Scott Seaman Discusses Insurance Implications of Maryland Law Eliminating the Statute of Limitations in Sexual Abuse Cases
Hinshaw partner Scott Seaman recently discussed with Law360 Insurance Authority the insurance implications of a recent Maryland law eliminating the statute of limitations in sexual abuse cases. The article discusses the law in light of the Maryland attorney general's release of a nearly 500-page redacted report that details decades of sexual abuse by the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
The Maryland law – which takes effect this October – removes any age restrictions on victims of sexual abuse filing a lawsuit. Seaman noted that legislation reopening the statute of limitations could lead to an onslaught of litigation and help fuel higher costs for insurers.
"In the past, we have seen suspension or elimination of statutes of limitation result in a very large influx of litigation," he said. "This coupled with the plaintiffs bar's extensive advertising activities, for example, produced more than 82,000 claims against Boy Scouts of America and resulted in a settlement trust of $2.5 [billion] to $6.5 billion effectuated through bankruptcy."
Seaman points out that there are important reasons for statutes of limitations. "Defending stale claims can be very challenging considering witness deaths, aged and infirm witnesses, faded or distorted memories, lack of surviving physical and documentary evidence, and the supercharged nature of the allegations," he said.
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"Md. AG's Report Puts Spotlight On Abuse Coverage Issues" was published by Law360 Insurance Authority on April 24, 2023.