NYS Adult Survivor Act to once waive sexual abuse statute of limitations


The trend in New York State to grant relief for expired claims by waiving statutes of limitations in sexual abuse cases may continue. As its current session draws to a close, the New York State Legislature is considering legislation that would provide for a one-year statute of limitations ‘renaissance’ period during which adult sexual abuse survivors can sue. civil lawsuits against individuals, businesses and institutions, or even if the limitation period for claims has expired and / or if claims were previously rejected due to late filing. Entitled the “Adult Survivors Act” (S.66 / A.648), the bill recognizes that the current New York statute of limitations effectively prohibits persons eighteen years of age or older at the time of the alleged sexual assault from claiming civil remedy because the statute of limitations does not take into account the number of years that may elapse before survivors of adult sexual violence process the violence and come forward to confront their abusers.

This is not the first time that the New York legislature has sought to temporarily waive the statute of limitations for victims of abuse. In August 2019, New York enacted the Child Victims Act. The Child Victims Act also allowed a one-year “reinstatement” period of the statute of limitations for people who file civil child abuse complaints to file complaints against individuals and institutions, even if these requests had previously been barred or rejected due to late filing. In August 2020, the “revival period” of the Child Victims Act, which was originally scheduled to end in August 2020, was extended until August 13, 2021. More than five thousand cases were filed in the courts of the United States. New York State under the Child Victims Act, and many more expected to be filed within two and a half months to August 14e deadline.

Like the Child Victims Act, the Adult Survivors Act would establish special preference for lawsuits brought under the restoration of the limitation period and would require the Chief Administrative Judge of the Office of Courts Administration promulgates rules regarding the timely adjudication of claims reactivated by the act. If the Adult Survivors Act, which would allow a plaintiff to file a civil claim against any business or institution – such as a workplace, school, place of worship, doctor’s office, etc. – where the abuse took place is enacted, it will likely result in a similar, if not greater, number of cases.

© 2021 Epstein Becker & Green, PC All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 148

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