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Lawsuits a burden on NY small businesses, it may get worse

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Another misbegotten ‘reform’ from the folks behind the no-bail law

Even the pandemic didn’t slow the growth of “consumer” class-action suits in New York state, which have tripled over the last three years and are on track to set a new record in 2021 — yet another hurdle for businesses looking to recover from a year of hell.

That’s the takeaway from “Class Action Chaos: The Rise of Extortionate Consumer Class Action Lawsuits in New York,” a new report from the nonpartisan New York Civil Justice Institute.

The complaints center on fuzzy issues like allegedly false advertising, and most are filed by a handful of lawyers who mainly seem to be looking to get paid to go away. In fact, one lawyer has filed more than 200 of the roughly 750 suits since 2015.

As the report notes, the claims “range from the absurd to the ridiculous. Do New Yorkers think a 200-tablet bottle of Advil will have more pills based on the size of the bottle? Are they concerned about the type of cocoa in their Cocoa Pebbles? Are they buying ‘Yumions’ snacks for the health benefits of onions?” 

As Tom Stebbins of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York notes, “You would be hard-pressed to find a reasonable person, as the courts often note, who hired an attorney to sue over vanilla flavoring or a bag of chips. New York is the new class-action hot spot because laws meant to protect consumers have become a cash cow for settlement-chasing law firms.”

At the current pace, the state will see 340 of these suits this year, smashing the previous record. And it could get worse if the Legislature passes the proposed Consumer and Small Business Protection Act, which (as the report notes) “would subject businesses of all sizes to a broader range” of these suits.

Lawmakers should be looking to rein in this kind of legal blackmail, not encourage it. New York’s small businesses have enough troubles as it is.

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Opinion

New book takes lessons on aging from our seniorcelebs

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New book takes lessons on aging from our seniorcelebs

Age should bring wisdom

Joe Boredom and Nancy Pelousy made age the new “in.”

So now comes Steven Petrow, of the Washington Post’s “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old: A Highly Judgmental, Unapologetically Honest Accounting of All the Things Our Elders Are Doing Wrong.” The title’s longer than the Kensington Press book, which claims studios love golden vets with silver hair.

Jean Smart (70 in September) is in HBO’s something or other, Jane Fonda (83), Ellen Burstyn (88), Liam Neeson (69), Helen Mirren (75), Morgan Freeman (84), Harrison Ford (78). Alan Arkin, 87 co-emoting with Michael Douglas (77 in September).

The book says to trade kitsch for kvetch. And go outside your same antique circle since inter-generational friendships improve well-being. Color your hair? Uh-uh. Inky black roots telegraphs “I’m desperate!” Only give it a shot if your colorist is as good as Diane Sawyer’s.

And forget your chorus of aches and pains. Limit health talk to one single cocktail.

Creaking along: Dolly Parton, 75; Patti Smith, 74; Bruce Springsteen, 72 come September; Mark Harmon, 70, Sept. 2; Jill Biden, 70; Martha Stewart, 80 in August; Mitt Romney, 74; Chuck Grassley, 87; Mitch McConnell, 79. Oy, Mitch.

And for all of us on our next birthday, maybe a colonoscopy.

I spy . . . Madge

Where you were last week, I don’t know. Where Madonna was, I know. She was enjoying Immersive Van Gogh at Pier 36 . . . I also know about Bette Midler. “The Rose,” a tale of the high price of fame, which starred her as a self-destructive rocker (and got her an Oscar nom), is being remade starring Cynthia Erivo.

Welcome to New York City

Arizona’s Sen. Kyrsten Sinema dropped into NYC and dug in at the W hotel in Union Square. She had a broken foot. She wanted room service. Due to COVID the front desk said no. Along with our usual friendly warmth, they told her to order out . . . The Olympic games start next month. Biden’s iffy on attending in person. Right now the White House leans to NO — maybe because Biden himself leans . . . Chuck Schumer received five pairs of Father’s Day socks courtesy of his toddler grandson. With zero going on in the Senate, pay attention to Chuck’s ankles. He’ll be flashing them this week.

