The window closes soon for sexual abuse victims to file civil lawsuits against their abusers and the institutions that enabled their abuse. That’s why the sexual abuse legal team at San Jose-based Corsiglia McMahon & Allard is urging victims and survivors of abuse to come forward now before the law that provided a three-year opportunity to sue expires at the end of the year.
Assembly Bill 218 was approved in 2020 to give all childhood sexual abuse victims no matter how old they are now, an opportunity to come forward and hold the institutions that enabled their abuse accountable.
The three-year window expires Dec. 31, 2022.
Corsiglia McMahon & Allard’s clients have benefited greatly from the law, attorney Lauren Cerri said.
“For example, Alex Harrison was abused by his high school tennis coach in 2003 and was compensated $10 million for his suffering earlier this year by a Marin County jury,” Cerri said. “Our firm has also resolved two high-profile cases involving prominent coaches at Los Gatos and Valley Christian High Schools.”
In the Valley Christian case, survivor Allison Brown took action against the school and her abuser: girls’ basketball coach Greg Marshall. The case settled quickly and while the financial terms are confidential the amount is lifechanging.
“My sexual abuser took away my personal power,” Brown said. “But the process of holding Valley Christian High School accountable and responsible for their negligence gave me my power and my voice back.”
That’s why attorney Lauren Cerri says, "Our legal team is committed to ensuring that sexual abuse victims are fully compensated for the lifelong harm they suffer and that institutions like schools and churches do a better job protecting kids from sexual abuse."
One of Cerri's clients, a young woman in her twenties who was sexually abused for three years beginning when she was just 13 years old, was abused by her middle school band teacher; earlier this year, the Santa Clara County jury that heard her case awarded her $65 million.
"My client's abuse was entirely preventable if the Union School District had just learned from their past mistakes," Cerri said.
She was referring to the fact that in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, the Union School District failed to protect students from Cinnabar Elementary teacher Dennis Thomas, who abused numerous boys over many years.
Cerri settled that case for $7.5 million
"The reality is that it takes years, if not decades, for sexual abuse victims to process what happened to them and come forward," attorney Mark Boskovich said. "AB 218 allows victims and survivors of past abuse to confront their abuser and hold the institution that enabled the crime accountable."
One of Thomas’ survivors said, “I can finally turn around and tell my 10-year-old self that he’s heard, and I can take his hand without shame and walk forward with him.”
Corsiglia McMahon & Allard is urging victims to protect their legal rights by calling the firm at 408-289-1417 and speaking with an attorney. The consultation is free and confidential.
About Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard
The sexual abuse legal team at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard has a national reputation and proven record of helping survivors and their families recover from childhood sexual abuse. The firm’s $65 million jury verdict mentioned above is believed to be the largest single plaintiff sexual abuse verdict in the U.S. In addition to educator sexual abuse cases, the firm is also representing survivors of USA Swimming sexual abuse. Six of 12 cases against that organization have been settled by the firm as a result of the change in the law.
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Ed Vasquez at 408-420-6558 or firstname.lastname@example.org