California’s “Look Back” Window Extended through 2022 for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits

Claims of past sexual abuse against leaders of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have blemished the reputation of the organization since the late 1980s. Given the increased public awareness of the fact that former BSA members had stepped forward and made sexual abuse claims public, the BSA was deluged with claims and lawsuits. It subsequently filed for protection pursuant to Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on February 14, 2020. In May of 2020, the bankruptcy court set a deadline of 5:00 p.m. EST on November 16, 2020, as the bar date for the filing of claims against BSA.

Expiration of the Statute of Limitations

Claims and lawsuits brought against BSA for sexual abuse are personal injury cases. It’s well-established law in California that a personal injury claimant has two years from the date of the alleged occurrence to file a personal injury lawsuit. Although there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations, the general rule is that a failure to file a personal injury lawsuit within the requisite two-year period bars a personal injury claimant from proceeding against an alleged wrongdoer. After abuse victims began stepping up and being acknowledged, countless numbers of others tried to step up too, but they were prevented from bringing their claims. The two-year statute of limitations made their claims stale. That prompted the legislature to extend the general statute of limitations in 2002 to eight years after the alleged victim reached the age of 18. Although some relief for victims was provided, thousands and thousands of California Boy Scouts sexual abuse victims remained locked out of courthouses.


Given the gross inequities to those who had been sexually abused in the past by Boy Scout leaders, Governor Gavin Newsome signed off on AB-218 on October 12, 2019. The bill became law in California on January 1, 2020. It unlocks and opens the courthouse doors for victims of sexual abuse by Boy Scout adult leaders, but only until January 1, 2023. Now, the statute of limitations has been increased from eight years after an alleged victim’s 18th birthday to 22 years from reaching that age. Should the victim be more than 40-years-old at the time of the filing, an alleged victim can still file, but certain certifications must be filed with the lawsuit. For victims who had earlier been barred by an applicable statute of limitations, there is a three-year lookback window from January 1, 2020. That window is what makes January 1, 2020 crucially important.

Contact a Southern California Injury Attorney Today.

If you were a victim of sexual abuse by a leader of your Boy Scout troop, and you have yet to make a claim, you have until January 1, 2023 to bring your claim against a local Boy Scout council and possibly, the Boy Scouts of America. Nothing has been brought before the legislature for purposes of extending this date, so it could be final.

You can contact us here at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC in Thousand Oaks to arrange for a free and confidential consultation and case review to discuss your allegations. We’re sympathetic and compassionate, so you’re going to be listened to closely. We’ll be pleased to answer your questions. We may or may not involve other attorneys on your behalf, but you can be assured that they’ll take your claim as seriously as we do. Don’t wait until the 11th hour. It’s rapidly approaching. You’re going to need to get your case on file as soon as possible.

If you are in Los Angeles or anywhere in SoCal please feel free to call us today.