Are you or a loved one a survivor of child sexual abuse? We would like to introduce you to a new matter Potter Burnett Law is investigating along with our litigation partner, Jenner Law – the Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023.
Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023
The Maryland Child Victims Act of 2023 is a newly passed law that allows survivors of child sexual abuse to bring a lawsuit against their perpetrators and the institutions that supported known abusers.
Previously, Maryland law required lawsuits for childhood sexual abuse to be filed by the time the survivor turned 38 years old. Now, with the passing of the CVA, there are no time limits for filing lawsuits related to child sexual abuse against institutions (with one notable exception, explained below), so anyone who was sexually abused as a child may bring a lawsuit against their abusers, including institutions like churches and schools, even if the survivor is now over 38 years old.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore Files for Bankruptcy
Two days before the CVA could go into effect, the Archdiocese of Baltimore (“AOB”) filed for bankruptcy. This means that survivors with claims against the AOB can still pursue financial recovery, but that recovery needs to be made in the federal bankruptcy court rather than in the various trial courts throughout Maryland.
The AOB filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, which acknowledges that the AOB owes the anticipated debt of compensation to survivors. Survivors of clergy abuse with claims against the AOB and its covered entities (churches, schools, and organizations that fall under its insurance policies), are now creditors in the bankruptcy.
The Bankruptcy “Bar Date”
Now that survivors/creditors with claims are locked in the bankruptcy process, they must file a Claim Form to register their rights to recover. The AOB has asked that the bankruptcy court impose a three-month “bar date” – a deadline – to file their claims, meaning they want all claims filed after February 26, 2024 to be barred from any monetary recovery. While the survivors’/creditors’ lawyers will object to the imposition of such a deadline, we want our clients to know about this proposed deadline now so your rights can be protected and you are prepared to act.
If you are interested in speaking with a trauma-informed lawyer about potential claims you may have against a perpetrator and anybody who gave safe harbor to the perpetrator, give us a call. We will set you up with an experienced professional who can answer your questions.
If you believe you have a claim against a Catholic church in Maryland (or an institution related to a Catholic church, like a Catholic school), because of the bar date, we urge you to call immediately.
If you’d like to learn more about our co-counsel at Jenner Law, please visit their website at www.jennerlawfirm.com and then give us a call at (301) 820-7820.