Film fiasco

The film “The Fortress 2” just wrapped filming in Puerto Rico. The elements were not kind to the cast of Bruce Willis, Shannen Doherty, “Desperate Housewives” Jesse Metcalfe and producer Randall Emmett, who’s about to marry Lala Kent of “Vanderpump Rules.” It was intermittent power outages on set and at their hotels. To make up for it, Noel Ashman, also celebrating his upcoming film “Baby and Max,” also celebrating a birthday, is also giving them a party Thursday at Noir.

Stray thoughts

One thought: Topping our historic year is our coming New York City election. Seems that for many voters it’s maybe not everyone’s pick — it’s not who we really really love — it’s dredging down to who we dislike the least. . . . And a comment from one of our top NY restaurateurs: “They’re not spending like they used to. It’s different. They’re cheaper.”


From a weary dad: “When I finally get taken to my heavenly rest, I want my ashes scattered over Bloomingdale’s. This way, maybe I could be sure that at least twice a week my daughter will visit me.”

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

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Opinion

Letters to the Editor — June 21, 2021

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Letters to the Editor — June 21, 2021

The Issue: Mayor de Blasio’s lack of response to rising crime and disorder in Washington Square Park.

Mayor de Blasio abandoned the city during his failed run for president, making him “the national idiot” (“DeB ‘didn’t see a problem’!?!” June 18).

The clueless progressive has abandoned the city again by failing to acknowledge the worst crime crisis since the 1970s or to do anything to protect the people who pay his and his wife’s hefty salaries.

Kathryn Donnelly

Queens

As a native New Yorker who did not flee the crime waves and lower quality of life during the 1970s-1990s, I’m am reconsidering (“Bloodshed, Bedlam & Clueless Blas,” Editorial, June 15).

Another criminal rampage beset Washington Square Park recently, ending in 14 shootings, two knifings, vicious assaults, attacks on businesses and more, as the NYPD was held at bay.

Mayor de Blasio’s answer to the depravity that went on in the park? A “natural” resolution will work things out, whatever that may mean.

If we had a choice between a natural resolution against the high crime rate or allowing the NYPD to do their job, I’ll choose the NYPD.

J. Marie Norris

Brooklyn

Our mayor has decided to turn a blind eye to the problem.

A curfew was suppose to be in place a week or two ago, but our mayor is holding the NYPD from performing its duties.

It is no longer safe to walk through the park or even around it after the sun is down. Assaults, drug use and loud music make it total mayhem there — a Sodom and Gomorrah at night, all because the mayor refuses to acknowledge the out-of-control situation.

What’s it going to take before he wakes up?

Joseph Comperchio

Brooklyn

So the residents around Washington Square Park are upset by the disorder? What did they expect?

They helped elect government officials who enacted no-bail reform, emptied half of Rikers Island, disbanded the anti-crime units and removed limited liability for the police.

Then there are prosecutors who will not prosecute and judges who are soft on criminals.

On top of that, the residents helped elect a doofus mayor — not once but twice.

Gary Layton

Interlaken, NJ

The Issue: A city-backed program that will give $1,250 per month to young homeless people.

A program backed by the city plans to give $1,250 a month to the homeless (“Young NYC homeless people to get $1,250 each month in city-backed study,” June 18).

The intentions are certainly noble, but here’s the problem: The homeless population in New York City has a very high percentage of drug addicts.

Where exactly do these fools think this money will be spent — on school supplies? Are you kidding me? Which genius came up with this idea?

Drug addicts will always spend any and all available cash on drugs. Period. That’s the nature of the desperation that addiction brings with it.

The recipients will not be held accountable for where the money is spent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the disaster this program will be.

Norman Gold

West Hempstead

Now a city-backed program will give young homeless people $1,250 per month to spend as they wish — more brilliant social engineering by the left.

Most homeless people have serious personality disorders, and no amount of money will get them off the street. We need homes and halfway homes — if you can get the homeless to actually stay in them.

