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Debate heats up over proposed changes to consumer protection laws in NY

New York is facing a heated debate over proposed changes to its consumer protection laws, as Governor Kathy Hochul and state legislators push for updates. A key proposal aims to increase the minimum statutory damage from $50 to $1,000 per plaintiff, a move Mobilization for Justice believes is necessary to ensure businesses are held accountable. Critics, however, warn that the changes could lead to a surge in frivolous lawsuits, putting an undue burden on businesses.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Opponents like those from the Lawsuit Reform Alliance, argue that the proposal could transform minor class action lawsuits into significant financial threats for businesses. The concern is that businesses might opt to settle out of court to avoid potentially devastating legal fees, thereby increasing costs for everyone. This perspective highlights worries that the reform could incentivize unnecessary litigation over minor grievances.

Supporters of the reform, counter that judicial safeguards are in place to prevent abuse of the system and that frivolous lawsuits represent only a fraction of consumer protection cases. The proposed legislation also includes provisions for awarding attorneys’ fees to prevailing plaintiffs, which advocates argue will deter baseless claims while bolstering legitimate ones. As discussions continue, both sides of the debate are focused on balancing consumer protection with the potential impact on New York businesses.