According to preliminary data from Rockefeller College, localities in the state spend at least $1 billion a year on judgments and other costs of lawsuits.

What is striking is that no one has ever done a statewide tally of lawsuit costs throughout the state.  Researchers at Rockefeller College’s Local and Intergovernmental Studies program are undertaking the first-ever effort to find out the statewide cost of lawsuits against the state and local governments.

The research has been commissioned by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of NY, which Unshackle Upstate is a member of.  (The first part of the report, which came out in October 2011, can be viewed here.)  Our hope is that by quantifying the costs of legal defense, judgments, and lawsuit settlements, we can get state lawmakers to take action on important reform measures, such as reforming the so-called Scaffold Law.

Their final results are expected to come out this fall.