The Legal Claims
Victims of childhood sexual abuse have 12 years from the day they turn 18 to file suit against their perpetrator.
(C) An action for assault or battery brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse based on childhood sexual abuse, or an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting any claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, shall be brought within twelve years after the cause of action accrues. For purposes of this section, a cause of action for assault or battery based on childhood sexual abuse, or a cause of action for a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse, accrues upon the date on which the victim reaches the age of majority. If the defendant in an action brought by a victim of childhood sexual abuse asserting a claim resulting from childhood sexual abuse that occurs on or after August 3, 2006, has fraudulently concealed from the plaintiff facts that form the basis of the claim, the running of the limitations period with regard to that claim is tolled until the time when the plaintiff discovers or in the exercise of due diligence should have discovered those facts.
Victims of childhood sexual abuse typically may file complaints alleges five claims against the perpetrator: 1) Childhood Sexual Assault (O.R.C. 2305.111) ; 2) Gross Sexual Imposition (O.R.C. 2907.05) ; 3) Sexual Imposition (O.R.C. 2907.06) ; 4) Civil Liability for Criminal Acts (O.R.C. 2307.60), and; 5) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. When the abuse occurred with knowledge of a 3rd party, a claim for Negligent Supervision may be asserted against the 3rd party.
Tort Reform Act and Childhood Sexual Abuse
Pursuant to O.R.C. 2315.18, a plaintiff’s damages may be unlimited for any economic loss suffered. However, noneconomic loss is limited as follows:
for injury or loss to person or property shall not exceed the greater of two hundred fifty thousand dollars or an amount that is equal to three times the economic loss, as determined by the trier of fact, of the plaintiff in that tort action to a maximum of three hundred fifty thousand dollars for each plaintiff in that tort action or a maximum of five hundred thousand dollars for each occurrence that is the basis of that tort action. (R.C. 2315.18(B)(2)).
The Ohio Supreme Court has interpreted R.C. 2315.18(B)(2) to mean that: “the court must limit recovery to the greater of (1) $250,000 or (2) three times the economic damages up to a maximum of $350,000, or $500,000 per single occurrence.” Arbino v. Johnson & Johnson, 2007-Ohio-6948, ¶ 28, 116 Ohio St. 3d 468, 474 (2007). (Emphasis added).
When the victim was a child when the abuse occurred, they generally not have a direct economic loss in terms of lost wages. However, an economic forensic expert can be employed to establish how childhood sexual and psychological abuse affects a victim’s ability to procure and maintain employment as an adult. That generally is a very large number.
Additionally, “economic loss” includes “expenditures for medical care or treatment, rehabilitation services, or other care, treatment, services, products, or accommodations as a result of an injury or loss to person or property that is a subject of a tort action.” (R.C. 2315.18(A)(2)(b)). A child sexual abuse therapist can establish that victims will continue to need to receive psychological counseling for the rest of their life as a result of the abuse. Future treatment costs will be a very big number.
Although recovery for noneconomic loss is generally limited to $250,000, a plaintiff may be awarded up to $500,000 for “each occurrence that is the basis of the tort.” Under R.C. 2315.18, “occurrence” is defined as “all claims resulting from or arising out of any one person’s bodily injury.” (R.C. 2315.18(A)(5)). In accordance with Ohio law, when a court examines whether acts were part of separate occurrences the court may look to whether there was a separate injury for each act, time and space parameters, and whether there were intervening factors between the acts. Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church of Del., 2016-Ohio-8118, ¶ 57, 149 Ohio St. 3d 307, 322 (2016).
Often the abuse spans of years and there are distinct measures of time between the occurrences, the occurrences frequently take place in various locations, and victims suffer different injuries from each occurrence. For example, if there are five (5) occurrences over a period of years, each instance was a separate occasion at various developmental stages in the victim’s life. Upon a finding of liability of five (5) occurrences, the victim could be awarded up to $500,000 per occurrence. $500,000.00 x 5 = $2,500,000.00.
Craig T. Matthews (0029215)
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1 In Simpkins, the Court found that the oral and vaginal penetration of a minor constituted only a single occurrence stating: “The oral and vaginal penetrations in this case occurred within a short period of time, in a confined space, without intervening factors, and there is no evidence that Williams’s separate criminal acts affected Simpkins differently.” Simpkins v. Grace Brethren Church of Del., 149 Ohio St. 3d 307. at 322.