Scaffold Law Reform News
Disaster Relief Groups: Scaffold Law Hindering Relief Efforts
- Published on 23 April 2014
Today, four New York based disaster relief groups sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and three legislative leaders detailing how the Scaffold Law has severely hindered their ability to provide relief to victims of Superstorms Sandy and Irene.
The groups, which include All Hands Volunteers, Friends of Rockaway, the St. Bernard Project, and the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation, emphasize that the Scaffold Law has made it difficult and extremely expensive to acquire necessary insurance coverage.
For many of our organizations, the cost of construction insurance in New York is prohibitive, and several disaster relief organizations are unable to provide relief to New York families because of the lack of insurance due to the Scaffold Law.
This cost and availability crisis is exclusive to New York, as is the Scaffold Law. This is not an insurance problem; it is a New York problem. We enjoy strong and productive relationships with our insurance carriers in all other 49 states, but most of those carriers will not write policies in New York due to the presence of the Scaffold Law.
Make no mistake – the Scaffold Law has directly and significantly hindered our ability to help hundreds of New Yorkers return home after Superstorm Sandy.
NY Daily News: Save Money and Hardhats' Lives
- Published on 22 April 2014
In today's New York Daily News, Bill Hammond calls for Scaffold Law reform and takes opponents to task on their claims about the law.
The case for finally fixing New York’s so-called Scaffold Law — which needlessly drives up construction costs for everything from apartment towers to bridges to public schools — has never been stronger than now.
First, because the liability insurance market for builders is heading for a breaking point that, if it isn’t averted, could put the brakes on the entire construction industry, with devastating consequences for the economy.
Hammond cuts through the rhetoric and takes a hard look at the facts:
Rather than dispute the devastating facts, defenders of the lawsuit-happy status quo are pushing back with a tired and disingenuous argument: That reformers want to “gut” the law in ways that would jeopardize the lives of hardhats and deny them just compensation when they get hurt.
No part of that claim holds up to serious scrutiny.
Leaving reform opponents' arguments in shreds, he concludes by bringing some much-needed perspective to the situation:
Also distorted is their claim that reformers would leave injured workers in the cold. Under the reform as proposed — not just by contractors, but also a broad coalition of local governments and small businesses -— injured workers would still have every right to sue and, if they were truly victimized by negligence, collect big damages.
But the judge and jury would use “comparative negligence,” meaning they would look at the facts, divvy up the blame and apportion the damages accordingly.
That’s the same standard that applies in every other state — and in every other kind of lawsuit filed in New York. It’s a modest, reasonable fix that would save big bucks and, if what happened in Illinois is any guide, might save lives as well. What is Albany waiting for?