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Stop the #MeToo Lawsuit Carnival

Betsy McCaughey on

Anyone can be the target of an accusation or a lawsuit, whether deserved or not. Your wallet and your reputation are at risk. The danger is gravest in New York, where state lawmakers have turned their backs on the rights of the accused.

New York legislators are kowtowing to the #MeToo zealots and their trial lawyer allies, waiving the time limit that protects people from being sued decades later for a sexual offense that may -- or may not -- have occurred.

More than 3,000 lawsuits have been filed since the Adult Survivors Act went into effect in November 2022. Who's getting sued? Entertainers Jamie Foxx and Axl Rose, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, disgraced former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, former President Donald Trump, as well as business titans, physicians, prison guards, employers and other ordinary people.

The new law opened a one-year window, which just closed on Thanksgiving Day, during which individuals who claim to be victims of sexual assault could sue their alleged abuser, no matter how long ago the abuse took place, if at all. The Adult Survivors Act waived the statute of limitations.

Now Albany lawmakers are talking about suspending the statute of limitations for another year, or forever. That would be a disaster.

When someone is accused of wrongdoing 20 years ago, it's impossible to remember details, assemble restaurant and hotel receipts, track down witnesses and prove innocence. Statutes of limitation have been a feature of American law since the nation's founding to ensure defendants can mount a defense.

 

Sexual abuse victims deserve justice. But the Adult Survivors Act is producing plenty of injustice.

"How do you expect people to remember details of something that happened or didn't happen?" asks Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. New York lawmakers should restore the statute of limitations and limit it to five years.

Apparently, New York lawmakers don't care about defendants' rights. They're bending to political pressure from #MeToo, not to mention the plaintiffs bar that stands to rake in contingency fees.

"With the Adult Survivors Act, we are saying we believe you," New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said. Sorry, that's not justice. That's tilting the scales. Why believe the plaintiff more than the defendant?

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