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What New York’s Adult Survivors Act Means for Employers and Institutions

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

During the last week of May, NY Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the Adult Survivors Act (ASA).  This new law which goes into effect November 24, 2022 provides a one-year look-back window for those who were sexually abused as an adult.  The ASA establishes a new section in the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules that permits adult victims of sexual abuse to file a lawsuit against their alleged abusers regardless of when the offenses occurred or if the former statute of limitations period has run. The ASA also provides that any revival claim is not subject to any order previously dismissing those claims as time-barred or for failure to file a notice of claim.

Many Sexual Abuse Cases Are Expected to Emerge

Undoubtedly, a new round of lawsuits alleging negligence claims against employers, churches, schools, and municipalities based upon hiring, supervision, and retention of the alleged perpetrators. Additionally, claims brought pursuant to the ASA will face the same challenges in defending Child Victim’s Act (CVA) cases, such as deceased witnesses or alleged perpetrators, lost or destroyed documentary evidence, and the general restraints of litigating claims based on decades-old conduct. Since the enactment of the CVA, over 9,000 claims were filed. It is expected that the volume of claims initiated pursuant to the ASA may exceed the number of claims filed under the CVA.

Since the ASA concerns adults, the new law will have an impact on NY businesses and institutions that actively or passively allowed sexual abusers to prey on other adults.  The new negligence claims will focus on the hiring, supervising and retention of those accused of abuse.  These new lawsuits will fundamentally alter how businesses hire, train, supervise, and retain employees.  Human Resource departments will be tasked with either creating or reviewing and editing their policies in order to conform with this new law. 

If you or a loved one suffered sexual abuse as an adult, contact us for a free initial consultation. 

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