A new law just took effect in New York that, for a limited period of time, ignores the typical statute of limitations and allows alleged adult survivors of sexual assault to file criminal complaints and lawsuits, regardless of how long ago the alleged assault may have occurred.
That law came into effect on Thursday, and among the first to take advantage of it was former columnist E. Jean Carroll with a new lawsuit that accused former President Donald Trump of battery and defamation, CNN reported.
This new lawsuit contains the same allegations of defamation Carroll made against Trump in a 2019 lawsuit, but now with the additional battery claim, that stems from her assertion that Trump raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s, and Carroll has reportedly asked the courts to combine the two lawsuits into a single case.
New lawsuit filed
According to CNN, former President Trump has steadfastly denied any such incident ever occurring with Carroll, and recently reiterated what he has said all along — that her claims against him are just another false “hoax” intended to garner her more attention while also bluntly noting that she “is not my type.”
Carroll has alleged that Trump’s fervent denials of her claims constitute defamation against her, and has asked the court system to force Trump to retract his statements as well as award her unspecified amounts in compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages.
The new lawsuit alleges that “Trump’s underlying sexual assault severely injured Carroll, causing significant pain and suffering, lasting psychological harms, loss of dignity, and invasion of her privacy. His recent defamatory statement has only added to the harm that Carroll had already suffered.”
This case an “abuse” of the new act’s purpose, Trump’s attorney says
The Washington Post reported that Carroll, who only first raised her claim of the alleged mid-1990s sexual assault in a 2019 book, had made it clear months ago that she fully intended to take advantage of the one-year window that ignores statutes of limitations to file claims as provided by New York’s new Adult Survivors Act.
Carroll’s attorney, Roberta Kaplan, said in a statement that her client “intends to hold Donald Trump accountable not only for defaming her, but also for sexually assaulting her, which he did years ago in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman,” and added, “Thanksgiving Day was the very first day Ms. Carroll could file under New York law so our complaint was filed with the court shortly after midnight.”
In response to the new lawsuit from Carroll, one of Trump’s attorneys, Alina Habba, said in a statement, “While I respect and admire individuals that come forward, this case is unfortunately an abuse of the purpose of this Act which creates a terrible precedent and runs the risk of delegitimizing the credibility of actual victims.”
The act will further burden already swamped courts
The New York Post reported that there are real concerns that the new Adult Survivors Act will result in a flood of new lawsuits that will overwhelm the Empire State’s already bogged-down and overloaded court system.
This new act was modeled after the state’s Child Victims Act that was passed a few years ago and similarly provided a window for lawsuits to be filed regardless of expired statutes of limitations, and the courts are still struggling to move forward with more than 5,000 lawsuits that stemmed from that prior act.
There are already said to be hundreds of anticipated lawsuits just waiting to be filed, but that number could easily grow into several thousand before the one-year window is closed again.