Behrens and Silverman Release Report on New York Tort Liability

With the Empire Center, Shook Partners Cary Silverman and Mark Behrens have published "State of Liability: New York's Costly Tort Laws and How to Fix Them," a report on tort litigation in the state of New York.

"This report identifies aspects of New York’s tort system that have fallen out of balance and provides solutions to fix them. It first examines New York’s general liability laws, those that apply to a wide range of civil claims. In comparison to other states, New York allows significantly greater liability and lacks the types of commonsense constraints adopted by other states," Silverman and Behrens explain.

The report also explores specific areas, including:

  • New York’s “Scaffold Law,” which imposes “absolute liability” on property owners and contractors for nearly any worker fall on a construction site, regardless of a worker’s own culpability;
  • Medical malpractice awards, which lack many reasonable limits;
  • The state’s no-fault auto insurance system; and
  • A court created specifically for asbestos litigation that attracts claims from across the country because of procedures and laws that put defendants at a disadvantage.

Behrens and Silverman conclude with recommendations for needed liability reforms that they argue would create a more balanced legal environment, reduce costs for those who live and work in New York and improve the state’s economy.