House Bill #5171 (2019)

AN ACT RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE--PROCEDURE GENERALLY -- CAUSES OF ACTION

Statute of limitation for childhood sex abuse claims extended to 35 years.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2019 – H 5171
  • 2019 – H 5171 SUBSTITUTE A
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  • LC000055
  • LC000055/SUB A/2
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2019
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE–PROCEDURE GENERALLY –
  • CAUSES OF ACTION
  • Introduced By: Representatives McEntee, Craven, Casimiro, Blazejewski, and O'Brien
  • Date Introduced: January 23, 2019
  • Referred To: House Judiciary
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Sections 9-1-25 and 9-1-51 of the General Laws in Chapter 9-1 entitled "Causes of Action" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 9-1-25. Time for bringing suit against state, political subdivision, city, or town.
  • (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section and in § 9-1-51, for cases of sexual abuse, when When a claimant is given the right to sue the state of Rhode Island, any political subdivision of the state, or any city or town by a special act of the general assembly, or in cases involving actions or claims in tort against the state or any political subdivision thereof or any city or town, the action shall be instituted within three (3) years from the effective date of the special act, or within three (3) years of the accrual of any claim of tort. Failure to institute suit within the three (3) year period shall constitute a bar to the bringing of the legal action.
  • (b) In cases of childhood sexual abuse, the time for bringing suit against the state of Rhode Island or any other entity identified in subsection (a) of this section, § 9-1-51 shall apply.
  • 9-1-51. Limitation on actions based on sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.
  • (a)(1) All claims or causes of action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within seven (7) thirty-five (35) years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or seven (7) years of from the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later, provided that the time limit for commencement of such an action under this section shall be tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age.
  • (2) All claims or causes of action alleging that a defendant, which may include an individual as well as a business entity or organization, negligently supervised a person who sexually abused a minor, or that the defendant's conduct caused or contributed to the childhood sexual abuse by another person, to include, but not limited to: wrongful conduct, neglect, or default in supervision, hiring, employment, training, monitoring, or failure to report and/or the concealment of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within the later to expire of:
  • (i) Thirty-five (35) years from the acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition to such minor; or
  • (ii) Seven (7) years from the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that an emotional or psychological injury or condition was caused by such act; provided, however, that the time limit for commencement of such an action under this section shall be tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age.
  • (3) For a period of three (3) years following the effective date of this section, victims of child sexual abuse that occurred in this state who have been barred from filing suit against their abusers by virtue of the expiration of the statute of limitations under the previous version of the general laws, shall be permitted to file those claims in superior court. If the person committing the act of sexual abuse against a minor was employed by an institution, agency, firm, business, corporation, or other public or private entity that owed a duty of care to the victim, were engaged in some activity over which the legal entity had some degree of responsibility or control, damages against the legal entity shall be awarded under this section if there is a finding of negligence on the part of the legal entity.
  • (4) Any claim or cause of action based on conduct of childhood sexual abuse or wrongful conduct which caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse, if the action is not otherwise time-barred under a previous version of the general laws on the effective date of this section, may be commenced within the time period enumerated in subsection (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section.
  • SECTION 1. Sections 9-1-14 and 9-1-51 of the General Laws in Chapter 9-1 entitled "Causes of Action" are hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 9-1-14. Limitation of actions for words spoken or personal injuries.
  • (a) Actions for words spoken shall be commenced and sued within one year next after the words spoken, and not after.
  • (b) Actions for injuries to the person shall be commenced and sued within three (3) years next after the cause of action shall accrue, and not after, except as provided for otherwise in subsection (c) herein. Notwithstanding anything herein, any claim based on sexual abuse or exploitation of a child shall be governed by § 9-1-51.
  • (c) As to an action for personal injuries wherein an injured party is entitled to proceed against an insurer pursuant to § 27-7-2, where an action is otherwise properly filed against an insured within the time limitations provided for by this section, and process against the insured tortfeasor has been returned "non estinventus" and filed with the court, then the statutory limitation for filing an action under § 27-7-2 directly against an insurer shall be extended an additional one hundred twenty (120) days after the expiration of the time limitation provided for in subsection (b) herein.
  • 9-1-51. Limitation on actions based on sexual abuse or exploitation of a child.
  • (a) (1) All claims or causes of action based on intentional conduct brought against a perpetrator defendant by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within the later to expire of:
  • (i) seven (7) Thirty-five (35) years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition,; or
  • (ii) seven Seven (7) years of from the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later.
  • Provided, however, that the time limit or commencement of such an action under this section shall be tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age. For the purposes of this section, "sexual abuse" shall have the same meaning as in subsection (e) of this section.
  • (2) All claims or causes of action brought against a non-perpetrator defendant by any person alleging negligent supervision of a person that sexually abused a minor, or that the non- perpetrator defendant's conduct caused or contributed to the childhood sexual abuse by another person to include, but not be limited to, wrongful conduct, neglect or default in supervision, hiring, employment, training, monitoring, or failure to report and/or the concealment of sexual abuse of a child shall be commenced within the later to expire of:
  • (i) Thirty-five (35) years of the act or acts alleged to have caused an injury or condition to the minor; or
  • (ii) Seven (7) years from the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act.
  • Provided, however, that the time limit or commencement of such an action under this section shall be tolled for a child until the child reaches eighteen (18) years of age.
  • For purposes of this section "sexual abuse" shall have the same meaning as in subsection (e) of this section.
  • (3) As to a perpetrator defendant, any claim or cause of action based on conduct of sexual abuse may be commenced within the time period enumerated in subsection (a)(1)(i) and (a)(1)(ii) regardless if the claim was time-barred under previous version of the general laws.
  • (4) Except as provided in subsection (a)(3) herein, any claim or cause of action based on conduct of sexual abuse or conduct which caused or contributed to sexual abuse, if the action is not otherwise time-barred under previous version of the general laws on the effective date of this section, may be commenced within the time period enumerated in subsections (a)( l ) and (a)(2) of this section.
  • (b) The victim need not establish which act in a series of continuing sexual abuse or exploitation incidents cause the injury complained of, but may compute the date of discovery from the date of the last act by the same perpetrator which is part of a common scheme or plan of sexual abuse or exploitation.
  • (c) The knowledge of a custodial parent or guardian shall not be imputed to a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • (d) For purposes of this section, "child" means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • (c) The knowledge of a custodial parent or guardian shall not be imputed to a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • (d) For purposes of this section, "child" means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.
  • (e) As used in this section, "childhood sexual abuse" means any act committed by the defendant against a complainant who was less than eighteen (18) years of age at the time of the act and which act would have been a criminal violation of chapter 37 of title 11.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage. ======== LC000055 ========
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC000055/SUB A/2
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO COURTS AND CIVIL PROCEDURE–PROCEDURE GENERALLY –
  • CAUSES OF ACTION
  • ***
  • This act would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven (7) years to thirty-five (35) years. This act would also extend to thirty-five (35) years the statute of limitations for conduct which caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse. This act would allow currently time-barred claims to be brought within three (3) years.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC000055 ========
  • CAUSES OF ACTION
  • ***
  • This act would extend the statute of limitations for victims of childhood sexual abuse from seven (7) years to thirty-five (35) years. This act would also extend to thirty-five (35) years the statute of limitations for conduct which caused or contributed to childhood sexual abuse.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC000055/SUB A/2 ========

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