Why New York is one of the worst ‘judicial hellholes’
DEC 10, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LINY : DEC 12, 2021
New York again scored as a major Judicial Hellhole, No. 2 in the nation, in the latest ranking from the American Tort Reform Foundation. Worse, in several areas we’re No. 1.
The Empire State, for example, leads the nation in Web-site lawsuits under the Americans With Disabilities Act, as well in food-related class-action suits (which have tripled since 2017). Blame juries that grant wild damages, lawmakers who keep passing pro-ambulance-chaser laws and an unregulated litigation-financing industry.
If she’s willing to stand up to the trial-lawyers lobby, Gov. Kathy Hochul can still veto some of the latest bad bills, such as the Comprehensive Insurance Disclosure Act and a radical expansion of the False Claims Act.
“Questionable lawsuits and extortionate settlements increase the cost of goods for everyone,” notes Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York. “The civil-justice system should not be a profit center for avaricious law firms or predatory lenders.”
But it won’t change until and unless the politicians stop enabling the bottom-feeding lawyers, and start cracking down on abusive litigation.
More reason to crack down on the lawsuit-lending industry
SEP 1, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LINY : DEC 12, 2021
Federal indictments of a lawsuit-scam ring offer fresh proof that New York needs to crack down on “legal lenders.”
The group of lawyers and doctors allegedly filed $31 million worth of fraudulent slip-and-fall claims in hundreds of bogus lawsuits against New York City businesses — funded by the legal-lending sharks, who imposed interest rates of 50 percent to 100 percent for loans to “clients” to cover the litigation costs.
The ring hired the homeless and mentally ill to fake injury and even undergo surgery — with the lawyers, docs and lenders winding up with most of the cash.
But funding fraud is far from the only evil of this industry. For example, two different lenders — LawBuck$ and MFL Case Funding — demanded $2.1 million in 2018 to repay loans of just $21,300 to a dead Brooklyn woman and her estate.
The year before, the state Attorney General’s Office went after RD Legal Funding for exploiting 9/11 first responders by charging interest rates up to 250 percent.
This virtually unregulated industry preys on the vulnerable, cashing in on their distress — and also enables outrageous nuisance suits that should never see the courthouse door, blackmailing victims (including city government) into settling rather than bear the expense of trial.
State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) has two bipartisan bills to rein in these abuses — including setting a ceiling on interest rates to prevent blatant usury — but can’t get the legislation out of committee, thanks to the industry’s lobbying power.
Notably, a Florida-based litigation-funding firm this year gave $100,000 to the New York State Trial Lawyers Association to fight such reforms.
It’s outrageous that the Legislature’s Democratic leaders are protecting the perpetrators of such sleaze.