Thousands of cases expected as NY opens window for sex abuse suits


ALBANY — New York courts, law firms, Catholic dioceses, Boy Scout troops and schools are bracing for an onslaught of civil lawsuits to be filed by people seeking justice for long-ago sexual abuse when a special one-year “look back” period begins Wednesday.

Thousands of cases are expected to be filed on that first day alone. At least two law firms are handling upward of 400 claims each, court officials said.

“It is really unprecedented, what is happening in New York,” said Jason Amala, an attorney whose firm anticipates filing more than 100 claims on Wednesday.

“New York was, for so very long, a shutdown state in that there was no way to bring these cases,” said Amala, whose firm, Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, is based in Seattle and has worked on similar claims in Washington state. Because of its experience, Pfau is working with a New York-based firm to represent clients.

Amala said there has been a “steady stream of people coming forward once it became clear (the law) was going to pass and the governor was going to sign it.” He said New York court administrators have been “thoughtful in trying to prepare for what’s coming,” but there’s no way of predicting the number of lawsuits eventually filed.

“On some level, they’ve done as much as they can,” he said.

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Filed Under  Catholic Church  Child Victims Act (CVA)  Childhood Sexual Abuse  News 

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