Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC - December/January 2020

www.enkanter.com

December/January 2020

A STEP FORWARD FOR JUSTICE GOOD NEWS FOR SURVIVIORS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT

The state of California has taken a major step forward to defend survivors of childhood sexual assault. Last summer, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 218 into law, significantly extending the time limit survivors have to bring lawsuits against their abusers. We at the Law Office of Elliott Kanter couldn’t be happier with this move to extend justice, and we want to make sure our readers know exactly what AB 218 will do when it’s implemented on Jan. 1, 2020. The most critical point of this new law is that it creates a three-year period for childhood sexual assault survivors of all ages to file claims — regardless of how long ago the event(s) took place. This means between Jan. 1, 2020, to the end of 2023, anyone who suffered through such a traumatic experience as a child has a chance to hold their abuser(s) accountable, regardless of existing statutes of limitations. This allows many people who are now adults to finally seek justice for the harm done to them. A 3-YEAR WINDOW

until they either reach the age of 40 or within five years of the discovery of the abuse. This is a major extension compared to the previous limitations, which was until 26 years of age or three years from the date of discovery. Considering the emotional weight these cases carry, this extension better allows survivors to process their pain before taking the difficult step of filing a claim. It’s not just the legal time limits that have been extended on these important cases. The new law also broadens the list of actions for which predators can be held liable. In the past, California civil code used the phrase “childhood sexual abuse” to refer to these kinds of cases. AB 218 has changed this to “childhood sexual assault,” which covers a far broader spectrum of predatory acts. Many experiences that didn’t fall under the state’s definition of “abuse” are nonetheless traumatizing and life-altering. This change better encompasses the kinds of damages childhood victims should be compensated for. A BROADENED DEFINITION

evidence surfaces that they acted to suppress evidence or otherwise keep the assault from coming to light. In fact, AB 218 establishes that if such a cover-up is proven, the court can award three times the damages. Hopefully, this costly penalty will dissuade institutions from protecting predators in the future. As a firm well-versed in these kinds of traumatic cases, we know it can be hard to confront an event from your childhood like this. But if you were assaulted, know that what happened to you isn’t your fault and you deserve to move forward with your life. The only people who should bear the burden of such an event are the abuser and any third parties who worked to cover up their crime. We understand how hard this step can be, but, if you want to seek compensation for the harm done to you, please know you can reach out to us. Our number is 619-231-1883.

AN EXTENDED STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

HOLDING INSTITUTIONS ACCOUNTABLE

Beyond creating this three-year window for all survivors, AB 218 also vastly extended the statute of limitations for such lawsuits moving forward. Even after 2023, people can file lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse cases

Importantly, the law also addresses the disturbing tendency for third-party institutions to cover up instances of the sexual assault of children. Churches, schools, sports leagues, and the like will all be held accountable if

-Elliott Kanter

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The Law Offices of Elliott Kanter APC | (619) 231-1883

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