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April 28, 2003

Survey: New Yorkers of all genders, regions, and political parties strongly support tort reform

New Yorkers overwhelmingly want tort reform to curtail lawsuit abuse, and their support holds in every region of the state and among every age, gender and political affiliation, a new poll shows.

They survey was conducted by Strategic Moves, LLC for New Yorkers for Civil Justice Reform (NYCJR), a broad coalition of interests commitment to tort reform. The Business Council is a founding member and active participant in the coalition.

Even Democratic voters living in districts represented by Democratic Assembly members support tort reform, the poll shows.

The survey shows that:

The Business Council's statement on the survey.

Even registered Democrats represented in the state Assembly by a Democrat indicated strong support for tort reform. These respondents said that: too many lawsuits (67.4 percent); they would support a cap on non-economic damages (55.4 percent); they think higher than average awards hurt the economy (63.2 percent); they would support a cap on pain and suffering if it lowers health care costs (55.7 percent).

The tort reform movement in New York gained momentum after The Business Council's research affiliate, The Public Policy Institute, published its landmark 1998 report 'An Accident and a Dream.' The report showed that:

NYCJR supports a range of reforms, including:

There have been indications this year that tort reform is gaining momentum.

In early March, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said tort reform could produce savings that would help all of society, especially municipalities that need savings to cope with extraordinary fiscal pressure. And the Senate has already approved a long-time tort-reform priority: repeal of the state's controversial "vicarious liability" law, under which companies that lease cars can be held liable for unlimited damages if the cars are in accidents, regardless of fault.