Hanging by a Thread

The Story

The steep cost of potential litigation stemming from the “scaffold law,” which holds contractors and property owners liable for accidents on building sites, is built into the budget of every New York construction project. The law has been a boon to trial lawyers, and during a long career as speaker of the state assembly, Sheldon Silver—himself a trial lawyer—blocked all efforts at reform. Will new leadership in the state legislature reform this costly and business-killing law?

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. NY – The Bottom of the Barrel: New York ranked second-worst among the states in commercial and other liability costs. Read more

  2. Costly Court Cases: In 2014, New York City paid out more than $700 million in legal costs, a new record. Read more

  3. Protecting the Little Guy: A loser-pays system would mean fewer meritless lawsuits for small businesses. Read more

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Under Siege: New York’s Liability Ordeal By Richard Miniter (January 1996)

To date, the state’s powerful trial lawyer lobby has easily blocked reform: votes haven’t even been close. The members of New York City’s delegation to the state legislature, for reasons best known to them, have ignored City Hall and sided with the legal lobby, as did the late Cuomo Administration.

On The Calendar

May 11

May 11, 2015 |

The Alexander Hamilton Award was created by the Manhattan Institute to honor those individuals helping to foster the revitalization of our nation’s cities. This year, the winners are George Kelling, co-author of the Broken Windows Theory, and Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. Click to purchase tickets.

And in other news...

To highlight the style’s wide-reaching influence on New York’s built environment, the Art Deco Society of New York picked 19 lesser-known Art Deco gems across the city, from a recreation center in the Bronx to apartment buildings in Brighton Beach.