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AB 2777 – Extends The Statute Of Limitations For Civil Actions Alleging Sexual Assault Occurring On Or After A Victim’s 18th Birthday
Under existing law, the statute of limitations for filing a civil action to recover damages suffered as a result of sexual assault, as defined, that occurred on or after the victim’s 18th birthday is the later of within 10 years from the date of the last act, attempted act, or assault with the intent to commit an act of sexual assault against the individual or within three (3) years from the date the individual discovers or reasonably should have discovered that an injury or illness resulted from those acts. Under existing law, this provision applies to any action that is commenced on or after January 1, 2019.
Assembly Bill 2777 (AB 2777) enacts the Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act (Act), which revives, until December 31, 2026, claims to seek to recover damages suffered as a result of a sexual assault that occurred on or after January 1, 2009, that would otherwise be barred solely because the statute of limitations has or had expired. These claims may now be commenced until December 31, 2026. A civil action may also be brought against persons or entities other than the person alleged to have committed the sexual assault.
AB 2777 also revives any claim seeking to recover damages suffered as a result of a sexual assault (and any related claims, such as wrongful termination or sexual harassment arising out of the sexual assault) that occurred on or after the individual’s 18th birthday that would otherwise be barred before January 1, 2023, solely because the applicable statute of limitations has or had expired. These claims may now be brought between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, or, if already pending in court as of January 1, 2023, may proceed. However, the following factors must be met:
- The individual was sexually assaulted;
- One or more entities (e., sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company, corporation, association, or other legal entity) are legally responsible for damages arising out of the sexual assault. “Legally responsible” means that the entity or entities are liable under any theory of liability established by statute or common law, including, but not limited to, negligence, intentional torts, vicarious liability; and
- The entity or entities, including, but not limited to, their officers, directors, representatives, employees, or agents, engaged in a cover-up or attempted a cover-up of a previous instance or allegations of sexual assault by an alleged perpetrator of such abuse. A “cover-up” means a concerted effort to hide evidence relating to a sexual assault that incentivizes individuals to remain silent or prevents information relating to a sexual assault from becoming public or being disclosed to the plaintiff, including, but not limited to, the use of nondisclosure agreements or confidentiality agreements.
AB 2777 does not, however, revive the following claims:
- A claim that has been litigated to finality in a court of competent jurisdiction before January 1, 2023; or
- A claim that has been compromised by a written settlement agreement between the parties entered into before January 1, 2023.
There need not be a criminal conviction or adjudication, or even a criminal prosecution or other proceedings with regard to the sexual assault in order for an individual to file a civil action pursuant to AB 2777.
(AB 2777 amends Section 340.16 of the Code of Civil Procedure.)