Lewis , swept away hope this week that employees would be able to form class actions or join forces against oppressive employer practices. Instead, arbitration clauses in agreements pit the lone employee against the employer.
In the same vein,the House of Representatives today sent to President Trump a bill to relax restrictions on banks. These developments are not happening in a vacuum. On March 1, I optimistically wrote here that three of the worst states were considering meaningful statute of limitations reform—Georgia, Michigan, and New York. The freshness of the MeToo movement seemed to augur a positive pathway even in those states that have long shut out victims.
Since then, each state has followed a different path, but victims in none of these states are likely to celebrate soon. For the time being, they have been suppressed by the insurance, chamber of commerce, and religious lobbyists.
Georgia was considering a window that would have held institutions accountable. A defensible version of the Hidden Predator Act passed the House. But institutional lobbyists succeeded in the senate, which gutted the strong parts of the bill and added so many poison pills that it died a merciful death before it could set a terrible precedent for victims elsewhere.
The man responsible for the improved justice child sex abuse victims have received in recent years, Rep. Jason Spencer, did everything he possibly could, as described here. New York lawmakers fought harder than ever over the Child Victims Act, with the end result a political standoff between senate Republicans and Democrats.
The former have resolutely refused to permit the CVA to get a vote in the senate for over a decade while the Democrats have been stalwart supporters. The issue was left hanging into the political season, which has featured five Republicans announcing their retirement.
In an obvious ploy to deflect criticism for shutting down child sex abuse victims, and positive proof that the powerful message behind the CVA has penetrated, Republican Sen.
Although it is a government handout, which Republicans typically rail against, it is no favor for victims or the people of New York. It does not permit survivors to go to court or sue the institutions that caused the abuse.
That means no embarrassing discovery for institutions and no truth for the public. For the New York Senate Republicans, the MeToo movement is obviously about defending business and power against the vulnerable.
Of course, we knew that before. How ironic that they thought that this bill would somehow prove that they are on the side of the victims. Michigan was shoved into the public spotlight on these issues by Larry Nassar and the brave gymnasts who came forward. This was the classic scenario where there is massive failure by trusted institutions and extensive child sex abuse only to learn that justice under state law is not an option.
Most were out of the criminal statute and the Michigan civil SOL is age 19, period. It also included a truncated window claims were only allowed back to and rolled back sovereign immunity. While it was not going to set any records, it was promising. The prod was the Nassar cases. Then MSU settled with the victims before the house could proceed on the senate bill. As soon as these spotlighted cases were no longer on the horizon, Michigan representatives quickly amended the bill to restrict its scope, as described here.
Apparently pandering to the insurance, business, and religious lobbyists whom they treated with kid gloves when they testified, the extensions to age 48 were shortened. Now the civil extension is a miserly age The one ray of sunshine is that the latest version also would add a three-year discovery rule for civil claims.
Forget removing sovereign immunity as MSU insisted as a precondition to the settlement. There would also be modest improvement in the criminal SOLs. Then there is a Nassar-fashioned window, which is extraordinary: The Nassar window is a cruel back of the hand to the many church, school, sport, and family victims in the state, but the insurance, business, and religious lobbyists have obviously spoken.
Lawmakers appear to be chagrined over the Nassar scandal— the jury is still out whether that is a result of sincere shame over a legal system that created the conditions for such extensive abuse or the fact of excruciatingly embarrassing public disclosure.
But they are almost comical in their extreme effort to ignore every other victim right in front of them. There is no MeToo movement in Michigan. In sum, three bad states with bills that seemed optimistic in March have been turned sideways by big business and powerful lobbyists to keep victims silent.
For those who thought a MeToo movement was sweeping the country that would aid all victims of sex abuse and assault, think again. The SOL reform season is not over yet, however: North Carolina is seriously considering a window.