After New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act (CVA) into law in February 2019, Bond assembled a team of attorneys from multiple practices across the firm (e.g., litigation, labor and employment, school law, higher education and business restructuring, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy) to assist clients with any questions they might have regarding this new law. In addition, this team prepared multiple informational webinars on the Child Victims Act and prepared to assist clients in defending claims arising from events decades in the past, as well as advise about asset protection and restructuring.
We are presently defending more than 30 CVA cases involving allegations of abuse spanning a 50-year period, ranging from teachers to clergy to hospital and university employees to social workers and physicians. Our clients include private and public schools, religious entities, individuals, colleges, universities and other institutions. These cases extend from the westernmost reaches of New York State to Long Island. Our position as a premier statewide firm allows Bond to provide attorneys with specific knowledge and experience in each local venue to handle these cases; our understanding of the practices of the assigned judges and local procedures provide a level of insight and effectiveness that our clients value.
As part of that representation, we have worked with our clients to locate critical applicable insurance, which frequently is difficult because these allegations often date back to the 1960s or earlier. When insurance is available, we work cooperatively with the insurance carrier to discuss strategies and potential pre-trial resolutions.
Cases brought under the Child Victims Act require a sensitive approach. Often, because the incidents in question go back decades, there are no available documents from which to either prove or disprove the allegations of abuse. The defense of the institution, consequently, turns on its lack of knowledge of the alleged abuser’s propensity to commit such acts. Bond takes great care to zealously protect the reputation of the institution in CVA cases without attacking the alleged victim.
Bond also works with clients to avoid future claims of abuse. We have conducted numerous frontline training programs for mandated reporters of child sexual abuse.