The Firm You Go to When the 
Stakes Are High

New York’s Child Victims Act

In 2019, the New York Legislature took a landmark step in protecting the rights of victims of childhood sexual abuse by extending the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse lawsuits. Under the New York Child Victims Act (CVA), victims now have until the age 55 to sue the parties responsible for their abuse (by comparison, the old statute of limitations required child sex abuse victims to file suit by the time they turned 21). In lengthening the time period for survivor lawsuits, the CVA represents an unprecedented effort to hold accountable large and powerful institutions that negligently supervised child abusers and failed to take corrective action when abuse was reported.

The CVA demonstrates a more sophisticated understanding of how trauma affects survivors of childhood sexual abuse. It can take many years, even decades, for abuse victims to come to terms with the harm done to them. Many victims repress their abuse, or experience feelings of fear, shame, and humiliation so extreme that taking action against their abuser seems like an overwhelming task. By extending the time period for these victims to recognize and seek compensation for their psychological and physical injuries, the CVA allows victims a measure of justice previously unavailable to the majority of adults abused as children.

Key Provisions of New York’s CVA

The CVA has several key provisions for extending the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse. First, the CVA extends the statute of limitations for filing criminal charges for sexual abuse until the age of 28. Second, the CVA extends the statute of limitations for filing civil claims for sexual abuse until the age of 55. Third, the CVA provides individuals who experienced sexual abuse before the age of 18, and were previously precluded from filing claims by the state’s statute of limitations, with a one-year window to file child sexual abuse charges regardless of their current age. The one-time, one-year window applies even if the victim had already filed a lawsuit that was dismissed upon the grounds that it violated the statute of limitations.

The new one-year period will begin on August 14, 2019 (six months after the Governor signed the CVA) and will run through August 14, 2021. The window to file New York child sex abuse lawsuits was extended until August 14, 2021 by Governor Cuomo as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time period, any victim, regardless of age, may file a lawsuit against the persons or entities responsible for his or her abuse. The CVA also eliminates the “notice of claim” requirement, which previously mandated that any person intending to file a personal injury lawsuit against a municipal entity first file a notice of claim within 90 days of the incident.

Who is Eligible to File a Claim under the CVA?

Under the CVA, anyone who satisfies the following critera can file a lawsuit against a perpetrator of sexual abuse: (1) the abusive activity began before the victim was 18 years of age; (2) the sexual abuse occurred in New York state; and (3) the victim suffered physical, psychological or emotional damage as a result of the abuse. Any victim who previously filed a claim that was dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired may also file a new lawsuit under the CVA.

Which Parties are Subject to Claims Under the CVA?

The CVA allows victims of sexual abuse to file claims against both private and public institutions that may have contributed to the abuse. This can include hospitals, schools, religious organizations, youth groups, athletic programs, or any other entity that was responsible for employing or otherwise exercising supervision and control over an abuser. According to the legislation, lawsuits can be filed “against every party whose intentional or negligent acts or omissions are alleged to have resulted in the commission” of sexual abuse against children. This broad language opens the door to holding accountable all parties responsible for enabling such abuse.

Opposition to the Passage of the CVA

The Catholic Church in New York has voiced opposition to the enactment of the CVA. A flood of litigation against the New York Catholic Diocese is anticipated in response to the passage of this legislation. Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in New York publicly stated that while they are in favor of the CVA, such a bill should emphasize helping victims and avoid “breaking” the Church. The passage of the CVA preceded the disclosure by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York of sexual abuse by 115 priests and five deacons in New York in April 2019. The revelation was significant since the New York archdiocese has been slow to publish the names of priests accused of sexual misconduct, while other dioceses have been actively identifying such individuals.

But it is not just the Catholic Church that should anticipate litigation following the passage of this legislation. The CVA is expected to have a far-reaching impact on nearly all public and private institutions that work with children. New York school districts, in particular, have voiced concern about their future liability exposure. In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District settled lawsuits against two faculty members for $22 million in 2018. The District paid $88 million in 2016 and $139 million in 2014 to settle prior lawsuits.

