Statute of Limitations for Sex Abuse Cases
Many states passed or enacted statute of limitations (SOL) laws in 2019 that extend the time to bring civil actions for sexual abuse and open or expand revival windows for individuals and institutions accused of sexual abuse. Extensive lobbying for many years by victims of sexual abuse, along with widespread revelations of sexual misconduct in organizations such as the Catholic Church and an overhaul in congressional leadership, has resulted in significant reforms to some of the nation’s most restrictive laws. Below is an overview of the reforms to the statute of limitations that have been passed or proposed in 2019:
Alabama: Extends the civil SOL for a sexual offense committed against a person younger than 19 to 19 plus 6 years or 6 years from the act, discovery of the act, or criminal conviction of the accused (SB 11).
Alaska: There is no SOL for victims under 18 at the time of abuse.
Arizona: Extends the civil SOL to the age of 30 and establishes a 19-month revival window against abusers (HB 2466).
California: Proposes to extend the SOL for civil claims of sexual abuse to 18 plus 22 years and provides a 5-year delayed discovery rule. A 3-year revival window has been proposed. (AB 218).
Connecticut: Extends the civil SOL for sexual offenses committed against a person under age 21 to 21 plus 30 years. Eliminates the SOL for a sexual assault qualifying as a felony or misdemeanor for victims under age 16 and extends criminal SOL for victims age 18, 19, or 20 to age 51 and victims age 21 or older to 20 years from the felony (SB 3).
Delaware: There is no civil SOL for sexual abuse of a minor by an adult effective July 10, 2007.
Illinois: Tolls the SOL when the sexual abuse victim is subject to fraudulent concealment (SB 1868).
Florida: There is no civil SOL for sexual battery against anyone under 16 years old effective July 1, 2010.
Iowa: Extends the criminal SOL for certain felonies and misdemeanors to age 18 plus 15 years (SF 589).
Maine: Removes the criminal SOL for victims under the age of 16 for certain felony and misdemeanor crimes and extends the criminal SOL to 20 years from the act for a victim over the age of 16 years old or older. There is no civil SOL for sexual actions committed against a minor as of Aril 7, 2000 (SP 20/LD67).
Massachusetts: Proposes to eliminate criminal SOL for certain sex crimes or the lack of DNA evidence. Proposes to extend civil SOL for negligent supervision when the caretaker is deceased.
Michigan: Provides 90-day revival window for claims against Larry Nassar.
Minnesota: There is no civil SOL for sexual abuse of a minor effective May 25, 2013.
Montana: Removes the criminal SOL for sexual assault felonies and misdemeanors. Expands the civil SOL for perpetrators and institutions to the earlier of 27 years or 3 years from discovery. Provides a one-year revival window on May 7, 2019 against perpetrators who have convicted or confessed to committing sexual abuse (HB 640).
Nebraska: Removes the criminal SOL for certain sex abuse crimes. Proposes to eliminate the civil SOL against the abuser and extend SOL against others to 21 years of age plus 12 years.
Nevada: Removes the criminal SOL for certain types of sexual assault regardless of victims age (AB 142).
New Jersey: Extends the civil SOL until the victim reaches 55 years of age or 7 years from discovery (whichever is later) for sexual abuse actions against individual perpetrators and public and private institutions. Establishes a two-year revival window on December 1, 2019 for victims abused as minors or adults. Extends the civil SOL for sexual assault against an adult to 7 years from the offense or 7 years from discovery, whichever is later (S477).
New Mexico: Would extend the SOL for certain sexual abuse violations committed against minors to age 30 (SB55). Extends the civil SOL by adding a 3-year discovery rule.
New York: Extends the criminal SOL to age 28 for felonies and age 25 for misdemeanors. Extends SOL for civil claims until the age of 55 for claims against perpetrators and institutions. Institutes a 1-year revival window on August 14, 2019. Eliminates 90-day notice of claim requirement for claims against public institutions (S2440). Governor Cuomo subsequently extended the 1-year revival window so that it now expires on August 14, 2021.
North Carolina: Proposes to extends the civil SOL for human trafficking until the victim reaches the age of 18 plus 10 years, and for an adult, 10 years from the action (HB 198).
North Dakota: Extends criminal SOL for sex offenses until 21 years from the time of the abuse (HB 1425).
Rhode Island: Extends civil SOL until the age of 18 plus 35 years and extends 7-year discovery rule to all potential defendants. SOL applies retroactively to actions against the perpetrator only (H5171). Public entities are made subject to liability (H5171 & S315).
Tennessee: Extends SOL to 33 years old or to 3 years after delayed discovery. Removes criminal SOL for child sex abuse felonies and misdemeanors subject to certain age restrictions (HB 565).
Texas: Removes SOL where DNA has not been tested and extends the civil SOL to the age of 18 plus 30 years against abusers and institutions (HB 3809).
Utah: Removes criminal SOL for human trafficking while extending criminal SOL for certain other felony crimes. Extends the civil SOL for claims against a governmental entity or its employees until 2 years after a claim is filed or discovery of a claim (HB 311).
Vermont: Removes civil SOL and revives all elapsed claims against perpetrators and institutions. Eliminates the criminal SOL for sexual exploitation of a minor (HB 330 and HB 511).
Washington: Removes criminal SOL for certain sexual crimes and extends criminal SOL to 20 years for rape for victims of all ages. (SB 5649).
Washington D.C.: Removes criminal SOL for certain sexual crimes and extends the civil SOL for victims under age 35 to 40 years with a 5-year discovery rule. Victims also have a 2-year revival window if abused as minors or adults on May 3, 2019 (B22-0021/ DC Act 22-593/ L22-0311.
In total, twenty jurisdictions have passed amendments to their statute of limitations laws that went into effect or are going into effect in 2019.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused, Levy Konigsberg can help you obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We have recovered millions of dollars for victims of sexual abuse. Please call today for a free and confidential consultation with attorneys at our firm specializing in sexual abuse cases. Please call 1-800-225-9825 or submit an email inquiry above.