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Coronavirus leaves Child Victims Act cases in limbo

Holly Pretsky
City & State New York
May 4, 2020

With the courts mostly closed, will sexual abuse plaintiffs get more time to sue? This article in City & State examines the effect of coronavirus-related court closures on Child Victims Act claims, quoting partner Jason Berland's recent piece in the New York Law Journal.

The coronavirus pandemic halted much of the state’s legal activity when, on March 22, state Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks issued an order stopping the filing of all cases except those deemed essential, such as temporary orders of protection, some child protection matters and landlord lockouts. Child Victims Act claims were not deemed essential.

There have been 1,700 Child Victims Act filings since August, according to the state Office of Court Administration. Many were filed under the look-back window, and the number of cases caused a backlog in the courts. Advocates say there are still many more people who hope to bring suits before the window ends.

“This will certainly be a hotly litigated issue that defendants try to use to their advantage in court,” wrote attorney Jason Berland of Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC in a recent New York Law Journal op-ed, encouraging lawmakers to clarify the situation and extend the window.

Click here to read the full article.

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