W.S. v. Hildreth

Once again, the New Jersey Appellate Division grappled with an untimely notice of claim under the Tort Claims Act. The plaintiff sued his former teacher and the school district that employed the teacher. The plaintiff claimed that the teacher had sexually abused him decades earlier. Effective December 1, 2019, the legislature enacted certain amendments to the Tort Claims Act, the Charitable Immunity Act, and the CSAA. Those amendments were intended to extend the statute of limitations in civil actions for sexual abuse claims and also expand the categories of potential defendants in civil actions, and for some actions permit retroactive application of standards of liability to past acts of abuse for which liability did not previously exist. Under the old law, the plaintiff would have needed to file a timely notice of claim. He had not. He also would have had to abide by a two-year statute of limitations under the old law. Under the amendments, he would only need to file suit before he turned 55 years old, which he did. The school district argued that the old law still applied to the plaintiff’s claims because the cause of action accrued before the effective date of the amendments. But the Appellate Division disagreed, noting that the amendments specifically stated that they “shall apply to any cause of action filed on or after” the date they took effect. Here, the amendments applied and the Appellate Division reversed the order of the Law Division dismissing plaintiff’s suit.

Search entire site by keyword...

Search for Summaries by Hashtag...

Past Opinion Summaries