Statute of Limitations * Workers Comp Judge Fired * Promoting Litigation Reform at PLC
PA House Votes to Reform Statutes of Limitations for Child Sexual Abuse Cases
This week the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation designed to provide a greater period of time to prosecute and bring civil actions against those perpetrating child sexual abuse.
H.B. 962 prospectively eliminates the criminal statute of limitations for child sexual abuse crimes. It will also allow future child abuse victims to file civil suits up to age 55.
H.B. 963 is a constitutional amendment that would open a two year window for child sex abuse victims to file a civil suit if the statute of limitations has already expired. A constitutional amendment must pass in two consecutive sessions of the legislature and be ratified by the voters.
H.B. 962, dealing with criminal statute of limitations, was amended by the House to condition it taking effect only when the Senate has passed H.B. 963 for the first time. This amendment is an attempt to prevent the Senate from passing the criminal limitations reform without addressing the two year window for civil claims.
Both bills now go to the Senate for consideration. It is uncertain whether the amendment linking the effective date of H.B. 962 to first passage of H.B. 963 will enhance the chances of the Senate passing a two year window for civil cases. The Senate did not consider House passed legislation during the previous session to provide for a civil suit statute oflimitations window.
Workers Comp Judge Fired After Complaints by Pond Lehocky
The politically influential law firm, Pond Lehocky Stern and Giordano, recently made headlines again, with questions surrounding the firm’s influence on the termination of a state workers compensation judge. The episode, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, raises concern “that law firms with political clout are able to exert undue influence over the court system where they practice, potentially causing a chilling effect among judges.”