Aiexpress – Governor Hochul has expressed her desire to transform New York into the most business- and worker-friendly state. However, her current actions seem to contradict this statement, as she is advocating for an increase in frivolous lawsuits that could potentially burden businesses.
Hochul’s budget proposals include a provision that aims to modify state consumer-protection laws. This provision seeks to increase the minimum damage payout for class-action lawsuits from $50 per person to $1,000. This significant raise in the payout amount can be seen as a generous favor to the legal professionals who initiate these lawsuits. With this powerful tool at their disposal, these legal experts can exert immense pressure on companies, forcing them to settle even the most baseless and absurd cases.
Consumer class-action lawsuits are thriving in the Empire State, fueled by the existing minimum payout and the efforts of legal “entrepreneurs.” These entrepreneurs are generating cases for a wide range of reasons, from a sandwich not fully filling its container (as seen in a 2017 case against restaurant Pret a Manger) to Strawberry Pop-Tarts lacking what some deem to be an adequate amount of actual strawberries.
According to The New York Civil Justice Institute, there were approximately 100 lawsuits filed in New York in 2019-2020 specifically related to “vanilla” flavoring. In addition, the state saw a threefold increase in class-action cases pertaining to product and service marketing from 2017 to 2020.
Lawyers don’t typically focus on major consumer complaints. Instead, they actively seek potential targets and persuade individuals to join as plaintiffs.
When a business is confronted with a lawsuit, it needs to assess the expenses associated with fighting the case as well as the potential costs it may incur if it loses. Hochul’s decision to significantly increase the minimum payout would greatly increase the probability of companies opting for a settlement.
This also ensures that there will be even more such cases, providing every business with an additional incentive to leave New York or avoid establishing a presence here altogether.
Who needs enemies when you have a “business-friendly governor” like Kat? Is she really that eager for trial-lawyer donations?
It seems that this is indeed the case: as an added benefit to the legal profession, she would also require that lawyers be paid “reasonable” attorneys’ fees, whereas current law only allows for the possibility of payment.
New York is currently ranked as the fourth “judicial hellhole” by the American Tort Reform Foundation. However, it seems that the governor is determined to make it the top-ranked state in this category.
New York consumers now have all the “protection” they need as the courts are becoming involved in cases where vanilla flavoring does not come from real vanilla. If you care, you can read the ingredients to see if it’s true!
Hochul’s proposed shift would only contribute to the already excessive and corrupt legal “protection” racket.