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ATRA Calls Silver’s Sentence ‘Worthy of His Crimes’

Urges NY Lawmakers to Pass Asbestos Transparency Legislation, Says AG Schneiderman Should Investigate Fraud by Asbestos Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

The American Tort Reform Association today called the sentencing of former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver “substantial and worthy of his crimes, and it may help deter widespread corruption in Albany and the ‘double-dipping’ fraud that asbestos plaintiffs’ lawyers regularly perpetrate in the NYCAL.”

“ATRA had spotlighted Mr. Silver’s obvious conflicts of interest for years, so we’re certainly pleased that federal corruption charges were finally brought against him, leading to a conviction on all counts and today’s sentence of 12 years in prison with a 1.75 million fine,” said ATRA president Tiger Joyce.

“But New Yorkers should be troubled by ethics laws that are so weak they effectively enabled Mr. Silver to serve in Albany for decades as a hired gun for the plaintiffs’ bar, reliably killing any meaningful tort reform bills that could have broadly served taxpayers’ interests,” Joyce continued.

“Rather than support reasonable limits on civil liability that in turn could have promoted stronger economic and job growth, Mr. Silver worked primarily to maximize the profitability of one of the crumbling Empire State’s wealthiest special interests – personal injury lawyers.

“Fortunately, with Mr. Silver now out of the way, New York lawmakers can begin to take steps to put businesses and their employees ahead of limousine-riding plaintiffs’ lawyers,” added Joyce. “Legislation has been introduced in both the Assembly and the Senate that can bring much needed transparency to asbestos litigation and bankruptcy trust claims in New York, thereby limiting what many believe to be rampant fraud.

“Lawmakers should move swiftly to pass this transparency legislation, and Governor Cuomo should sign it into law,” Joyce urged, referencing New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“Meanwhile, if shamelessly partisan Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants to give up his unconstitutional assault on the First Amendment rights of those who question his party’s climate change policies, he could investigate real fraud perpetrated by plaintiffs’ lawyers who coach their clients to lie about which asbestos products they were exposed to and when, suborning perjury to win higher contingency fees.”

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