The bill as it stands has serious problems -- but addressing them shouldn't be complicated.
Benjamin C. Zipursky
Jan. 22, 2023
Gov. Kathy Hochul apparently remains in a state of indecision about whether to sign the Grieving Families Act, a major overhaul of New York’s wrongful-death statute. The bill was first passed in June of 2022, but the governor was not able to decide by the year’s end, so she persuaded the state Senate to give her until January 30 to deliberate.
The governor is right to be ambivalent. New York’s law is badly in need of liberalization; it is perhaps the most regressive in the nation, and the Senate and Assembly were almost unanimous in passing this bill. Nonetheless, the insurance, medical, and business communities protesting its risks to New Yorkers are not crying wolf: The bill as it stands has deep flaws, and there is no reason to trust – as legislators sometimes propose – that the courts will be able to deal with the problems.
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