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New York City Is Drowning In Lawsuits

New York City is drowning in frivolous lawsuits. Litigious individuals have filed lawsuits over everything from food packaging and advertising to the design of retail websites. The city’s court system is now one of the country’s worst places for civil justice.

A report by The American Tort Reform Foundation places New York City in the #3 spot on the foundation’s yearly review of “Judicial Hellholes.”  Plaintiffs and attorneys are running berserk with the assistance of chummy judges and do-nothing legislators.

The report turns up the heat on the court system. The system has come under attack before from ATRF for the “brashly plaintiff-favoring ways” of a special court for asbestos-linked personal injury cases in Manhattan.

ATRF president Tiger Joyce says many cases included in the report involve a number of areas of litigation where, if you boil it down, “there isn’t any particular kind of injury.”

“The theory is that somehow persons have been harmed even though harm hasn’t been demonstrated,” Joyce said. “The new trend is something we are concerned about.”

Junior Mints

The only places worse than New York City for irresponsible tort filings are California and Florida.

The ATRF report also points to the cost and compensation paid in America’s tort system came to over $425 billion in 2016. That figure accounts for 2.3% of the US GDP.

Twenty-two percent of all trivial food lawsuits’ nationwide, were registered in New York City. Most of the claims complained food packages were filled to capacity or failed to live up to advertising which termed the food as “natural.”

In once case, a federal judge in Manhattan threw out a class-action suit which alleged patrons were tricked into buying Junior Mints since the candy was “packaged in a box with more than one quarter of the box containing air.”

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald felt permitting the suit to move forward would “enshrine” into the law an awkward level of mathematical illiteracy.

The ATRF report also highlights Arik Matatov who tried to get easy money from 50 Manhattan businesses because the companies didn’t have wheelchair ramps. Matatov doesn’t use a wheelchair and doesn’t need one as he can walk on his own two feet.

Screen Reading Software

A ruling made in 2017 by two federal judges mandated that all online retailers make their sites compatible with screen-reading software for the visually impaired. That ruling opened the floodgates for lawsuits against hundreds of stores.

Complying with the rulings cost businesses as much as $37,000 to remodel their sites.

The report also takes state lawmakers to the woodshed for failing to reform New York’s ‘scaffold law’. The law places liability on property owners and contractors when a worker is injured in a fall. Even if the worker’s own carelessness caused the accident.

Another Tax

Arkady Bukh, a noted New York attorney, said, “Frivolous litigation increase the cost of doing business.”

The added cost to do business in NYC is like another tax.

“The litigious nature of New York City amounts to another tax on employers. Especially hurt are the owners of small businesses and independent employers who can’t afford it,” Bukh added.

“Excesses in the legal system get passed to the consumer — it doesn’t get taken out of some special litigation fund,” said Joyce.

The Institute for Legal Reform found, in 2017, that costs associated with litigation drive up prices by as much as $6,500 annually — the highest in the nation.

The Takeaway

These attorneys are highlighted in the new “Judicial Hellholes” report from the American Tort Reform Foundation:

Jeffrey Gottlieb & Associates, Manhattan: Recorded at least 26 suits in under 60-days over sites which lacked screen-reading software for the visually impaired

Lee Litigation Group, Manhattan: Filed suits “by the dozen” over partly void food packaging, including boxes of Junior Mints

Joseph Mizrahi, Brooklyn: Filed more than 500 website suits in Manhattan and Brooklyn federal courts in 2018 alone

Weitz & Luxenburg, Manhattan: Crooked ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s former firm has handled 52 percent of all asbestos cases in New York City this year, up from 47 percent last year

McSweeney/Langevin, Minneapolis: Was sued after being charged with  enlisting women to have their pelvic-mesh implants withdrawn and then filing suit against the apparatus makers

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