Lloyd Zimet

Stuyvesant

The Issue: A city-backed program that will give $1,250 per month to young homeless people.

A program backed by the city plans to give $1,250 a month to the homeless (“Cash for young on streets,” June 19).

The intentions are certainly noble, but here’s the problem: The homeless population in New York City has a very high percentage of drug addicts.

Where exactly do these fools think this money will be spent — on school supplies? Are you kidding me? Which genius came up with this idea?

Drug addicts will always spend any and all available cash on drugs. Period. That’s the nature of the desperation that addiction brings with it.

The recipients will not be held accountable for where the money is spent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize the disaster this program will be.

Norman Gold

West Hempstead

Now a city-backed program will give young homeless people $1,250 per month to spend as they wish — more brilliant social engineering by the left.

Most homeless people have serious personality disorders, and no amount of money will get them off the street. We need homes and halfway homes — if you can get the homeless to actually stay in them.

Lloyd Zimet

Stuyvesant

Want to weigh in on today’s stories? Send your thoughts (along with your full name and city of residence) to [email protected]. Letters are subject to editing for clarity, length, accuracy and style.

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Opinion

Biden’s first foreign trip only showcased his own weakness

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Biden's first foreign trip only showcased his own weakness

“We’ve gotten a lot of business done on this trip,” Joe Biden declared in Geneva, the final stop on his first overseas tour as president. Not one reporter at the press conference called him on the absurd claim.

Of course, he started the “presser” after his sitdown with Russia’s Vladimir Putin by telling the press, “As usual, they gave me a list of who I’m going to call on” — broadcasting to the world the fact that his own staff doesn’t trust him not to embarrass himself.

Bumbling Biden is not a world leader who can command respect, let alone fear.

The much-ballyhooed jaunt ended with just two minor achievements: The United States and the European Union reached a truce in a long-running dispute over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus, in which the World Trade Organization had ruled both guilty. And America and Russia agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts after Putin had recalled his and “suggested” the other go home after Biden called the Russian tyrant a “killer.”

Biden’s gaffes made more headlines. At the G-7 meeting England hosted, Biden chided Prime Minister Boris Johnson for not introducing South Africa’s president when he already had — prompting laughs from the other leaders. And he capped his Geneva press conference by lashing out at CNN’s Kaitlan Collins, who called out to him as he exited after taking questions from just six reporters to ask why he was “so confident” Putin would “change his behavior.”

“I’m not confident he’ll change his behavior! What the hell? What do you do all of the time?” the prez exploded. “I said what will change their behavior is if the rest of the world reacted to them and they diminished their standing in the world.”

And there, in a nutshell, is the Biden Doctrine: Count on global opinion to move the bad guys to mend their ways.

Biden said he’d made “no threats” in his Putin sitdown, which ended hours earlier than expected. His pleas were personal: “I asked him how he’d feel if ransomware took over his pipelines,” he said. He wondered how Putin felt knowing the rest of the world understands Russia has interfered in other countries’ elections.

Reaching out to Vladimir Putin’s heart: What a pathetically naïve approach to foreign policy. Russia (and China and Iran) won’t abandon authoritarianism to win admiration from the “international community.” What matters to Putin is power, and Biden’s appeals only tell him that the leader of the Free World won’t stop him from grabbing it.

Heck, Biden handed Putin more in advance of the trip, waiving sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 project, which will make Europe more dependent on Russian energy and weaken Ukraine’s hand.

“America is back,” Biden proclaimed on every stop of the trip, including the NATO summit in Brussels. Back maybe, but with a clueless prez.

His handlers said his chief goal was to rally the G-7 and NATO around countering China, but he achieved nothing of substance there, just some supportive empty words, because Europe has little interest in confronting China and risking its money-making exports.

And Biden, ever seeking to be the un-Trump, won’t cross “the club,” as French President Emmanuel Macron called it, to which he now belongs. “America is back” really means the White House is back in the hands of the establishment and desperate to please the Euro elite by pretending that the world’s villains can be faced down with finger-wagging.

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