Last month, Habitat for Humanity sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie calling the Scaffold Law’s impact on construction insurance “one of the biggest obstacles when it comes to affordable housing and disaster relief.”
Scaffold Law reform is supported by a diverse coalition including the New York State Association for Affordable Housing, Business Council of New York State, the New York Conference of Mayors, New York State Farm Bureau, Associated General Contractors, Unshackle Upstate, National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Manufacturers Association, New York State School Boards Association, and chambers of commerce across the state.