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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dave pushing plan to feed lawyers' greed

Dave pushing plan to feed lawyers' greed
The New York Post by BRENDAN SCOTT - June 12, 2010

ALBANY, NY -- Gov. Paterson is quietly planning to hand the state's powerful trial lawyers a massive payday by gutting a two-decade-old cap on legal fees from medical-malpractice awards, The Post has learned. The proposal, which sources believe will be looked upon favorably by the Democratic-controlled Legislature, would raise the attorney's share of malpractice awards by as much as 50 percent, two sources said. The state Trial Lawyers Association has pushed for a fee hike since the current cap was put in place under then-Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1986 to curb a meteoric rise in malpractice-insurance premiums that threatened the state's medical community. The group, which spends about $2 million in Albany each year on campaign donations and lobbying expenses, has demanded the windfall in exchange for its support for a "package" of medical-malpractice legislation that Paterson hopes to get passed before lawmakers leave town, the sources said. "Like many things that happen at the end of session, this is an attempt -- under the rubric of reforming 'med mal' -- to give a present to the trial lawyers," said a person briefed on the proposal. "At a time when everybody else is taking cuts, they've got their hands out," said a second person familiar with the plan. "Give me a break!" Both the Assembly and the Senate are now led by lawyers -- Speaker Sheldon Silver in the Assembly and Majority Leader John Sampson in the Senate. The hike would send millions of dollars in new fees flowing into some of the state's most politically influential personal-injury law firms, including Weitz & Luxenberg, where Silver (D-Manhattan) is employed, and Belluck & Fox, where Sampson (D-Brooklyn) serves "of counsel." It would also be a boon for lawyers at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, the prominent Long Island firm that employs the governor's father, Basil Paterson. Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook declined to comment on the proposal. ''We will not comment on any discussions staff have had about legislation we haven't even drafted yet,'' Hook said Paterson's top counsel, Peter Kiernan, has circulated details of the proposal in the last few days and told interested groups to expect a draft by early next week, a source said. For years, insurance companies, hospitals and doctors have fought any increase, on the grounds that it could hurt victims of malpractice by taking a bite out of their awards. More likely, they say, it would further drive up already sky-high insurance premiums paid by doctors and hospitals. Current law caps attorney fees on a five-tier sliding scale that drops as awards increase. For instance, attorneys can collect up to 30 percent on judgments of less than $250,000 but can claim no more than 10 percent of awards of more than $1.25 million. The new proposal would nearly double each threshold to account for inflation since the cap was enacted 24 years ago, according to an analysis of the plan. It would slash altogether the cap on the top tier, meaning lawyers can claim 15 percent of the biggest awards, instead of the current 10 percent. If approved, lawyers would reap $1.5 million in fees on a $10 million judgment, up from $1 million under the current statute. An award totaling $900,000 would garner $225,000 in legal fees, compared to $180,000 now.


ANTI -GREED said...

Instead of the lawyers getting less money, they're now looking to get more money...why am I not surprised by this article..GREED.. GREED.. GREED and more GREED= LAWYERS!!

Anonymous said...

Hunting season!!!!!

T Finnan said...

Follow the money and it goes to Silver and Samson through their law firms and the contributions from other lawyers and to Cuomo's Treasury. Heads up, on this lawyer enrichment scam orchestrated by Cuomo using his house dog, Paterson, indentured under Cuomo's thumb by threat of prosecution by the other Cuomo lap dog, Judith Kaye. Wink, wink, Paterson supports this to reward Cuomo's contributing lawyer buddies while at the same time, Cuomo blusters and poses with fake indignation. You can't blame Cuomo, he was blustering against it and now that he's Governor, Silver and Samson are blocking repeal.

Simple test: Cuomo could protect the People and keep doctors in this State by timely action. (check out ob/gyn malpractice insurance NY on web and then you'll know why your doctor left). Presently, Cuomo has a criminal complaint against Samson for soliciting bribes and most likely taking the money. Cuomo could ask for Samson's arrest and then obtain an indictment. Judge Cuomo by what he does and has done and not his bluster and facade.

Anonymous said...

The S/S ( Silver /Sampson) are at work against the people! And Andy Cuomo goes along for the ride on our dime, why not he's a lawyer! Our new rulers the lawyers/Judges!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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