New York hospitals brace for wave of lawsuits as state changes sex abuse law

New York hospitals and other large institutions are preparing to face thousands of lawsuits and settlements beginning Aug. 14, when the state opens a one-year "look-back window" that suspends the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The look-back window allows people to file a civil lawsuit for alleged childhood sexual abuse, with no limit on when the alleged abuse occurred. The New York look-back window is also unique in that it will allow plaintiffs to sue public institutions like schools and hospitals, rather than just private ones, according to the report. Particularly in cases where the abuser has died, institutions could be financially and legally responsible, according to the report.  

One lawyer told The Wall Street Journal he will likely file lawsuits for more than 500 people, and about 200 of those people allege they were sexually abused by a physician from Rockefeller University Hospital in New York City. The physician, Reginald Archibald, MD, died in 2007.   

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