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Posts Tagged "lawsuit"

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015 in Child Sexual Abuse

Boy Scouts’ Child Sexual Abuse Settlement Keeps Internal Files Private, For Now

A California child sexual abuse lawsuit settlement last week will allow the Boy Scouts of America to keep its “perversion files” outside of public view for a little bit longer. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a settlement has been reached between a 20-year old Santa Barbara man and the Boy Scouts of America.  The man was sexually abused at age 12 and 13 by a Scout leader named Al Stein.  Mr. Stein plead no contest to charges that he endangered three boys in 2007.  He later violated his probation when child pornography was found on his cell phone. The case had begun to receive attention from lawyers across the nation because the victim’s attorney had been successful in securing the Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” during the course of discovery and fact-finding.  The “perversion files” are internal files that Boy Scouts of America has been amassing since the 1920’s identifying sexually abusive scout leaders and their victims. Boy Scouts of America has fought for many years to keep these files secret.  The Supreme Court of Oregon ordered 20 years of files (1965 to 1985) released in a 2012 child sexual abuse lawsuit that ultimately led to a $20 million jury verdict.  Had the California lawsuit gone forward, much more recent perversion files could have been introduced into evidence.  This evidence would presumably serve to refute Boy Scouts’ claims that in recent years they have cleaned house and are taking child protection much more seriously. Perhaps it is the cynic in me, but this settlement seems much more motivated by the Boy Scouts’ preference to keep the newer “perversion files” sealed from public view, rather than by an interest in doing right by the victimized person.  Boy Scouts claims the files need to be kept secret in order to protect the victims, as well as those scout leaders who have been “falsely” accused.  According to the L.A. Times, a review of some previously disclosed “perversion files” reveals a dogged effort  by the Boy Scouts to protect abusive scout masters from criminal responsibility, and protect the organization’s reputation. It seems to me that the Boy Scouts could easily release the perversion files – if they wanted to — and redact or black out the names of the victims in order to protect their privacy.  This is what the Boy Scouts would do if they were truly interested in seeing justice done for the kids who were entrusted to them. It never ceases to amaze me the lengths that organizations will go to in order to avoid responsibility for the reprehensible actions of a small group of sick individuals — quite often to the detriment of admittedly innocent child victims.  Don’t these organizations realize that their tactics and strategies actually serve to compound the damage that has already been done to these young kids? I am guessing that it won’t be...

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Statute Of Limitations In Child Sexual Abuse Cases Can Yield Harsh Results

Posted by on Sep 9, 2014 in Child Sexual Abuse

Statute Of Limitations In Child Sexual Abuse Cases Can Yield Harsh Results

I recently saw this story on the New York Times website regarding the Yeshiva University high school and thought it would be useful to potential readers of this blog — particularly those who may have been victims of child sexual abuse, especially here in Florida. The New York Times story pertained to a lawsuit brought in federal court in New York by 34 men who claim that they were abused from the 1970s through the 1990s by two rabbis at the Yeshiva University High School in New York City.  A federal appeals court panel dismissed the men’s  lawsuit last week. The appeals court panel ruled that the men should have brought their legal cases earlier, but that they had waited too long.  Every state, including New York, has various Statutes of Limitation that put time limits on each kind of lawsuit that can be brought.  In negligence cases (such as negligent supervision cases – which most abuse cases against institutional defendants are) lawsuits generally have to be filed within two or four years of the time that the injured parties knew or should have known they were injured.  In child sexual abuse cases, there are often circumstances that extend the Statute of Limitations, but not indefinitely. The men in this case relied upon the argument that they were justifiably delayed in bringing the lawsuit because of a cover-up on behalf of the University in an effort to protect the rabbis. The appeals court indicated that the delay was not justified because the men reasonably should have seen the stonewalling by the University for the cover-up that it was, and should have filed suit soon thereafter in order to get to the bottom of things.  It goes without saying that the men will not be allowed to go forth with proof to support their claims. On the surface, it can seem to child sexual abuse victims like the legal system is designed to protect institutions and sexual abusers from money damages instead of seeing that victims are properly compensated.  As a result of decisions like these, it is important for anyone who has been victimized by a child sexual assault to know that there are all kinds of technical legal pitfalls like this one that can destroy a civil claim for damages.  Therefore, it is always worthwhile for child sexual abuse victims to have their legal questions answered as soon as possible. Fortunately, many states, including Florida, have recently passed laws relaxing the Statute of Limitations for actions arising out of child sexual abuse.  This, of course, should be helpful to new victims of abuse, but not so much for today’s adults who were victimized years decades ago. If you have any questions regarding a child sexual abuse case, or the Statute of Limitations that may apply to these claims, please call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and...

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Fall Didn’t Kill Woman, But Disney Could Be Liable For Wrongful Death Anyway

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Recent News, Theme Park Accidents, Types of Accidents, Wrongful Death Claims

Fall Didn’t Kill Woman, But Disney Could Be Liable For Wrongful Death Anyway

The surviving family of a woman who was injured on the Jungle Cruise ride at Walt Disney World has filed a wrongful death suit against the Central Florida theme park operator, even though the woman was nowhere near death when she left the park on the date of her accident. To a typical layperson, this scenario might not seem right.  But, as a Florida theme park injury lawyer, I think the law on this issue is completely fair and reasonable. According to WFTV.com, the decedent was a mother who broke her leg trying to safely hold her daughter while she entered the Jungle Cruise ride.  Her family believes that someone at Disney should have helped her board, and that their failure to do so represented negligence that was the legal cause of the woman’s original leg injury. The original leg injury was significant, and required the injured woman to be taken from Disney by ambulance to a local hospital.  Her leg required surgery, and less than 24 hours after returning home after her surgery, the young mother suffered a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot) that killed her. Under Florida law if the clot is related to the woman’s surgery, and the surgery was required as a result of Disney’s original negligence, then Disney can be held liable for the wrongful death of the mother — and therefore might have to pay damages to the woman’s surviving husband and children. Any other result would not fairly compensate victims of negligence.  Negligence only has to be one of the causes of the ultimate harm, not the only cause, in order for the careless person to be held liable. If you have any questions regarding a Florida wrongful death case, a theme park accident, or Florida’s intervening cause law, contact Winter Park personal injury lawyers Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...

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