In August 2020, the state of New York extended the time in which certain victims of child sex abuse are able to pursue a civil lawsuit. One exception to this extension has been carved our by judicial decree, however.
What is the New York Child Victims Act?
The New York Child Victims Act accomplished a trio of primary objectives:
- It allows child sex abuse survivors the ability to pursue a lawsuit against perpetrators until a survivor reaches the age of 55.
- It opens a one-year window of time for child sex abuse survivors of any age to file a lawsuit against perpetrators. The one-year window was set to expire on Aug.13, 2020.
- It revives certain claims that previously had been barred because of the New York statute of limitations.
Extension of time to file lawsuit
In 2020, the governor signed into law a one-year extension of the deadline that allows a person of any age to file a lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual abuse. The new deadline is Aug. 14, 2021. The law was enacted not long after the governor signed an executive order extending the deadline to Jan. 14, 2021.
Exception to and exemption from deadline extension
There is one major exception to the deadline extension that exempts a major entity in New York for the additional year otherwise allowing individuals of any age to file a lawsuit. The extension exempts the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester, pursuant to a determination make by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge. The judge determined that because the Diocese is in bankruptcy, the Aug. 13, 2020, deadline remained in place.
Given the extension, individuals who qualify for this additional time to file a lawsuit against a sex abuse perpetrator are wise to take action promptly. No real advantage is likely to be gained by waiting until closer to the deadline extension date to pursue a lawsuit.