On Friday, October 12, Big I NY member Jason Schiciano joined business leaders for a press conference in Tarrytown to call for reform of the state's antiquated and unjust “Scaffold Law."
Standing in front of the newly constructed Tappan Zee bridge, the group pointed to the tremendous costs associated with the law. They estimate that the law was responsible for between $200 and $400 million in additional insurance costs that did little if anything to improve safety on the project.
“The Scaffold Law is a small-business and new-business killer," said Jason Schichiano, president of the Levitt-Fuirst agency. “it affects our young adult, women, and minority entrepreneurs, looking to take advantage of the strong economy by starting a construction business."
First enacted in 1882, the “Scaffold Law" imposes absolute liability on property owners and contractors for gravity-related construction accidents. No contributing actions or negligence on the part of a worker are considered, regardless of how egregious. Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York illustrated this point by citing a case in which a worker cut away the floor from underneath him and subsequently fell and was injured. Under the Scaffold Law, the property owner was held 100 liable for the worker's injuries.
Big I New York is a member of a broad coalition in support of reforming the Scaffold Law. We believe that all defendants must be afforded the opportunity to defend themselves from unfair liability claims.