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Letter: Trial lawyers chase away businesses

Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a ceremonial signing

Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a ceremonial signing of a water fund bill, in Austin, Texas. (May 28, 2013) Credit: AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is spending $1 million on ads showcasing his state's friendliness to business and opportunity ["Texas goes job hunting," Editorial, June 12]. One pillar of Perry's pitch is that Texas has enacted meaningful "lawsuit reforms that keep trial lawyers out of your pockets."

It's no surprise that Perry would highlight how much New Yorkers pay for our plaintiff-friendly legal system. New York is the lawsuit capital of the world, and it unnecessarily costs our businesses, schools and taxpayers billions every year.

We have laws like the so-called scaffold law that holds contractors and property owners liable for worker injuries, junk science in our courtrooms, and gaping loopholes that reward trial-by-ambush and incentivize shakedown lawsuits. We even hold the distinction of being only one of two states in the nation that hold homeowners liable for injuries incurred by trespassers on their property. Is it any wonder businesses are fleeing our state?

And why do we have these laws? Because the trial lawyers dump millions of dollars of their lawsuit profits each year on lobbying and on contributions to the political campaigns of Albany politicians.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the legislature need to stand up to the trial-lawyer lobby and enact sensible lawsuit reforms. Otherwise, more and more businesses will be answering Perry's call.

Thomas B. Stebbins, Albany

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York, a lobbying organization.