Scaffold Law News Blog
- 17 Jun 2013
In today's Crain's New York, Lawsuit Reform Alliance Executive Director Tom Stebbins, and Gary LaBarbera, President of the New York Building Trades Council offer dramatically different opinions on Scaffold Law reform.
"Crain's hit the nail on the head" writes Stebbins. "Thanks to the scaffold law, millions of dollars will be spent on unnecessary insurance and lawsuits, and taxpayers and private citizens will be on the hook for the bill. Moreover, reforming the scaffold law would make New York businesses more competitive, allowing local companies to bid competitively on reconstruction projects. This would generate jobs and tax dollars."
LaBarbera takes a different approach, suggesting that insurers, not lawsuits are to blame. "We share the concern of businesses that insurers appear to be gouging them. Rather than blaming the victims of accidents, we ought to improve safety and bring transparency to the insurance market."
Of course, it seems difficult to believe insurers are "gouging" contractors, after all New York's construction industry is among the largest in the nation. If writing insurance polices is so profitable here, why then do carriers continue to leave the market in droves? Even the most rudimentary understanding of business is sufficient to see past this bit of misdirection.
- 17 Jun 2013
In today's New York Post, the editorial staff writes in favor of rational reform to the Scaffold Law.
This week two workmen captured the city’s attention when they had to be rescued after dangling from a damaged scaffold 44 stories above West 57th Street.
Too bad the state’s actual Scaffold Law doesn’t get nearly the same attention. Because it allows politicians and the plaintiffs bar to profit off bad law at the expense of the public. In short, it’s an excellent illustration of why the real corruption in this state is legal.
All states have laws on worker safety. What makes New York different is the way it assesses damages. It’s called “absolute liability,” and it means the owner or subcontractor is liable for all damages when a worker is injured in any gravity-related accident. Even if he was, say, intoxicated or violating safety procedures.
- 11 Jun 2013
In today's Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the editorial staff calls on Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle to push for reform to the Scaffold Law.
A state law unique to New York is unnecessarily costing taxpayers more than $1 billion a year for construction projects. State lawmakers should add reforming the Scaffold Law to their “to do” list before adjourning later this month — both to reduce the expense and help lower liability insurance costs.
The problem, for years, has been the trial lawyer-friendly state Assembly’s reluctance to tamper with a law that has helped to enrich lawyers (though the reform would not eliminate an injured worker’s ability to pursue legal action).
Assemblyman Joe Morelle of Irondequoit should use his new clout as Assembly majority leader and the respect he has earned as Assembly Insurance Committee chair to push the reform. A bill Morelle is sponsoring would allow the actions of an injured worker to be considered in workplace-injury lawsuits where the worker’s injury was found to have been caused by failure to follow safety training, failure to use available safety devices, intoxication or commission of a crime.