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MAY 1998

Workers' comp setback

Workers' comp reform suffered a setback last week when the state's highest court ruled that lawsuits by injured workers that were pending when the reforms were enacted can proceed despite the reforms.

Despite opposition from the Pataki administration, the Court of Appeals ruled that if the Legislature had wanted 1996 reforms to be retroactive to court cases filed under the old law, it would have written that into the new law.

The Pataki administration has estimated that the ruling could cost New York employers $300 million a year.

In signing the workers' comp reform bill in 1996, the Governor had said the statute would apply retroactively to pending cases.

May 14, 1998