End New York State Vicarious Liability sign now

END VICARIOUS LIABILITY NOW

New York's so-called vicarious liability law affecting car leasing firms costs consumers more than $130 million a year and has led to a 36 percent decline in the number of vehicles leased in New York each year.

The auto groups said that car buyers and lessors in New York have paid an additional $132 million since automakers and banks began pulling out of leasing in May 2003 because of the liability exposure. These additional costs are derived from the extra sales taxes paid by consumers who were forced out of leasing and by the higher lease acquisition fees that New York consumers are charged.
More than 19 automakers and every major retail bank in New York have stopped or curtailed car leasing. Automakers still offering leases add additional charges to help offset the potential cost of vicarious liability lawsuits, the auto dealers claim.

The business groups reported that virtually every segment of the industry has seen a decrease in the number of vehicles leased. In 2003 new car and light truck leasing in New York decreased by 36 percent while the rest of the country experienced a decline of 18 percent. Minivans experienced a 52 percent drop, SUV leases declined 44 percent, and entry- level vehicles saw a 53 percent reduction in leases. The most dramatic change appeared in the mid-size pickup category with a reduction of 89 percent in leases.

In addition, the groups said, vicarious liability has contributed to the closing of 70 leasing companies since September 2000.

Leasing is a popular option for consumers and small business owners, allowing conservation of cash, lower payments and more frequent replacement into newer / safer vehicles.

In New York, over 25\% of new vehicle sales were leased, with many high-end and metropolitan dealers leasing 80\% of their vehicles.

More importantly, consumers are losing a viable option in controlling costs, which allowed them to transport their families in newer and safer vehicles.

GMAC, Ford Motor Credit, Porsche and Chase Financial have now ceased their leasing operations in New York State, with others ready to follow suit, while other companies have created acquisition charges to lessen their liability.

Under current New York law, if a vehicle is purchased, the owner is liable; if leased, lessee is liable but leasing company is also sued because its name is on the title and has "deep pockets."

New York is now the only state with unlimited vicarious liability. Connecticut and Rhode Island repealed their vicarious liability laws in 2003.

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Maryanne CameronBy:
Entertainment and MediaIn:
Petition target:
New York State Senate, Assembly, Governer

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