New York's costly consumer-protection insanity just won't stay dead

POLITICS: New York’s costly consumer-protection insanity just won’t stay dead



Here’s another menace at risk of being rushed into law as part of the state budget: The so-called Consumer and Small Business Protection Act — which is purely a giveaway to class-action lawyers and a bane on New York business.

Gov. Hochul had a version of it in her budget proposal: increasing the minimum payout for class-action lawsuits from $50 to $1,000 a person; now the Legislature’s looking to do her worse.

The measure pushed by Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-Queens) and Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Brooklyn) would create a highly subjective new standard for such suits that doesn’t require actual injury or even possible injury to bring suit against any business.

How does that protects consumers or small biz?

Truth in labeling just isn’t Albany’s thing.

This is simply a windfall for tort attorneys: a license to go fishing for targets, then recruit plaintiffs, file the case and demand a hefty payout to settle the case — with the $1,000-a-head minimum a huge incentive (along with the certainty of litigation costs if you go to trial) to surrender to the blackmail.

Consumer and Small Business Protection Racket is more like it, since businesses will have to raise prices to cover the added costs of being vulnerable to beyond-frivolous lawsuits.

Shame on Hochul, who says she wants the state to be business-friendly, for even tentatively embracing this madness, when New York already ranks No. 4 on the American Tort Reform Foundation’s list of “judicial hellholes.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie routinely argues that measures like this don’t belong in the budget; let’s hope he sticks to his guns on this one.

If lawmakers want to pass this anti-business, anti-consumer gift to trial lawyers, make them doing it as a stand-alone bill — one that Hochul can veto to show she’ll actually walk the “good business environment” walk.



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