With the new “look back” law, the alleged victim has 22 years after his 18th birthday to file his sexual abuse lawsuit. Anybody over 40 years of age will still have to file appropriate certifications.
It has been generations now that Boy Scouts of America has been looking the other way and sweeping allegations of sexual abuse of members by leaders and volunteers under the rug in a back storage room at the organization’s headquarters. There were claims of sex abuse of members of the organization, but if taken seriously, they were quietly settled, and the records of those settlements went into that back storage room too. By 1994, it’s believed that the number of such claims against the Boy Scouts was somewhere under 2,000. By late 2019, the organization was inundated with sexual abuse lawsuits. At this point in time, the number of claims or lawsuits against the organization approaches or 100,000.
In November of 2019, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 reorganization under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The petition for reorganization allows for establishment of a common compensation fund rather than defending each individual case. To date, about $1.9 billion has been places in trust for the proposed purpose of compensating claimants. Those claimants include businesses that are owed money by the Boy Scouts. Claimants needed to vote on accepting the fund by December 13, 2021. Votes are being counted, and the case has been scheduled for January 24, 2022 for a release of the votes and a decision on whether the court will accept the proposed reorganization. If a former Boy Scout sexual abuse victim has yet to bring a claim, he can still do so under California’s three-year look-back window.
If The Judge Doesn’t Approve the Proposed Plan
It’s entirely possible that a majority of claimants didn’t approve the plan. Even there is a clear majority, the bankruptcy court judge might not approve other of the plan’s provisions. That means the case must be continued. If the plan is approved, the judge will order how assets in the trust should be distributed. The establishment of another compensation fund for victims in states with “look back” statutes will also be decided.
What is a “Look Back” Statute?
Before the new “look back” statute was enacted, the general rule was that sexual abuse claimants in California had eight years after their 18th birthday to file a sexual abuse lawsuit. If the individual was older than 26, he could still file his lawsuit, but certifications were required from his attorney and an independent mental health professional. Now, with the new “look back” law, the alleged victim has 22 years after his 18th birthday to file his sexual abuse lawsuit. Anybody over 40 years of age will still have to file appropriate certifications.
Take Notice That the “Look Back” Window is Closing
California’s three-year “look back” statute closes on January 1, 2023. The way that the law stands at this juncture is that if an alleged Boy Scout sexual abuse survivor fails to file his claim with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, he’ll be forever barred from bringing such an action against the Boy Scouts. There is no present indication on whether the statute of limitations and “look out” laws will be extended.
The clock is running, but you still have time to confidentially consult with us at Quirk Accident & Injury Attorneys, APC, and there’s no cost at all for that courtesy. We’re sympathetic and caring, so we’ll listen to you carefully and answer your questions. In order to serve your best interests, we may or may not involve other attorneys on your behalf.
If you were a victim of Boy Scouts sexual abuse in Ventura County, Los Angeles County, or anywhere in SoCal, contact us as soon as possible. Remember that the “look back” window closes on January 1, 2023. You may never have this opportunity again.