Minnesota law extends sexual abuse filing window, puts pressure on archdiocese

Business Insurance

January 4, 2015

A 2013 Minnesota law easing the state’s statute of limitations on sexual abuse claims has led to a barrage of claims against a Minnesota Catholic archdiocese and renewed concerns among institutions nationwide about the potential effect of such laws.

The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis recently filed suit against its liability insurers dating back to 1952 for coverage of claims arising since Minnesota opened a three-year “window” for those with previously time-barred abuse claims. With more than a year before the window closes, the archdiocese has said the growing cost of dealing with the claims may force it to seek bankruptcy protection.

Minnesota is the fifth U.S. jurisdiction to enact a temporary waiver of the statute of limitation for abuse claims, and similar legislation continues to be introduced in several other states.

“Window” legislation and other retroactive extensions of statutes of limitations are a major concern for institutions that care for children, experts say.

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