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NYSTLA'S ALBANY UPDATE

Breaking News from Albany

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to you with good news from Albany, where the legislative session has just ended.

ERISA – Victory!

I am very pleased to report to NYSTLA members that the Legislature has passed and sent to Governor Cuomo legislation that would eliminate the preemption of the general obligations law by ERISA, thus preventing health insurers from seeking unwarranted reimbursements, and removing the uncertainty hanging over future settlements in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death cases. The bill addresses a recent federal court decision (Wurtz v. The Rawlings Co.) that misinterpreted the GOL.

NYSTLA leadership, staff, and members, will now work to ensure the Governor's signature on this commonsense legislation.

Scaffold Law- Victory!

Thanks to the passionate advocacy of labor unions, community organizations fighting for the rights of workers, and members of the Legislature's New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus – the life-saving Scaffold Law will stay in place protecting thousands of construction workers across our state every day.

Auqui

Throughout the session, NYSTLA has worked to pass a bill that makes clear that decisions as to causation and permanency of injury, degree of disability, lost earnings and need for future medical care, made at the workers' compensation level will not have preclusive effect in a third-party action, thereby preserving the constitutional right to trial by jury for injured workers and reversing the misguided Auqui decision.

The Assembly passed this important legislation in the closing hours of its session. Unfortunately, the State Senate did not act. As the impact of Auqui begins to be felt by injured workers across the state, we continue to believe that the Legislature will see the unworkable result of the decision and the wisdom of restoring the civil justice rights of injured workers.

SUM

Working with advocates for consumers and drivers, NYSTLA worked to promote the "SUM" bill which would allow consumers to make educated decisions with regard to their SUM auto insurance coverage, by requiring that insurers provide information on the nature and availability of SUM coverage before they complete the sale of an insurance policy.

After last year's veto of a similar bill by the Governor, the SUM bill passed the Assembly again this year. NYSTLA will continue to work with consumer rights groups to push for this important reform.

I want to personally thank all of the NYSTLA members who spent hours working the phones and the hallways of Albany on behalf of pro-civil justice legislation. Without our work, the powerful interests who would limit the civil justice rights of New Yorkers would no doubt be successful.

Sincerely,


Michael Jaffe

President
New York State Trial Lawyers Association

For more information about NYSTLA's Legislative Campaigns, please contact Richard Thomas at 212-349-5890 or rthomas@nystla.org

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