Times Union: LETTERS: ‘Prove the Scaffold Law needs to be changed’

Saul Abrams in his letter (“Responsibility at heart of Scaffold Law issue,” June 15) says that what the cost to insurance companies is for so-called Scaffolding Law claims is irrelevant, and that it would suffice if there was a rebuttable presumption that the worker is not liable. There is a rebuttable presumption that the worker is not liable; as a trial lawyer for an uninsured landlord, we effectively used it.

If the worker is the proximate cause for his or her own injuries, the worker goes home empty-handed; this is not comparative negligence, but “no-caused,” sent away with no monetary award. In our case, the jury found the worker was the proximate cause of his own injuries. Whether the jury found that there was safety equipment available that the worker was too lazy to employ or otherwise chose not to, or whether the jury found that the worker was told not to work that day, or to at least wait for another worker to arrive so that he could work safely (all defenses that we successfully presented) is inapposite; the jury found he was the proximate cause and “no-caused” him.

The Times Union was right in its editorial (“Long story short; Resist industry pressure; it won’t be futile,” June 8): We must go back to the insurance industry’s misinformation that this law costs too much. That industry needs to prove it. And, while it is at it, the industry should also prove that medical malpractice cases cost a lot.

Let’s cut through the smoke-screen misinformation and prove the cost is so great that a law that protects workers and landlords must be changed. It need not.

- Bruce S. Trachtenberg, Niskayuna, Former Town Justice

Click here to read the letter in the Albany Times-Union.