NY Governor Vetoes Grieving Families Act

In June 2022, on the final night of the New York legislative session, both the Senate and Assembly passed the Grieving Families Act, legislation that would completely overhaul wrongful death claims in New York by permitting recovery for emotional damages and expanding the class of persons (“close family members”) who can seek recovery for a fatality.  The bill was delivered to the Governor at the very end of 2022, and expired on January 30, 2023, without the Governor signing the bill into law. 

It would appear that the many voices in opposition were heard as in her press release, veto memo, and other public reporting, the Governor cites the burden and increased costs on families, small businesses, and New York’s health care industry as reasons for not signing this monumental legislation in its current form.  The Governor has voiced support for a more limited reform of New York’s Wrongful Death Statute, which may include limiting claims for grief and emotional damages to parents who suffered the loss of a child, implementing a cap on emotional damages, not applying new legislation retroactively to pending claims, not extending the statute of limitations, and excluding claims for medical malpractice.
It is anticipated this issue will remain a legislative priority in 2023. We will continue to monitor this legislation and provide updates as they become available. 

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