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ACCESSWIRE
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Tribeca Capital Group LLC: New York's Adult Survivors Act and Its Progeny

The Adult Survivors Act: Paving a way Forward for Justice and Healing

NEW YORK CITY, NY / ACCESSWIRE / April 16, 2024 / It is a cruel twist that victims of sexual abuse and misconduct often suffer three injuries: The endured sexual abuse or misconduct; the threat of retaliation if they told anyone; and the thought they may not have recourse through the civil justice system. This has constructed a brick wall of the statute of limitations that often stands before the victim even before they are emotionally ready to move forward. This has been the case for many of those who have been involved in sexual misconduct cases like MacLaren Hall and Rikers Island.

Statutes of Limitation Fail Victims of Sexual Misconduct
In many other contexts, the statute of limitations performs a legitimate service. It's the state's way of bringing a legal matter to a close, recognizing that evidence may be difficult to find as time passes and memories fade. Innocent defendants otherwise might never have relief from the threat of litigation. But it also cuts off redress for victims who were too young to act, too traumatized, or just didn't realize they had been victimized.

Over the years, in the case of sexual abuse or sexual misconduct, states have learned that placing time limits for bringing lawsuits often does not serve the ends of justice. A statute of limitations must be applied differently depending on circumstances, particularly taking into account the age of the victim or the power dynamics between an abuser and a victim. They've come to recognize that a tormentor will dominate and intimidate a victim into believing she would suffer retaliation if she made accusations. Consequently, victims often fail to act and miss their window of opportunity. Some were so traumatized they repressed the painful memories until something happened that jarred loose those nightmares.

New York's Adult Survivors Act
Some states have abolished the statute of limitations. Others have allowed an extended period for people who were children (usually under 18 years) when the misconduct occurred. In many states, the limitation period doesn't begin to run until the offense is discovered.

In New York, before 2019, the statute of limitations for civil suits of sexual misconduct was three years, forcing the plaintiff to bring suit within the three years that the sexual misconduct occurred. That year, New York extended the limitations period for civil suits arising from sexual misconduct suffered by adults to 20 years. Since the extension was not retroactive, the victims of sex crimes that occurred after 2019 had 20 years to bring a civil suit, but those who had been victimized before 2019 were held to the three-year period.

Also in 2019, New York passed the Child Victims Act, which revived the limitations period for sex abuse survivors. This allowed child sex abuse survivors to bring a civil lawsuit against abusers and the institutions that were supposed to protect them, to take civil action until the survivor reached the age of 55. However, it also opened up the opportunity between the periods between January 2019 to August 2021 to bring a lawsuit to court, no matter what age of the victim and what year.

Recognizing the inequity between the two bills, New York amended its statutes to revive the limitation period for adult victims for whom the limitation period had already run. The legislation called the Adult Survivors Act (ASA), modeled on the Child Victims Act, opened up a lookback period that allowed adult victims to file a civil suit between November 24, 2022, and November 24, 2023.

The ASA proved popular. Ultimately, plaintiffs filed more than 3,000 suits under the ASA. Defendants included high-profile entertainers like Bill Cosby, Axl Rose, Jamie Foxx, Cuba Gooding Jr., Sebastian Chacon, Sean "Diddy" Combs, and Russell Brand.

Political figures were not immune. Former governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Eric Adams, former mayor and US Attorney Rudy Giuliani, and former president Donald Trump are defending ASA lawsuits.

Plaintiffs did not spare institutional defendants. The single most prevalent defendant in cases filed under the ASA is the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, which appears in more than 400 lawsuits. Hospitals, doctors, and other medical providers were also favorite targets, appearing more than 300 times.

Even though the window for potential plaintiffs has closed under New York's Adult Survivors Act, those who were victimized in New York City might still bring suit under the City's Victims of Gender Motivated Violence Protection Act (GMVA). The GMVA was initially passed in 2000. The city council later created a two-year lookback period that runs through February 28, 2025.

The ASA Changed the Civil Lawsuit Landscape for Victims
The ASA seems to have opened the floodgates for legislation nationwide.

California, in 2022, has also passed the Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act, which opened up what is now a three-year lookback period for adults who suffered sexual abuse after January 1, 2009. It expires on December 31, 2024. The California Act also includes a one-year lookback window for bringing a civil suit on claims against defendants that covered up sexual misconduct-that period closed on December 31, 2023.

Other states have followed suit. Maine, Nevada, and Vermont have indefinitely eliminated or suspended the statute of limitations. Several states, including Colorado and Louisiana, have lookback periods that expire in 2024 or 2025.

These states previously had a look back window, now closed, that allowed sex abuse survivors to file a claim:

Arkansas

Arizona

California

Delaware

Georgia

Hawaii

Michigan

New Jersey

North Carolina

Washington D.C.

Minnesota

In addition to opening up a lookback window for filing lawsuits, many states have raised the age limits for bringing lawsuits based on sex abuse suffered as a child.

Strong support appears to exist for reviving or extending New York's Adult Survivors Act for another year. Supporters include the Act's original sponsors, and talks are said to be underway. In the meantime, New York's first civil trials are set to begin this month.

Tribeca Capital Group LLC. has assisted hundreds of abuse survivors from MacLaren Hall and Rikers Island abuse cases with forthcoming lawsuits. They encourage other victims to come forward and fight for fair compensation. For more information please call (866) 388-2288 or by emailing bbraun@tribecacares.com.

Help is available for those who have been victimized sexually as an adult or child. Being abused is not a choice: victims of sexual abuse are forced to live with the shame, embarrassment, emotional distress and mental pain and suffering, of someone else's horrific choice.

Resources for sexual assault survivors are available. The National Sexual Assault Hotline operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) provides confidential support from trained staff members and can assist with finding local healthcare resources, help talk through what happened, and offer referrals for long-term support.

Call (800) 656-HOPE (4673) to be connected with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

CONTACT:
Tribeca Capital Group LLC:
Bradley Braun
bbraun@tribecacares.com

SOURCE: Tribeca Capital Group LLC



View the original press release on accesswire.com

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