On May 13, 2020, a judge in Nassau County Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Child Victims Act (“CVA”) in 44 consolidated cases brought against the Archdiocese of Rockville Centre. The Archdiocese had moved to dismiss the cases on the grounds that the recently-passed CVA—which revived claims related to sexual abuse of children for which the statute of limitations had already expired and provided victims whose claims of sexual abuse had been time-barred a one year period to file their claims—was unconstitutional under the New York State constitution because it violated the defendant’s due process rights.
In denying the motion by the Archdiocese, Justice Steven Jaeger found that the CVA was a reasonable response to remedy the injustice of past child sexual abuse. The court noted that New York State courts had previously upheld prior claims revival statutes, such as the ones passed to allow people who got sick from working at the World Trade Center site and those who suffered injury after taking the now banned pill DES to file suit after the statute of limitations had expired, and it rejected the attempt by the defendant to distinguish the CVA from the statutes upheld in those situations. The decision will undoubtedly be appealed all the way the New York Court of Appeals and thus, it is unlikely that there will be any certainty on this issue for quite some time.