The Significance of the CVA

By instituting a one-year look-back window, New York became one of just a handful of states that allow victims of all ages to file civil claims for sexual abuse. With the passage of the CVA, New York joins nine other states and Washington, D.C. in revamping its laws governing the statute of limitations for civil suits in sexual abuse cases. The CVA, and similar legislation in other states, allows victims to seek justice when they are psychologically and emotionally prepared to disclose their abuse. Statistics from Child USA indicate that the majority of sexual abuse victims do not disclose the abuse, if at all, until the age of 52. The CVA also represents a meaningful opportunity for victims of sexual abuse to receive restitution since large institutions are in a position to compensate survivors for their negligent actions. These laws have been praised by legislators, victims’ rights advocates and survivors for allowing those who have been excluded by the judicial system to finally seek justice and compensation for their injuries.

Levy Konigsberg LLP is a nationally recognized law firm that has handled all types of negligence cases for more than three decades. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact our New York sex abuse lawyers for a free consultation by calling (800) 315-3806 or submit an email inquiry.

A TEAM COMMITTED TO DOING WHAT IS RIGHT

Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced mesothelioma lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.

Know the Difference

Committed to Doing What's Right
  • Over $3 Billion Won

    We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

  • There's No Case Too Big

    Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.

  • Trial Attorneys

    Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.

  • A Thought Leader in the Industry

    Our firm's knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.

  • Access to World Class Resources

    Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.

  • Changing the World for Good

    We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.

Thousands of Clients Helped

Hear What They Have to Say
  • Professional, responsive and very good at their jobs.

    “From the first visit to my home, to my last visit to the office to collect my settlement, I was very happy with the services provided by this firm. They are professional, very responsive and very good ...”

    - Lisa Ross
  • They have truly gone above and beyond.

    “I have been beyond pleased how Levy Konigsberg is handling my matter. They answer my questions in a timely matter and when warranted, ease my worries and concerns. They have truly gone above and ...”

    - Anne Fahey
  • I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern!

    “Selecting a Law firm to represent me was one of the biggest decisions I've had to make in my life. I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern, and he exceeded all my expectations.”

    - Dennis McGowan
  • With this team on my side we came out on top.

    “Levy Konigsberg and team are a group of men and women that give their all, down to the receptionist. I had a case that was almost unbeatable but with this team on my side we came out on top. They keep ...”

    - Angie Garrido
  • Very happy with our settlement.

    “My husband and I were VERY happy with our experience with this firm. They were always caring and really helped us go through this in a very hard time in our lives .We continue to be in touch with the ...”

    - Lori Rosa
  • Wow is all I can say.

    “It has been a few years now but I needed to post this. My dad suffered so much from Mesothelioma. My brother looked into the law and our rights. Unfortunately he died also before anything was done. It ...”

    - Carol N.
  • Their dedication to receive the highest results for their clients was amazing.

    “Working with Levy Koningsberg LLP was a very positive experience. Their professionalism and curiosity was outstanding. I was a pleasure working with this firm. Their dedication to receive the highest ...”

    - Emily DeRogatis
  • Such a great team!

    “The whole team at Levy, Konigsberg LLP have been extremely professional and kind during our most difficult time. They keep you informed during the process, check in often asking if there are any ...”

    - Kevin Kober
  • We definitely got the right law firm!

    “Levy Konigsberg represented my daughter Linda, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at 16 years old. She endured many surgeries and chemotherapy including HIPEC. She traveled the country seeking ...”

    - Mark Wells
  • Levy Konigsberg continued to help my family fight for the justice my father deserves.

    “Levy Konigsberg was there for my father as soon as he was diagnosed with mesothelioma they helped him get medical treatment in another state that specializes in his condition and even provided housing ...”

    - Stephanie Vitale
LEVY KONIGSBERG IN THE NATIONAL MEDIA

CHOOSE LEVY KONIGSBERG

Start with a FREE Consultation
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.