New York Governor Vetoes Change to Wrongful Death Statute, Nixing Damages for Emotional Suffering

ALBANY, N.Y.—New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has again vetoed legislation that would have changed the state’s wrongful death statute by letting families recover damages for emotional suffering from the death of a loved one.

Ms. Hochul declined Friday to sign the Grieving Families Act for the second time this year. In a veto memo, the Democrat said she favors changing the statute but the bill lawmakers sent her had the “potential for significant unintended consequences.”

Among Ms. Hochul’s concerns, she said, were the possibility of increased insurance premiums for consumers and a risk to the financial well-being of public hospitals and other health care facilities.

New York is one of just a few states that account only for economic loss in wrongful death lawsuits. Almost all states allow family members to be compensated for emotional loss.

The head of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, David Scher, called Ms. Hochul’s veto “a grave miscarriage of justice.”

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Gov. Kathy Hochul by Marc A. Hermann is licensed under flickr Metropolitan Transportation Auth