Judges Expect to be Inundated with Lawsuits from Child Victims Act

One year window for lawsuits opens today

Tom Puckett
August 14, 2019 - 4:00 am

Sexual abuse survivors speak during press conference/Getty Images

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) The window is open for victims of sexual abuse to come forward under the Child Victims Act. One retired judge says courts are going to be even busier.

"I believe the courts are going to be inundated," says retired State Supreme Court Judge Penny Wolfgang. "The attorneys have been preparing and waiting since the law passed." She estimates as many as 1,000 cases will go through the region. She adds the state court system has been preparing as well. "How we always do divide up cases is computerized assignments, but in this instance, we're going to have judges assigned to cover these particular matters," explains Wolfgang.

Wolfgang reminds plaintiffs to be patient. "There are a lot of pre-trial matters, depositions, meetings, deadlines, inquiries that have to take place. A lot of pre-trial discovery takes place before the matter goes to court," notes Wolfgang. "We're not talking immediate trials, immediate settlements. It could take a year before these matters are solved." Wolfgang says if every case filed went to trial, it could take years before matters are settled.

Wolfgang says she can only think of one other matter close to this. "When there's a class action, everybody's suing for asbestos injuries, they have a class action, but here we have individual cases," and the Child Victims Act is a unique law put into place.

Wolfgang adds judges will be ready just like any other trial. "We study the law, we looked at the law, we interpreted it, we'll do the best we can," says Wolfgang.

 

 

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