FOR RELEASE: Friday, Feb. 8, 2013
CONTACT: Phoebe Stonbely (518)708-3578
Carl Zeilman (518) 221.6989
ADVOCATES TO GATHER AT STATE CAPITOL TO URGE GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE TO REFORM NEW YORK’S CENTURY OLD SCAFFOLD LAW
Law limits progress on protecting public from natural disasters, better schools, roads, bridges, and hospitals while contributing to double-digit unemployment
ALBANY, NY – Hundreds of advocates from various professions will gather at the State Capitol in Albany, NY on Tuesday, February 12 to urge Governor Andrew Cuomo and Legislators to take action and reform the unfair absolute liability standard of century-old Scaffold Law. Attendees will hear from several scheduled guest speakers who will discuss the provision of the Scaffold Law that drives up to cost of every public and private construction project in New York because building owners and contractors are held ‘absolutely liable’ for “elevation related injuries,” regardless of the facts of the case or the real liability for the injury.
Scaffold Law Reform advocates are supporting bi-partisan legislation sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and Senator Patrick Gallivan (A.3104/S.111).
INTERVIEW AND PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE:
WHO: Advocates in support of Scaffold Law Reform
WHAT: Scaffold Law Reform Advocacy Day
WHEN: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
8:30 am – 2:00pm
WHERE: Empire State Plaza Concourse
Meeting Room 2
“The Scaffold Law imposes liability even on contractors and owners who had nothing to do with the plaintiff’s accident”
– Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith
WHAT IS IT?
The Scaffold Law, (Labor Law 240/241) was first enacted in the late 19th century. It holds property owners, employers, and contractors ABSOLUTELY LIABLE for ‘gravity related’ injuries that happen on the job. That means there is virtually no defense from a lawsuit, even if the worker’s gross negligence contributed to the accident. Even parties that had no supervisory control over the work are held liable.
New York is the only state that still keeps this law on the books.
Illinois repealed its Scaffold Law in 1995, and construction employment rose 25%, from 211,000 in 1994 to 265,000 in 2000. Simultaneously, construction related fatalities decreased by 30%.
New York’s general liability insurance costs are between 300% and 1,200% higher than other states because of the Scaffold Law.
The number of carriers that write general liability policies in NY is declining.
The number of Scaffold Law cases has increased 66% since 1998, even though the rate of injury has decreased. Lawsuits are the main driver of higher insurance premiums.
The Scaffold Law adds about $10,000 to the cost of the average new home.
Reforming the law would reduce the cost of virtually every construction project, saving taxpayer dollars, creating jobs, and spurring development.
Reforming the Scaffold Law would not prevent injured workers from suing for their injuries.
Kin v. State of New York (January 2013)
State was held fully liable for bridge worker’s negligence which resulted in injury (Syracuse)
Wilinski v. 334 East 92nd Housing Development Fund Corp. (October 2011)
Extends liability to “same-level” in which falling objects are applicable under the law (NYC)
Runner v. New York Stock Exchange (June 2009)
Court interpreted the law to cover all injuries that resulted from the application of the force of gravity, rather than simply falls from height. (NYC