Legal Alerts

The Next Victim’s Act on the New York Frontier

New York, N.Y. (May 2, 2022) - On Tuesday April 26, the New York State Senate approved the Adult Survivors Act (ASA). The bill, known as S66A, follows on the heels of New York’s Child Victims Act (CVA), enacted in 2019. If enacted, the ASA will temporarily suspend the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits brought by sexual assault and abuse survivors over the age of 18 and will allow the survivors to revive claims which are otherwise time-barred. The bill was sponsored by Senator Brad Hoylman as a matter of “restorative justice” to provide a legal avenue to survivors whose sexual abuse or assault occurred before the ASA statute was enacted and after the expiration of the applicable statutes of limitations (one year and six months for intentional torts and three years for negligence).

Section 1 of the bill creates Section 214-j of the Civil Practice Law and Rules to allow the time-barred actions, defined as an alleged sexual offense against a person 18 years of age or older, to be revived within a one-year window. This window begins six months from the effective date of the ASA. To address situations where the plaintiff was abused or assaulted due to incapacity, the bill redefines the term “physically helpless” to include any individual who cannot communicate affirmative consent.

Since the CVA was passed in 2019, over 10,000 suits were filed under the statute on behalf of individuals alleging sexual abuse or assault when they were minors. In addition to pursuing claims against abusers, plaintiffs have used the CVA to allege variations of negligence against religious and secular institutions that employed or exerted authority over the alleged abusers. Similarly, if enacted, the broad effects of the ASA will open the floodgates for insurmountable claims against countless entities. While the CVA limits potential liability to defendants involved in the supervision and care of children, the ASA will presumably leave businesses, common carriers, and government agencies at risk of high exposure for countless claims. To paint a clear picture for the potential future for ASA defendants, some reports estimate that settlements in CVA matters have totaled over $1 billion, with thousands of active cases pending.

The bill has not been signed into law, as it must still pass through the assembly before it is delivered to the Governor. However, if the ASA is enacted, clients should be prepared to identify past instances of sexual misconduct and should anticipate claims for negligence and/or negligent hiring, training, and supervision.

Lewis Brisbois' attorneys are closely monitoring this situation and will provide regular updates as this important legislation makes its way through the legislature. For more information, contact the authors of this alert.


Karen L Campbell, Partner

Corey Shulman, Partner

Zachary Candelaria, Associate

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