The Problem

Lawsuit Pen_cropped

The Problem: Too Many Lawsuits

Lawsuits quote

Why are lawsuits so prevalent in New York? Simply put, New York’s civil justice system is riddled with archaic statutes and loopholes which personal injury attorneys use to their own financial advantage. Low standards of evidence, countless private rights of action, and ineffective safeguards against lawsuit abuse contribute to making New York a haven for lawsuits. As Harvard President Emeritus David Bok once said, “Lawsuits often have their greatest effect on people who are neither parties to litigation, nor even aware that it is going on.” We all bear the cost of our out-of-control legal system.


Jobs graph icon_blue_highresLOST JOBS: Excessive litigation and lawsuit abuse kills jobs, and drives companies and investment out of the state. A study by the Pacific Research Institute found just one significant lawsuit reform could create 86,000 jobs statewide. Another study by the U.S. Chamber of commerce found that improving our legal climate could create between 74,000 and 201,000 new jobs.


Healthcare Icon 2_blue_hi res

HIGHER HEALTHCARE COSTS: Litigation drives tremendous costs in our healthcare system and gives rise to the practice of “defensive medicine,” where doctors order unnecessary (and sometimes risky) tests in order to avoid being sued. Nationwide, New York’s medical liability payouts are the highest in the nation – more than three times the national average. In fact New York accounted for 20% of all payouts in the entire nation in 2013. This translates to astronomical insurance premiums which drive doctors to states like Texas and California, impacting New Yorkers’ access to healthcare.


Taxes icon_blue_high res

HIGHER TAXES: The state and local governments – and ultimately taxpayers -bear tremendous costs because of New York’s imbalanced legal system. Lawsuits and legal judgments cost New Yorkers between $1.5 and $2 billion each year, and taxpayers are hit again when companies leave the state, taking jobs and tax dollars with them.

The Solution: Common Sense Lawsuit Reform

Justice for all

We need to restore balance to our lawsuit system – it’s not working for New Yorkers and it’s not working for New York.

  • Raise the bar for litigation to keep frivolous lawsuits from clogging our courts
  • Higher penalties for attorneys who file meritless lawsuits
  • Reasonable limits on civil liability

Issue papers icon_blue_hi res

Read our five-point roadmap for fixing our civil justice system

Explore our policy priorities