Articles Tagged with West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyer

When sexual assault occurs on a boat off the coast of Florida, survivors can understandably be a bit perplexed about their options for legal recourse. What jurisdiction is in charge? Who can be held responsible? How much time is there to file? West Palm Beach sexual assault lawyer

At Halberg & Fogg, our West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyers are committed to the fight for accountability in the wake of such offenses. We know that survivors of sexual assault often have a number of legal options, but it’s imperative to be deliberate in the actions we take. A misstep could mean wasted time, added trauma for survivors and potentially lost opportunities to pursue justice.

The jurisdiction (court that has authority) and the laws that will apply in a civil sexual assault lawsuit stemming from an incident on a boat will depend on a few things.

These are: Continue reading

Attorneys fighting for victims of decades-old child sexual abuse, the March 2023 Third District Court of Appeals’ ruling in Doe v. Archdiocese of Miami, Inc. represented a key victory for abuse survivors. The appellate panel gave the green light to a plaintiff pursuing a civil lawsuit against the Catholic church for liability of a priest’s alleged sexual abuse – despite the passage of more than 20 years. However, the archdiocese is now asking for the Florida Supreme Court to intervene and have the case dismissed, calling it “a case of exceptional importance for employers.” Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyer church sex abuse lawsuit

Plaintiff in the case is a man who came forward about the sexual abuse he suffered on dozens of occasions from the time he was 7 until he was 9 by a priest. The complaint – which is against the church and does not name the priest – alleges the archdiocese was aware that the priest in question had an extensive history of child sexual abuse dating back to at least the late 1960s. The church allegedly not only concealed prior allegations, but continued to place this priest in positions where he still had access to children. Nothing was done to prevent further abuse, the complaint alleges.

The 3rd DCA’s ruling held that the alleged victim could not sue the church for negligence because there is a 4-year statute of limitations on negligence claims, per F.S. 95.11(9). (Or at least, there was. A recent change to the law has shortened that window down to just 2 years.) However, the court did reverse the circuit court’s dismissal of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the church, per F.S. 95.11(7), which references intentional tort claims based on abuse. That provision of the law was passed in 2010 law and lifted certain statute of limitation restrictions on cases that involve sexual battery of victims younger than 16. Rather than a hardline 4-year statute of limitations, claims brought forth on this basis may commence whichever of the following occurs latest:

  • Within 7 years after the victim reaches the age of majority OR
  • Within 4 years after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser OR
  • Within 4 years of discovering both the injury and causal relationship between the injury of abuse.

Finding that the claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress was rooted in the intentional tort of abuse, the 3rd DCA applied this statute, and concluded the plaintiff’s intentional tort claim survived until 2017, which was 7 years after he turned 18.

Furthermore, the court rejected the Catholic church’s argument that such claims could be only made against an institution, rather than an individual.

As our West Palm Beach sexual abuse lawyers can explain, most civil sexual abuse claims are against institutions – employers, schools, property owners, sports organizations, and churches.

Why? Continue reading

If you’re filing a Florida sexual assault lawsuit in civil court, there are a number of potential legal hurdles about which you should be aware. West Palm Beach sexual assault lawyer

Before diving into the details, we want to make it clear that the point here isn’t to discourage anyone considering a sex abuse lawsuit. Rather, our goal is to empower. As West Palm Beach attorneys for sexual abuse survivors, we’re fully cognizant of the fact that our clients have already been through so much. Part of our job is to make sure that those clients – and potential clients – have all they need to make informed choices about how best to proceed when it comes to a sexual assault civil lawsuit. That includes carefully explaining some of the legal snags that can stymie a case.

Why File a Florida Sexual Assault Lawsuit in Civil Court?

More than half of women and nearly 1 in 3 men experience sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lifetime. Not all incidents are “violent,” but no less damaging for that. (Sometimes it’s even more traumatic when a victim is made to believe they are somehow complicit or responsible.)

Accountability in these cases is often elusive in criminal courts. Even if the alleged abuser or attacker is prosecuted and convicted, the ability of the criminal justice system to compensate survivors is limited. Criminal cases may include an offer of restitution. However, unlike in a civil case, the purpose with this financial compensation isn’t solely to compensate the victim. It’s also intended to serve the rehabilitative goals that the criminal justice system has for defendants – and this doesn’t always align with what’s in the best interests of the victim.

But whatever happens on that end of things, there may be grounds to pursue liability in a civil case – typically from third parties.

Though usually not a direct legal action against the perpetrator, third-party sex abuse cases can be an effective way for victims to obtain:

  • Validation and accountability from third parties that had a responsibility to do more to keep you safe or warn you of the danger.
  • Financial compensation for the very real and very significant impact this has had on your life.
  • A safer future for those in similar scenarios. When third-parties are compelled to pay for failing to protect against the risk of sexual assault when they had a responsibility to do so, they  – and others – will take greater care to do better. Defendants in these cases are often property owners, school administrators, sports teams, and employers. People deserve to be safe in these spaces, and successful third-party liability sexual abuse lawsuits can help achieve that.

It’s true that the probability of winning – and actually collecting a financial judgment – is central to the question of whether pursuing a civil sex abuse case is a prudent choice. But it’s not the only consideration. Our attorneys can help walk you through your objectives, concerns, and strategies to overcome common legal issues.

What Obstacles May Stand in the Way of Justice?

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