We addressed this bill in July 2022 when it was passed by the New York Legislature last year and sent to the Governor for signature. The bill would add wrongful death compensation for the value of “grief or anguish caused by a decedent’s death,” a type of damages never before found in New York law. Under current law, and for the past 176 years, the measure of damages has been the loss of economic support or other benefit resulting from the decedent’s death. The law would expand the statute of limitations and would apply retroactively to every pending lawsuit.
In an Op-Ed to the New York Daily News on January 30, 2023, Governor Hochul made clear her objections to the Act as written, while agreeing with the plaintiffs’ bar on the need to change existing law:
The Governor further commented that what was missing in the Legislature’s process “was a serious evaluation of the impact of these massive changes on the economy, small businesses, individuals, and the state’s complex health care system.” The Op-Ed continued:
While this is a breath of fresh air from an unexpected source, we note Governor Hochul’s total omission of the potential effect on liability insurers, the premiums needed to meet these expanded liabilities, and the effect on the future availability of insurance for New York businesses and individuals. Perhaps that was a step too far for the Governor.