Colorado Considers Eliminating Time Limits for Sex Abuse Claims

by John McKiggan

A state legislator wants to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits.

Rep. Gwyn Green (D-Golden) is sponsoring the “Children’s Protection Bill.” Based on the proposed law, a victim of sexual abuse would be able to sue an organization or an agency if it knew about the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the perpetrator from committing the abuse.

In the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in M.K. v. M.H. the court ruled that the time limit in historical sexual abuse claims did not start to run until the victim was reasonably capable of discovering the wrongful nature of the abuser’s acts and the nexus between those acts and the victim’s injuries.

The ruling in M.K. v. M.H. has since been codified in the limitation statutes of all Canadian provinces and territories and is generally refered to as the “discoverability rule”.

The proposed Colorado statute seems to go even further than the Canadian discoverability rule. There is no indication that when the victim discovered the effects of the abuse has any bearing on the time limit to bring a claim.

If this is the case, then the statute would be one of the most liberal victim protection laws in North America.

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