By Jamie Herzlich, Newsday
Under recent legislation, adult survivors of sexual assault in New York can now have legal recourse even if the statute of limitations has passed against the alleged abuser and potentially the abuser’s employer for cases that could go back decades.
The Adult Survivors Act provides a one-year lookback window starting Nov. 24, 2022, for those sexually assaulted when they were over the age of 18 to bring forth civil claims, regardless of when the abuse occurred. They would have until Nov. 23, 2023 to file such claims. Previous legislation opened up such a window between 2019 and 2021 for those who were under 18.
This poses new challenges for companies in defending claims where the alleged abuse was tied to the workplace in some way, legal experts say.
It’s unclear if the Adult Survivors Act will result in as many lawsuits, but employers are definitely at risk, says Arthur Yermash, a partner in the Westbury office of Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP.
“The legal system’s built on statutes of limitation, which create a time frame during which any claim can be brought,” he says. “Once that door closes the risk of liability no longer exists. This reopens the door to the liability risk.”