Hochul vetoes changes to the wrongful death law
Raga Justin is reporting for the Times Union Gov. Kathy Hochul January 30, vetoed the Grieving Families Act, legislation that would have drastically amended state law related to wrongful death civil claims. In a veto message, the governor said the Legislature passed it without full consideration of its impacts, but indicated she is open to negotiating a change in the current statute. The vetoed measure would have expanded the categories of people who could seek damages related to a wrongful death to include those suffering emotional anguish as well as economic losses. It would also have extended the two-year statute of limitations to bring a wrongful death case by 18 months. The governor wrote in an op-ed published in the Daily News that lawmakers never conducted "... a serious evaluation of the impact of these massive changes on the economy, small businesses, individuals, and the state's complex health care system." In her veto message, Hochul blamed the Legislature for failing to negotiate a scaled-down bill. When asked if she believed the Legislature had done its due diligence, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins noted its long legislative history and said the measure has been discussed innumerable times. The New York Trial Lawyers’ Association had strongly lobbied Hochul and her staff in support of the legislation and only a handful of lawmakers voted no — including state Sen. Neil Breslin, the head of the Senate’s Insurance Committee. State Attorney General Letitia James voiced her support. "The wrongful death laws in New York are antiquated, regressive, and must be changed," James said last week. Read more in the Times Union.