Over the past decade, New York’s Adult Survivors Act has allowed hundreds of accusers to file lawsuits against alleged sexual abusers, even after the statute of limitations on their claims has expired. But the groundbreaking law expires at midnight on November 23 – and lawyers are now scrambling to file as many complaints as possible before then.
“I have clarified my schedule for Thanksgiving week and am available to anyone who would like to discuss submitting an application [Adult Survivors Act] Claim before the window closes,” Megan Goddard, who has at least three lawsuits under the law, told The Daily Beast. “The perpetrators have always hidden behind statutes of limitations, arbitration clauses and threats of retaliation. The [Adult Survivors Act] flipped the script.”
The state law, signed last May, gave survivors a one-year window to sue alleged perpetrators or their assets over incidents that occurred when they were over 18. The law, which also mirrored the 2019 Child Victims Act for those abused as minors, allowed New Yorkers to sue companies, institutions, hospitals or even prisons that they believe enabled the behavior, regardless of when it happened.
Data from the New York State Office of Court Administration obtained by The Daily Beast shows that more than 697 cases have been filed as of October 18, after the law went into effect on November 24, 2022. More than 270 of these cases were filed in the last two weeks. Several lawyers told The Daily Beast that they also expect the total number of cases to skyrocket as they rush to file lawsuits before the Thanksgiving deadline.
“A number of things leak out to us,” Valdi Licul, an attorney who filed a lawsuit under the law against the Attorney General of the State of New York on behalf of a former adviser, The Daily Beast said. “We still have a few weeks left and if any victim out there has a potential claim, let us advise you [legal] Get advice before the window closes. People can turn to lawyers until the last day.”
The law has already led to high-profile lawsuits. Among the first survivors to file a lawsuit was writer E. Jean Carroll, who alleged that former President Donald Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the mid-1990s and defamed her when he broadly denied it. In May, a Manhattan jury found Trump liable and awarded Carroll $5 million in damages. (A second libel trial is scheduled for January because Trump called Carroll a “complete idiot” after the verdict.)
The act has also led to lawsuits against billionaire Leon Black, who is accused of raping a woman in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion more than two decades ago, and actor Kevin Spacey, who allegedly raped her during an appointment at a New York hotel sexually assaulted a massage therapist in 2016. This week, actress Julia Ormond used the ASA to sue Harvey Weinstein over an alleged assault in 1995.
“E. “Jean Carroll succeeded in holding Donald Trump accountable for sexual assault under the ASA, which was a watershed moment, both for the perpetrators and the institutions that protected them, and for the survivors,” Goddard said. “Can you imagine the fear that offenders must be feeling this year as they wonder whether they will be the next named defendant in an Adult Survivor’s Act case before Thanksgiving?”
Thomas P. Giuffra, an attorney who has filed dozens of cases under the ASA, noted that the legislation exposed years of abuses in New York’s medical profession. Obstetrician Robert Hadden has been accused of sexually abusing them for decades by hundreds of patients who turn to the former Columbia University. His accusers include Evelyn Yang, the wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who claims Hadden attacked her in 2012 when she was seven months pregnant. Hadden was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in July for sexually assaulting female patients.
Dozens of victims have also filed lawsuits against disgraced urologist Dr. Darius Paduch filed charges of sexually assaulting male patients, including boys, under the guise of medical treatment. Paduch was indicted in April on federal charges stemming from alleged mistreatment of patients during urology exams between 2015 and 2019.
“If you are in front of Dr. “If Dr. Hadden received calls from these doctors abusing patients under the guise of a medical facility, no one would believe them, right?” Giuffra, who has filed suit against Paduch, told The Daily Beast. “And since everything came to light, and then the ASA, I have brought proceedings against three different doctors. It’s really changed.”
Giuffra said he and other attorneys are warning the public that time is running out. To boost business, some lawyers have launched social media campaigns and promoted the ASA on their websites.
“Time is on our side. But it is not unlimited. The Adult Survivors Act expires on November 23rd. Determine whether you have standing to file a lawsuit against Columbia University and Robert Hadden,” said the Petrio law firm, which has filed lawsuits against Paduch and Hadden. prompted in a tweet. In other tweets, The company emphasized that victims can contact them anonymously and that “whistleblowers” are protected.
Lawyers believe some survivors need more time to speak out.
“It’s really challenging for people to realize that they’ve been abused. It’s really hard to put a label on yourself and I think that holds people back a lot. There’s a lot of shame associated with that,” Giuffra added. “And sometimes when people come to terms with what’s going on, it can be too late.”