Passage of Assembly Bill 218

On October 13, 2019, Governor Newsom signed AB 218 (Gonzalez), which among other things, substantially extends the statute of limitations to bring a civil action against an employer, including school districts, public agencies and others, where there has been a claim against an employee of that organization for alleged child sexual abuse. Previously the statute of limitations was 8 years after the plaintiff reached the age of majority (18 +8 =26 years old) or within three years of the date the plaintiff discovers or should have discovered that psychological injury occurring after reaching the age of majority was caused by sexual abuse, whichever period expires later. The statute of limitations has now been amended by AB 218 to 22 years after the plaintiff attains the age of majority (18+22=40 years old) or anytime thereafter within five years of discovering related psychological injury. The bill also allows a plaintiff to recover up to treble damages against a defendant who is found to have covered up the sexual assault of the plaintiff and retroactively revives, for three years, all claims that would otherwise be barred because of applicable statute of limitations.

The EIA’s Legislative Committee opposed this bill from the beginning and EIA staff and lobbyists worked with many other public agencies to oppose this bill at the legislature including participating in a coalition of risk pools, education partners, and nonprofits that testified before numerous legislative policy and fiscal committees, met with dozens of legislators, committee and department staff, and the Administration. Even though Governor Newsom signed the bill into law, it is notable that so many organizations collaborated so well in an attempt to oppose it.    

Already here in Sacramento we have heard advertisements on the radio from plaintiffs’ attorneys soliciting potential clients about sexual assault/abuse claims that might have previously been barred by the statute of limitations. We recommend that you consult with legal counsel about the impact of AB 218 on individual claims. If you have any questions about AB 218, feel free to contact the EIA’s Chief Legal Counsel, Mike Pott, at 916-850-7300 or at mpott@csac-eia.org.