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December 17, 2014- The NY Daily News, in an Op-Ed, points out how State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who received at least $700,000 in salary a year from a large personal injury law firm, and perhaps others, has blocked any tort reform legislation. As a result, types of civil lawsuits banned elsewhere in the country are still allowed in New York.
The essay states, “In his 20-plus years as speaker of the state Assembly, Sheldon Silver has been the trial lawyers’ undisputed best friend in New York government.
He has used his clout both to block any hope of tort reform in the Legislature and to advance the careers of plaintiff-friendly judges.
For much of that time, Silver has also collected a six-figure income from Weitz & Luxenberg — one of New York’s biggest and most aggressive filers of personal-injury lawsuits — without clearly disclosing what he does for that money.
What is clear for the world to see is the damage that alliance has wreaked — as New York was named the nation’s No. 1 “judicial hellhole” on Tuesday by the American Tort Reform Foundation.
Claiming that dubious honor were the city-based courts that handle the ongoing flood of asbestos litigation, decades after use of the material virtually disappeared.
In no other jurisdiction, the foundation said, “is the plaintiffs’ bar more brazenly favored by the judges presiding over (asbestos) litigation than it is in New York City.””