New Jersey Law Gives Victims of Sexual Abuse More Time to File Civil Lawsuits

| May 13, 2019 | Firm News

Today was a great day for civil justice in the State of New Jersey!

Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey today signed legislation extending the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse claims. Under the new law, child victims will be able to file lawsuits until they turn 55 years old (or seven years from the moment they discover an injury was caused by past abuse, whichever is later). The law also creates a two-year “window” from December 1, 2019 to November 30, 2021 for people to bring lawsuits based on incidents of sexual abuse that were previously time-barred by the old version of the statute of limitations.  New Jersey previously eliminated the statute of limitations for criminal cases of sexual assault.

Victims of sexual abuse and their advocates have for many years been seeking to reform the statute of limitations in New Jersey to give victims greater access to the courthouse to obtain a civil remedy for sexual abuse.  “Survivors of sexual abuse deserve opportunities to seek redress against their abusers,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “This legislation allows survivors who have faced tremendous trauma the ability to pursue justice through the court system. I thank the bill’s sponsors for their commitment to tackling this issue, as well as the advocates for their activism and engagement.”

Not surprisingly, insurance companies and the Catholic Bishops in New Jersey were among the most vocal opposition to the bill becoming law.  The new law creates massive liability exposure of the Archdiocese of Newark, Diocese of Camden, Diocese of Trenton, Diocese of Paterson, and Diocese of Metuchen on account of clergy sexual abuse.  Likewise, many private schools and youth serving organizations in New Jersey who have been plagued by child sexual abuse in their institutions may have significant legal exposure.

Sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz was quoted, “The new statute of limitations for sexual abuse cases in New Jersey was a hard-fought battle by compassionate legislators,  It is a big win for abuse survivors who had previously been denied justice due to an arbitrary statute of limitations.  They will now be able to have their day in Court and be fully compensated for their childhood sexual abuse.  Hopefully, the example set in New Jersey will be followed in many other states.”

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing sexual abuse victims across the State of New Jersey.  This includes persons abused at a church, school, camp, or youth organization.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused as a child in New Jersey contact our office.  Although many years have passed, people who have been sexually abused in New Jersey finally have an opportunity at justice due to the repeal of the statute of limitations.  Contact attorney Adam Horowitz at 954-641-2100 or [email protected] to find out how to submit your sexual abuse claim today.