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Michigan Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Suffering in Silence – No More!
The Statute of Limitations laws in Michigan have been restrictive, making it difficult for many survivors of sexual assault to seek justice.
We hope all that is about to change if the state passes a package of new legislation called the “Access to Justice” (ATJ) bill, including the “Survivors Bill of Rights.”
Contact us now.
Under the 9-part ATJ bill that is working its way through the Michigan House,1 longer Statute of Limitations and a 2-year “revival window” would allow sex assault survivors more time to bring civil charges against the entities (churches, schools, companies, hospitals, etc.) that employed and often protected assailants.
“Access to Justice” would make it possible for men and women to bring legal action no matter when the assault occurred or how old the survivor was at the time.
The Survivors Bill of Rights would require that survivors are informed of their right to access advocates, attorneys, counselors, and other supports as they navigate the reporting process.
In addition to contacting us about filing a case, please urge your state representative to vote for this important bill.
For a slew of reasons, any constraint on reporting sex assault trauma is “archaic,” said Michigan Congresswoman Julie Brixie, who introduced the bipartisan 9-part bundle in April; Brixie has also cosponsored a bipartisan bill aiming to eliminate legal immunity for government entities that knowingly harbor sexual predators.
“The Legislature should not be dictating which survivors have access to justice.”
– Julie Brixie, Lansing, April 23, 2023
The “Survivors Bill of Rights” would require that survivors are informed of their right to access advocates, attorneys, counselors, and other supports as they navigate through the reporting process.
Previous attempts at passing a retroactive window for sexual assault lawsuits in Michigan have been waylaid by fierce lobbying from universities, local governments, corporations, and churches uneasy about an onslaught of lawsuits against current or former employees.
Given the history of sexual abuse in The Catholic Church and at Universities like MSU, and the large sums already paid to survivors, it is not surprising that there has been opposition.
Statute of Limitations for Beginners
Statute of Limitations is the legal time frame set by each state that determines how long Plaintiffs (you) are allowed to bring charges against the person(s) responsible (the Defendant). Of all legal frameworks devoted to personal injury, sexual assault claims are often subject to the strictest parameters.
In Michigan, the current Statute of Limitations for sex assault is two years after the incident, although special circumstances were carved out for survivors of abuse at the hands of former athletic physicians Robert Anderson (UM) and Larry Nassar (MSU).
If this bill passes, survivors of institutional abuse in Michigan will have the opportunity to be heard.
Highlights of the 9-bill Proposal Include:
- 2-year “lookback window” retroactively allowing any assault survivor to file a civil lawsuit, regardless of whether the legal time frame for filing a claim has already passed. Note: Civil lawsuits result in potential financial award; whereas criminal cases aim to put the assailant behind bars.
- Permanent repeal of the Statute of Limitations in future cases for individuals up to age 52.
- Raising the age limit from age 28 to 48 (future cases 52), reflective of research validating rape trauma syndrome (RTS); and adding 10 years to the time limit after a person is able to recollect the incident enough to declare vital details.
- Removing civil government immunity in cases of criminal sexual conduct and extension of overall civil Statute of Limitations for those over the age of 52 – from 3 to 7 years after the survivor is able to recall the incident of attack.
- Requiring hospitals and medical facilities to make showers available to victims following a forensic examination.
- Requiring rape kits to be processed, reviewed, and reported within an adequate time period.
- “Survivors Bill of Rights” (addendum) to help victims of sexual abuse better navigate the criminal justice system, including regularly informing survivors of the right to speak with legal counsel while reporting an assault.
Why Survivors Need More Time
On average, child sex assault survivors of both genders don’t come forward until around age 52, according to ChildUSA2, owing largely to delayed disclosure, or rape trauma syndrome (RTS), occurring when the sudden, tremendous threat of immediate survival scrambles the brain’s prefrontal cortex during a traumatic incident. The condition is also referred to as dissociative amnesia.
“The majority of child sex abuse victims who disclose their abuse delay disclosure until adulthood. A large portion of abuse victims never disclose abuse at all.”
– CHILDUSA, March 2020
Without clarity of memory, justice has almost no shot. ChildUSA2 cites that disclosure rates are between 31% and 41% during childhood and 58% to 72% for lifetime. The DOJ (Department of Justice) cites that 86% never report any of the rapes/abuse they experienced during childhood.
Men Are Even More Reluctant to Disclose Abuse.
If a state’s statute of limitations expires before the time a survivor reckons with the assault, that survivor will likely have no legal recourse. This is particularly tragic because it adds trauma upon trauma: experts in the field of psychiatry agree the biggest component to recovery from sexual trauma is speaking out. There is far less hope of mending if one can’t legally seek vindication.
Together, A Case for Justice and Grewal Law are dedicated to turning the tide of sexual assault and helping survivors obtain justice.
Over the years, A Case for Justice has helped thousands of individuals access powerful, contingency fee legal services. There is no charge to you for our services. We are an affiliate of A Case for Women, LLC, and operate a non-profit called A Fund for Women. To learn more, visit our FAQs.
Finally, there’s a safe, confidential place where you can tell your story and seek justice.
Reclaim Your Power Through Legal Action.
A Case for Justice is working with the Michigan-based sexual assault law firm Grewal Law PLLC to help men and women who have been sexually assaulted by an assailant working for, or otherwise under, the auspices of a corporation or institution in the state of Michigan.
Grewal Law earned national celebrity in several recent high-profile cases in Michigan. Grewal Law is part of a legal team currently representing over 200 survivors of Robert Anderson at University of Michigan. The case has settled with a $490 million settlement in principle. Grewal also represented 111 of the 333 survivors in the lawsuits against Michigan State University for sexual abuse involving the former MSU doctor, Larry Nassar. It resolved in a $500 million global settlement for the survivors.
Grewal accepts cases on a contingency-fee basis and will only be compensated if and when they achieve a positive settlement or verdict in your case. There is no charge for our services.
In Assault Cases, We Emphasize 3 Things:
The attorneys we partner with know how to fight for justice against serial predators or those who have, knowingly, turned a blind eye to predators.
At A Case For Justice, we take protecting your private information very seriously.
We only work with lawyers who operate on a contingency-fee basis. If they don’t win for you, you owe them nothing. We charge nothing to get you started.
A Case for Justice is grounded in the uniquely American ideal: that every citizen has the right to punish wrongdoers and seek retribution in a court of law. Together we are dedicated to bringing more attention to the issue of sexual assault that has been silenced for decades. Our goal is to help survivors speak out and take legal action.
How You Can Take Control.
Whether it’s you or someone you know, we encourage you to come forward when you’re ready. While “revival window” deadlines offer more lenience, they are still finite. Contact us as soon as you’re ready. We would be honored to hear from you and to assist.
- Beth LeBlanc, “Plan lifting Michigan’s statute of limitations on sex abuse lawsuits gets new push,” Detroit News, April 26, 2023.
- Staff, “Delayed Disclosure,” CHILDUSA: THE NATIONAL THINK TANK FOR CHILD PROTECTION, March 2020.