Governor Abercrombie approved SB2588/Act 68 on 4/24/12, a bill introduced by Sen. Shimabukuro.
SB 2588 SD1 extends the statute of limitations (SOL) for civil actions brought by persons subjected to sexual offenses as a minor against the person who committed the act. It increases the time limit to bring these civil lawsuits going forward as follows: 8 years from when the victim turns 18, or 3 years from when the victim realizes his/her injury is due to sexual offense. (Note: Previous law was 2 years in both instances).
The bill also revives for a 2 year period certain actions for which the statute of limitations had previously lapsed.
Several testifiers feared that false claims may damage reputations, and that claims brought many years after the fact are hard to defend. Furthermore, some believe that it is unfair that this bill exempts the state.
First, in regards to the question of state exemption, the Attorney General and the City testified that the exemption is necessary to ensure compliance with existing law, which sets specific SOL’s for state and county government.
Regarding false claims, the bill allows defendants to be awarded attorney’s fees if the court finds that a claim has been filed maliciously. To prevent false claims, the bill states that the attorney for the plaintiff shall file a certificate of merit, which shall include a notarized statement by either a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, mental health counselor, or clinical social worker.
Finally, in response to those concerned about due process, there is testimony from a nationally recognized authority on the subject that due process concerns over similar legislation in other states have withstood challenges in courts of appeal.
SB2588/Act 68 gives some measure of hope and remedy for individuals who were victimized and traumatized by abuse in their formative years … and have been forced to bear this burden far into adulthood. Click here or on the following link to view additional information about the bill, including testimony, committee reports, previous versions, etc.:
To view the Governor’s Message, click here or on the following link:
Click to enlarge Governor Abercrombie’s message re SB2588.
See NY Times Editorial Refers to Child Sex Abuse Bill Introduced by Sen. Shimabukuro (posted 5.7.12).
Also see Preliminary Approval for $5.75 Million Settlement Against State for Covering Up Years of Sexual Abuse of Students (posted 2.20.13).
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