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Employers and Others Prepare for New York’s Adult Survivors Act Revival Window Opening November 24 | Chicago Popular

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November 24, New York Adult Survivors Act a “revival window” will open for adult victims of sexual abuse. Revival windows, also called “cooling off periods,” provide a limited period, usually at least a year, for victims of sexual abuse to file otherwise prescribed civil suits. New York previously opened a window of resurgence for child victims of sexual abuse under its Child Victim’s Act of 2019, which closed in August 2021.

Lawsuits filed under revival windows are often filed not only against the alleged aggressor, but also against employers, educational institutions, summer camps, social service agencies, and other entities under a theory of vicarious liability. Such lawsuits typically involve claims of aiding and abetting abuse, carrier liability, benefit of sex trafficking under the Federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), RICO civil violations, negligent hiring, negligent safety, premises liability, and negligence of common law. These claims can go back decades, involving extremely complex insurance and liability issues.

With the start of New York’s adult awakening window looming, victims of sexual abuse — and potential defendants — are bracing themselves for a wave of litigation. During New York’s two-year recovery window for child victims, more than 10,000 cases were dismissed under the statute, with the reported first jury verdict reaching $25 million. [1] After New Jersey opened a similar resurgence window for people abused as children, the Diocese of Camden, NJ settled claims made by hundreds of abuse survivors for $87.5 million. [2] Several high-profile targets of claims under revival statutes were forced to file for bankruptcy as a result of their passage and the resulting surge in legal claims. [3]

Defenses are often available, but must be pursued tactfully. For example, aides and accomplices in sex trafficking are liable under the TVPA only if they knowingly “benefit[]financially or by receiving anything of value, from participating in a business that has engaged in “sex trafficking”. [4] While employees, by definition, typically provide benefits to their employers, to satisfy the TVPA, that benefit must be “because of“Sexual misconduct. [5] Similarly, in order to assert a negligence claim against a third party, a plaintiff must sufficiently attach a legally recognizable obligation owed to the plaintiff. [6] Merely failing to act to prevent harm to an adult is not sufficient to enforce such a duty. [7]

Because of the sensitivity of the issues raised, defendants in such cases should seek counsel experienced in such issues and processes and a track record demonstrating the ability to handle such sensitive issues responsibly.

Click here to read how rollover windows affect employers.

Click here for our Law360 article on how to prepare for revival deed claims.


Partners Bennet Moskowitz and Molly DiRago and associate Sophia Dauria practice in Troutman Pepper’s Business Litigation Practice Group. They served as lead defense attorney in dozens of sex abuse and human trafficking lawsuits filed in various state and federal courts, many of which affirmed complaints under the New York Child Victims Act and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, as well as in connection the establishment of an independent claims resolution program and, separately, a structured mediation process.

[1] See Andrew Denney, “Upstate New York Jury Awards $25 Million Verdict in Child Victims Lawsuit,” Law. com (March 31, 2022), https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2022/03/31/upstate-ny-jury-awards-25m-verdict-in-child-victims-act-suit/#.

[2] Ed Shanahan, “Diocese of New Jersey Agrees to Settle $87.5 Million Sexual Abuse Claims,” The New York Times (April 19, 2022), https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/19/nyregion/nj-diocese-sex-abuse-settlement.html?referringSource=articleShare.

[3] See Vince Sullivan, “Rochester Diocese Reaches $147 Million Ch. 11 Settlement With Insurers,” Law360 (May 23, 2022), https://www.law360.com/articles/1495826/rochester-diocese-reaches-147m-ch-11-deal-with-insurers (“The Diocese of Rochester was the first of eight New York dioceses to file for bankruptcy in September 2019 after the historic Child Victims Act exposed the Catholic Church to thousands of sexual abuse complaints in August 2019.”)

[4] Geiss v. Weinstein Co. Holdings LLC, 383 F. Supp. 3d 156, 169 (SDNY 2019) (dismissing TVPA’s claims against The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC and individual employees based on Harvey Weinstein’s alleged conduct).

[5] id. (italics in the original); see also Kolbek v. Twenty First Century Holiness Tabernacle Church, Inc.No. 10-CV-4124, 2013 US Dist. LEXIS 180463, at *52 (WD Ark. Dec. 24, 2013) (rejecting TVPA’s claims because there was no evidence of a causal relationship between the sexual acts and the payment of expenses).

[6] See David v. Weinstein Co. LLC, 431 F.Sup. 3d 290, 310 (SDNY 2019).

[7] id. to 307.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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