Ortt recognized for efforts to reform lawsuit lending industry

Posted 24 October 2018 at 9:09 am

Provided photo: State Sen. Rob Ortt accepts the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York’s Guardian of Civil Justice Award on Tuesday in Albany at the alliance’s fifth annual meeting.

ALBANY – State Sen. Rob Ortt (R-North Tonawanda) on Tuesday was awarded the Guardian of Civil Justice Award by the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York for his role in sponsoring legislation that would reform the state’s lawsuit lending landscape.

Sen. Ortt is the sponsor of Senate Bill 3911A, which would reform New York State’s lucrative lawsuit lending industry. Currently, the practice of lawsuit lending is unregulated, which has led to horror stories involving shady business practices. The absence of any regulation regarding personal lawsuit loans has created instances where interest rates reached upwards of 124 percent. This rate is nearly five time the limit set by New York State for criminal lawsuits.

“New York State already has a reputation as one of the most litigious states in the country,” Ortt said. “By encouraging lawsuits with these questionable funding practices, lawsuit lenders are creating further congestion in our state’s courtrooms for their own personal gain. While there are certain situations where the lending of these loans is necessary, in many cases, the consumer ends up being taken advantage of by the lender. This legislation is aimed directly at addressing that.”

Sen. Ortt’s legislation would see the interest of lawsuit loans capped at 18 percent while outlining interest guidelines in an effort to protect consumers entering loan agreements.

“This industry shouldn’t be exempt from oversight or consumer protection,” Ortt said. “This isn’t the wild west. As legislators, we have a duty to step in and protect residents when they are being taken advantage of. We must find a balance between allowing an industry to operate freely, while also placing just enough regulation on it to protect consumers who may be in a vulnerable situation.”

This year, Senate Bill 3911A passed the Senate. However, Democrats in the Assembly did not act upon it.

“I want to thank the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York for awarding me this year’s Guardian of Civil Justice Award, and I look forward to continuing our work to get this legislation passed through the Legislature and to the governor,” Ortt said.

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