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Governor Hochul Signs the Adult Survivors Act, Reviving Time-Barred Sexual Abuse Claims
BY: BARBARA D. GOLDBERG, GREGORY A. CASCINO AND RICHARD WOLF
On May 24, 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act (“ASA”) into law. This new statute creates a one-year window, beginning on November 24, 2022, within which survivors of sexual offenses who were eighteen years of age or older at the time of the conduct alleged may bring a civil action, notwithstanding the expiration of any statute of limitations or notice of claim requirement otherwise existing in law. The ASA also creates a special trial preference for revived actions, and requires the Chief Administrative Judge of the Office of Court Administration to promulgate rules for the timely adjudication of these claims by August 24, 2022.
The ASA is similar to the 2019 Child Victims Act (“CVA”) in that both provided a one-year window in which persons who were sexually abused could bring time-barred civil actions, and prospectively increased the criminal and civil statutes of limitations for sexual offenses against children. While the Legislature at the time also enacted legislation prospectively increasing the statutes of limitations for a subset of sexual offenses committed against adults, it did not allow time-barred claims to be revived in those cases where the survivor was eighteen years of age or older at the time of the offense. The ASA does just that.
Over 10,000 cases were filed under the CVA, and practitioners should similarly expect a large number of cases to be filed under the ASA beginning this November.