On November 24, 2022, the window opened for New York’s Adult Survivors Act claims.
The ASA established a one-year window in which survivors of sexual offenses who were 18 years of age or older at the time of the offense can file previously time-barred civil lawsuits.
The anticipated influx of claims and lawsuits may strike a broad range of businesses and organizations, including colleges and universities, fraternities, religious institutions, health care professionals, adult group homes, and others.
Six months after New York’s Adult Survivors Act (S66A) was signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul, the one-year window has opened during which survivors of adult sexual abuse may file civil claims against individuals and institutions that were once time barred by the applicable statute of limitations. The ASA follows the closure of the revival window opened as a result of New York’s Child Victims Act, which had a two-year window that permitted victims of childhood sex abuse to file previously time-barred claims. Unlike the CVA, which focused on victims under the age of 18, the ASA applies to victims who were 18 years of age or older at the time of the abuse. The shift in victim age suggests that potential targets will expand beyond the religious institutions and youth organizations hit so hard by the CVA.
The CVA resulted in the filing of more than 10,000 lawsuits across New York State, causing numerous institutions to seek bankruptcy protection including, in particular, various religious institutions throughout the state. It is anticipated the ASA will see a similar influx of claims and lawsuits. However, unlike the CVA, which had a significant impact on religious organizations, school districts, and civic organizations within the child care/child services sector, it is anticipated the ASA will likely impact a wider range of industries across the state.
The ASA revives claims for individuals who suffered physical, psychological or other injuries as a result of sexual offenses as defined under Article 130 of New York’s Penal Law. The ASA claims will be brought against the individual perpetrator and/or his or her employer, if applicable. In addition, those deemed responsible for the care and custody of individual victims at the time of the assault could be exposed to potential liability based on a failure to implement or enforce policies designed to protect these victims.
Broad Range of Businesses at Risk
Those likely to be impacted by the ASA include colleges, universities, and national fraternities, just to name a few. We are all aware of the staggering statistics surrounding women and sexual assault. Most studies report that 1 out of 6 women in America have been the victim or attempted victim of a sexual assault or rape. Many of these incidents occur during their college years when they are 18 or older. This is where the ASA comes in. Each of these assaults is now encompassed under the ASA, giving victims an opportunity to seek justice in the form of monetary compensation – regardless of how long ago the assaults occurred. Colleges, universities, and fraternities are just one example of the institutions potentially and likely impacted by the ASA. Physicians, medical offices, hospitals, adult group homes, retirement homes, and organizations providing services to the developmentally disabled population should all be preparing for what is to come.
In response to the enactment of the CVA, Goldberg Segalla established a team of attorneys positioned across the State of New York to defend companies, institutions and individuals facing lawsuits under the act. This team, which has and continues to defend more than 120 CVA claims, is considered an industry leader and stands ready to take on the challenges to be faced by clients as a result of the ASA.
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