State Discrimination Claims Revived Under the New York Child Victims Act, SDNY Rules

default author image08.18.2023

NEW YORK, NY – Crumiller has defeated a motion to dismiss a federal child sex abuse lawsuit against New York Military Academy, resulting in a landmark decision that has major implications for future sex abuse plaintiffs.

Plaintiff Gilbert Allan Segal Jr., a former student at New York Military Academy from 1996-1997, alleges the school’s staff and administrators turned a blind eye to numerous sexual assaults, beatings, and rapes committed by other students.

Segal filed a lawsuit under the New York Child Victims Act (“CVA”), which temporarily revived every civil claim alleging sexual offenses against children, even if the statutory period of limitations had expired. An estimated 11,000 lawsuits were filed during the CVA window.

In an Opinion and Order dated August 14, 2023, U.S. District Judge Vincent Briccetti denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss the case, finding that the CVA also revived Segal’s claims of gender-based discrimination and retaliation under the New York State Human Rights Law:

According to defendants, Segal’s NYSHRL claims for gender discrimination and retaliation were not revived by the CVA because “[d]iscrimination and retaliation claims are not violations of the penal law,” and “do not necessarily implicate allegations of sexual abuse.” (Doc. #51 at ECF 38). However, Segal alleges being gang raped and forcibly sodomized, which clearly comprise “conduct which would constitute a sexual offense” under state penal law. N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214-g. And this lawsuit, which was commenced on August 14, 2021, was filed within the window established by the CVA… Therefore, Segal’s NYSHRL claims, which allege sexual assault and are asserted in a timely-filed lawsuit, were revived by the CVA.

Defendants cite no authority supporting their argument that state-law discrimination and retaliation claims were not revived by the CVA solely because they are discrimination and retaliation claims, and the Court cannot independently locate any.

This is a significant win for CVA plaintiffs and may support future arguments by litigants under state laws with similar lookback windows, such as the Adult Survivors Act, which temporarily lifts the statute of limitations for claims of sexual assault committed against adults. The window to file claims under the Adult Survivors Act closes on November 23, 2023.

The case is Segal v. New York Military Academy et al, No. 21-cv-6872 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Statement from Travis Pierre-Louis, attorney for Plaintiff:

“It is well established that sexual abuse is at least partly rooted in discriminatory animus based on the victim’s gender. We are very pleased with the Court’s Order recognizing that the CVA’s broad lookback window not only covers assault claims, but also includes related claims of gender discrimination and retaliation. More than anything, we are incredibly proud of our client, who spent over a year bravely trying to navigate the legal system pro se before they found our office. This decision will have a profound impact on other CVA cases and may provide an additional tool for survivors to fight back under similar laws like the Adult Survivors Act, which currently has an open lookback window until November 23, 2023.”

Read the decision below:

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