Law firms grapple with unprecedented scale of sex abuse cases in New York
An avalanche of sexual abuse cases — against religious institutions, schools, hospitals and youth groups — is expected to crash into civil courts in New York starting Aug. 14, the first date on which lawsuits can be filed under the state's Child Victims Act.
Payouts could reach tens of millions of dollars, according to legal experts.
The act, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in February, provides a one-year, one-time-only period to seek civil action, regardless of how long ago the abuse occurred.
Sexual-abuse cases require tremendous amounts of time before they even get to court. Lawyers report the time it takes to interview survivors, track down potential witnesses and write legal fillings adds up to 12-14 hour workdays and weekends at the office to meet the start of the filing year.
Typically, lawyers in civil cases earn a percentage of the payouts.
"The texts and calls are endless," James Marsh of New York based Marsh Law said. "I'll get an important email at four in the morning."
Among the firms that represent many who were abused by secular figures of authority are Seattle-based Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala.
He alleged abusers come from well known institutions, including hospitals, the Boys and Girls clubs and the Boy Scouts.
Jason Amala, of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala serves more than 500 clients in New York.
Some 200 of Amala's clients are survivors the late Dr. Reginald Archibald, a former high-profile researcher at Rockefeller University hospital who died years ago but allegedly abused hundreds, if not thousands of young children under the guise of administering medical examinations for more than 40 years.
Another 50 clients of the firm say they suffered abuse while in the Boy Scouts, and 75 clients report they were abused in foster care.
His firm represents 175 sex abuse survivors from churches.
Since the advent of social media the world is evermore connected. That interconnection has led more survivors to come forward, these lawyers explained.
James Marsh initially received a few calls in March 2019. Then the volume of calls exploded.
"It sort of snowballed, we got flooded with hundreds of calls," Marsh said.
"We're just starting to see how sexual abuse is a part of a lot of the ills facing society," Marsh said.Find more information online here.
Filed Under Child Victims Act (CVA) Childhood Sexual Abuse News