Illinois Sexual Abuse Victims Win Again

Illinois sexual abuse victims through their lawyers won another victory in the Appellate Court regarding application of the statute of limitaions. In M.K. v. L.C. et al, 2009 WL 103616, released January 9-09, the Third District Appellate Court chose to follow the holding of an opinion released last year, Doe v. Diocese of Dallas, 379 Ill. App. 3d 782, 885 N.E. 2d 376 (2008), where the Fifth District held that the 2003 amendment to the Childhood Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations, 735 ILCS 5/13-202.2(b), was to be applied retroactively. Essentially this means that even if the statute of repose or limitations had expired before the 2003 amendment, the amendment controls, and the action may be mantained.

While this case and the Doe case will be reviewed by the Illinois Supreme Court, I am personally hopeful that these two thoughtful opinions by our Appellate Court will provide the framework and legal analysis that will lead the Justices to conclude that retroactive application of 735 ILCS 5/13-202.2(b), is the law of the State of Illinois. In an earlier blog, March 21-08, I conducted a detailed analysis of the “legislative Intent” and “vested rights” appraoch to applying statutes of repose and limitations retroactively. The bottom line is that our legislature has passed a statute that allows childhood sexual abuse victims longer times to file their suits because the damage from the sexual abuse does not always manifest itself within two years of reaching majority, this legislative determination should not be overruled by the judicial branch without a compelling right being violated. I see none, and so do two Appellate Courts in Illinois