Blog Post

Policyholders Should Prepare Now to Demand Coverage for New York Adult Survivors Act Claims (Part 1)

Policyholder Informer

New York’s Child Victims Act (“CVA”), which opened a one-year revival window extending the statute of limitations for claims of childhood sexual abuse, had a substantial impact on the state’s businesses and other institutions. The impact of New York’s Adult Survivors Act (“ASA”), signed into law this summer, will be even greater.

During the CVA’s revival window, survivors filed almost 11,000 lawsuits against schools, camps, healthcare providers, religious organizations, and other institutions regularly serving children. Not all of these entities had insurance coverage for sexual abuse claims, and several ended up in bankruptcy as a consequence. The influx of cases also affected state and federal courts, adding to the backlog caused by pandemic shutdowns and precautions. The CVA’s window closed in August 2021, but a year later very few CVA cases have made it to trial. It could be years before the majority of CVA cases are resolved.

The ASA’s impact on businesses, organizations, and courts is likely to dwarf the CVA’s. The ASA opens a one-year window on November 24 of this year, allowing sexual abuse survivors who were 18 years old or older when the abuse took place to file claims against their abusers, even if the statute of limitations is long expired. Like the CVA, the ASA allows claimants to name vicarious liability defendants as well as individual perpetrators. This means any organization involved in creating the conditions for the abuse is susceptible to ASA lawsuits. Because so many more organizations serve, employ, and interact with adults than with children, the ASA’s reach—and the number of claimants involved—will be exponentially longer than the CVA’s.

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