New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is still dug in to protect the state’s ultra-harsh law holding auto lessors liable for accidents involving the cars they lease, although it’s had a devastating effect on car leasing in the Empire State (Jun. 9, 2003 and links from there). Here’s the New York Daily News blasting him in a recent editorial:
The Senate wants to abolish vicarious liability, bringing New York into line with 49 other states, but Silver’s Assembly wants to have car companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars into an insurance pool that would cover accidents in leased cars. The trial lawyers are all for it because the pool would give them lots of money to grab, cash that would come from drivers in the form of higher leasing fees. And who are the trial lawyers? Arthur Luxenberg is the group’s second vice president, while Perry Weitz serves on the board of directors. And who are they? They’re the name partners of Weitz & Luxenberg, the law firm that lists Silver as of counsel.
The law “costs consumers more than $130 million a year and has led to a 36 percent decline in the number of vehicles leased in New York each year, according to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance) and the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA).” (“Vicarious liability costs New York consumers and businesses millions”, Business Council of New York State, Jun.). “More than 19 automakers and every major retail bank in New York have stopped or curtailed car leasing. …In addition, [according to trade groups], vicarious liability has contributed to the closing of 70 leasing companies since September 2000.” (“N.Y.’s Vicarious Liability Costly for Consumers and Auto Dealers”, Insurance Journal, Jul. 19). For more, see the New York State Auto Dealers Association website.