Who Can File a CVA Lawsuit?

Until January of 2019, New York had one of the country’s most restrictive statutes of limitations for filing a child sexual abuse case. The majority of survivors had until their 23rd birthday to seek reparations through the legal system. But this changed when Governor Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law last year. This long-overdue legislation, which languished for more than 10 years, gives survivors a new window to seek justice.

Who can file a Child Victims Act lawsuit in New York?  The legislation is not retroactive per se, but it does provide a 12-month “look-back window” — starting August 14, 2019 and ending August 13, 2020. It enables any adult survivor to file a civil claim regardless of when it took place.

Child Victims Act creates look-back window

The New York law firm of Douglas & London is currently reviewing cases of child sexual abuse survivors. Our attorneys know that it takes tremendous courage for individuals to come forward, tell their stories, and attempt to seek the closure and justice they deserve.

Finding a legal advocate who you can entrust with this isn’t easy, and we recognize this. Survivors deserve compassion and respect, and we are dedicated to helping our clients hold their abusers accountable. Whether you were abused by a teacher, a counselor, a clergyman, or another perpetrator, a New York Child Victims Act attorney can help you obtain the recovery you deserve.

Who is eligible to file a lawsuit under the CVA?

The Child Victims Act (CVA) extends the statute of limitations for filing civil or criminal claims for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Under the CVA, any survivor who was under the age of 23 on February 14, 2019:

  • Has until their 55th birthday to file a civil claim for damages
  • Has until their 25th birthday to file criminal misdemeanor charges and until their 28th birthday to file felony charges against the abuser

Until August 13, 2020, any adult survivor who was not able to file a claim because of expired statutes can now bring forth a civil claim for damages. This means that time-barred cases can be re-filed by survivors, regardless of age– against a person, entity, or institution.

This “look-back window” presents a unique opportunity to hold abusers responsible for their actions and expose perpetrators whose behavior has gone unpunished.

New legislation regarding Revival Statute

State Senator Brad Hoylman, who sponsored the CVA, recently introduced a new bill that could extend the one-year “look-back window” for an additional 12 months. It remains to be seen if New York will follow the multi-year extension instituted by states like New Jersey and California.

According to the Office of Court Administration, more than 1,300 adult survivors had filed CVA lawsuits in New York state by early January 2020. Three hundred of these complaints were brought in Manhattan, 190 in Brooklyn, and 65 in Queens. Defendants named in the suits include Catholic priests, individual churches, schools, hospitals, and other organizations.

Contact Douglas & London in New York

Spurred by this new legislation, many survivors have come forward, sharing the trauma they’ve privately endured for so many years. Some went on to develop eating disorders, while others suffered depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety attacks. Many have struggled to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones. If you are considering legal action against your abuser, please contact the New York office of Douglas & London for a confidential case review.  Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, so we don’t get paid until a recovery is made on your behalf. Please note that we do not handle abuse cases against family members.