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A05624 Summary:

BILL NOA05624
 
SAME ASNo Same As
 
SPONSORMcDonald
 
COSPNSRSchimminger, Crouch, Harris, Ortiz, Hooper, Galef, Rivera, Stec
 
MLTSPNSRCook, D'Urso, Magee
 
Amd 1411, CPLR
 
Relates to damages recoverable when contributory negligence or assumption of risk is established in cases involving building construction, demolition and repair work.
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A05624 Memo:

NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
 
BILL NUMBER: A5624
 
SPONSOR: McDonald
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to damages recoverable when contributory negligence or assump- tion of risk is established in cases involving building construction, demolition and repair work   PURPOSE: To apply existing comparative negligence standards to claims filed under article ten of New York State Labor Law.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends CPLR 1411 to apply a standard of comparative negligence with respect to actions for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death brought under article ten of the Labor Law.   JUSTIFICATION: § 240 (1) of the New York State Labor Law is the last of its kind in the nation. The provision holds property owners and contractors absolutely liable for gravity related injuries that happen on construction work- sites, even if the injured party's own negligence contributed to the accident. Absolute liability, which is non-existent elsewhere in New York civil law, is not written into Labor Law § 240 (1). Over the years of liti- gation generated by the statute, judges have interpreted that it applies absolute liability. The courts have held that "contributory negligence is not a defense to a valid Labor Law § 240 (1) claim" (Musselman v Charles A. Gaetano Constr. Corp. 277 AD2d 691). This interpretation of the law provides little defense for property owners, contractors, and subcontractors against a claim, which leads to higher insurance premiums for all construction projects. The Costs of Labor Law 240 on New York's Economy and Public Infrastruc- ture, a report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, estimates that the statute costs the State of New York $785 million annually and costs the private sector $1.49 billion in related costs each year. According to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the liabil- ity costs on one joint New York-New Jersey bridge project are more than doubled on the New York side. The New York City School Construction Authority has seen a massive increase in its Owner Controlled Insurance Program. For upstate, the New York School Boards Association estimates that the law costs school districts $200 million each year. Addi- tionally, in The Effects of New York's Labor Law 240 on Worker Safety, a peer reviewed, "practice ready" paper presented to the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, researchers at Cornell Univer- sity conclude that New York Labor Law § 240 (1) "increases both fatal and nonfatal construction accidents" at a rate of 670 per year. CPLR § 1411 provides that "the culpable conduct attributable to the claimant...which caused the damages" will apply liability by that proportion. This bill would amend the CPLR to ensure that, notwithstand- ing any judicial precedent, statute, rule or regulation to the contrary, CPLR § 1411 will apply to any action to recover damages for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death brought under article ten of the Labor Law. This reform would ensure that liability is proportional to fault, and greatly reduce burdensome insurance premiums that impact all construction projects in the state. Most importantly, bringing the liability standard in line with all other aspects of the civil justice system would not weaken the law's safety provisions.   LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Will provide much needed relief to school districts, counties, and local governments by lowering their liability exposure and creating signif- icant savings on all infrastructure construction projects in New York State.   EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.
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A05624 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                          5624
 
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
 
                   IN ASSEMBLY
 
                                    February 13, 2017
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced by M. of A. McDONALD -- read once and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Judiciary
 
        AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to damages
          recoverable  when  contributory  negligence  or  assumption of risk is
          established in cases involving building construction,  demolition  and
          repair work

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section 1. Section 1411 of the civil practice law and rules, as  added
     2  by chapter 69 of the laws of 1975, is amended to read as follows:
     3    § 1411. Damages recoverable when contributory negligence or assumption
     4  of  risk  is  established. In any action to recover damages for personal
     5  injury, injury to property, or  wrongful  death,  the  culpable  conduct
     6  attributable  to the claimant or to the decedent, including contributory
     7  negligence or assumption of risk, shall not bar recovery, but the amount
     8  of damages otherwise recoverable shall be diminished in  the  proportion
     9  which  the  culpable  conduct  attributable  to the claimant or decedent
    10  bears to the culpable conduct which caused the damages.  Notwithstanding
    11  any judicial precedent, statute, rule or  regulation  to  the  contrary,
    12  this  section  shall apply to any action to recover damages for personal
    13  injury, injury to property or wrongful death brought under  article  ten
    14  of the labor law.
    15    § 2. This act shall take effect January 1, 2018 and shall apply to all
    16  actions commenced on or after such effective date.
 
 
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD09848-01-7
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