Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney spoke at the 2013 Business Council meeting, where she voiced her support for a bill to reform New York’s Scaffold Law and reduce costs for home buyers and municipalities.
Tenney said the Scaffold Law increases the cost of construction, forcing contractors to buy expensive liability insurance.
The costs are passed on to consumers, she said, resulting in an average cost increase of $10,000 per new home built.
“Currently, New York is the only state in the nation with this strict liability standard,” Tenney, R - New Hartford, said in a news release. “It’s time we joined the rest of the country and instituted a comparative negligence standard for workplace injuries. This change would ensure fairness and help promote responsible workplace safety standards.”
The Scaffold Law is a “narrowly imposed, absolute liability on property owners and contractors for workers’ injuries, meaning a worker’s potential negligence is not taken into consideration,” she said. Tenney said the law is a remnant of an “ancient law that has been detained purely as a boondoggle to the trial bar in spite of modern changes in the law which ensures workplace safety. As a result, a worker could win a judgment against their employer or the owner of the property even if the worker was at fault for the injury. “
“The current Scaffold Law does not benefit workers,” said Tenney. “It is nothing more than a slam dunk and guaranteed lottery for trial lawyers, Sheldon Silver’s main constituency.”
Tenney is working in a bipartisan effort with Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle to sponsor legislation to reform New York’s Scaffold Law by changing the standard from strict liability to comparative negligence, encouraging workplace safety.