AACPLL Blog

Law Library News

Posts Tagged ‘limitations’

New Maryland Laws Take Effect on October 1, 2017 – Spotlight on Limitations in Cases of Child Sexual Abuse

Posted by Joan Bellistri on September 27, 2017

Untitled drawingNew Maryland laws take effect on October 1, 2017!  We will be publishing a series of posts highlighting a few of the newly enacted laws.  This series is just a small sampling of the new laws enacted by the 2017 Legislative Session.  To read about more laws resulting from the 2017 session, see the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2017 Session published by the Department of Legislative Services (DLS) of the General Assembly of Maryland. For a full listing of new laws effective October 1, 2017, check out this publication from DLS.

“In response to growing recognition of the long-term impact of child sexual abuse the law, HB 642/CH12  (1) expands the statute of limitations for an action for damages arising out of an alleged incident or incidents of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor; (2) establishes a statute of repose for specified civil actions relating to child sexual abuse; and (3) exempts causes of action filed under the provisions of the law from the notice of claim requirement under the Local Government Tort Claims Act and the submission of a written claim requirement, denial of claim requirement, and the statute of limitations under the Maryland Tort Claims Act. An action for damages arising out of an alleged incident or incidents of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor must be filed (1) at any time before the victim reaches the age of majority or (2) within the later of 20 years after the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority or 3 years after the date that the defendant is convicted of a crime relating to the alleged incident or incidents, as specified. However, the Act specifies that in an action brought more than seven years after the victim reaches the age of majority, damages may be awarded against a person or governmental entity that is not the alleged perpetrator of the sexual abuse only if (1) the person or governmental entity owed a duty of care to the victim; (2) the person or governmental entity employed or exercised some degree of responsibility or control over the alleged perpetrator; and (3) there is a finding of gross negligence on the part of the person or governmental entity. The Act establishes a “statute of repose” that prohibits a person from filing an action more than 20 years after the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority against a person or governmental entity that is not the alleged perpetrator for damages arising out of an alleged incident or incidents of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor.” However, this new law “is not to be construed to apply retroactively to revive any action that was barred by application of the period of limitations applicable before October 1, 2003.” Previously, “an action for damages arising out of an alleged incident of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor must be filed within seven years of the date that the victim attains the age of majority.”

Passage of this law might be of interest to anyone who watched the Netflix documentary, The Keepers.  At the end there was an interview with Delegate C. T. Wilson of Charles County in which he described how he had not be able to get this bill passed over the years.  A Washington Post article in 2016 described his efforts.  However, while watching the show,  it was easy to go to the Maryland General Assembly website and search for bills introduced by Delegate Wilson in 2017 and see that he had introduced the bill again and that it had passed. Other search options include by subject and statute affected.

Note that all quotations, unless noted otherwise, are attributable to the 90 Day Report – A Review of the 2017 Session published by the Department of Legislative Services of the General Assembly of Maryland.

Posted in lawlibrary, Maryland Law | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »