What if the Organization that Allowed Sexual Abuse is Out of Business?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Many people who try to seek justice after sexual abuse or sexual assault involving a school, a church, a summer camp, or another organization often bring their allegations to light years after they occur.  In many cases, organizations that caused you so much suffering during your childhood might have become defunct or gone out of business by the time you are an adult who is prepared to come forward with your story.  In some cases, this might hurt your ability to sue them for the abuse they caused you, but in others, it does not do much to stop you from seeking justice.  Institutional sexual abuse victims lawyer Andrew Shubin explains.

Can You Sue an Organization for Sexual Abuse if it Is Out of Business?

If you were abused as a child at a camp or even if you faced sexual abuse and harassment at school, the business that operates that organization might no longer exist.  In cases filed against an individual, the fact that the institution is gone won’t affect your case.  In other cases, the entity might still exist in another form or have some kind of parent organization or operating entity that you can still hold responsible.

Suing an Individual for Sexual Abuse

In cases of sexual abuse, there is often a single individual or short list of individuals who committed the actual acts of abuse.  While you may have been put into a dangerous situation by an organization, club, church group, or other entity, the individuals still carry blame for what they did.  In many cases where something like a camp or after-school activity has gone out of business, you can often still sue the individual actors who abused you, seeking compensation from them directly.

Suing an Out-of-Business Company Directly

In some cases after a business entity goes out of business, it still exists for some period of time.  This is done to make sure that creditors and anyone who might have a business-related claim against them still has a chance to have their claim heard.  If you recently found out that the organization or entity that was responsible for your abuse as a child is going out of business, it likely will continue to exist as a business entity for months or years to come so that any claims against it can be settled.  That means you will need to act quickly to sue that business and get justice before it is closed and dissolved for good.

Suing Another Business for Sexual Abuse

In many cases, businesses and even schools are bought and sold by different entities.  If the organization that abused you no longer exists because it was purchased by another organization – such as a national chain or another larger entity – you might be able to sue that company for the harm one of its subsidiaries caused.  Other times, the business that allowed your abuse might simply be functioning under another name – potentially to avoid past associations with abuse or neglect.

For example, if you were sexually abused by a doctor at a hospital, but the hospital has since been purchased by another hospital network, you might be able to file a case against the hospital or practice under its new name.  When one company buys another, it often takes on the debts and responsibilities of the old company, potentially including civil liability like this.  Talk to a lawyer about tracking down the organization’s current form.

Suing a Parent Organization for Abuse

Many organizations and entities that have sexual abuse claims filed against them are large, multistate organizations or regional entities that control smaller organizations that committed the harm.  For instance, many sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Church are filed for abuses that happen at Catholic schools, bible camps, or individual parishes inside the archdiocese, even if the upper leaders of that archdiocese were not directly involved in the issues.  Here, the broader organization – the Church – is held responsible for a smaller group’s abuses.

The same can be true of schools within a school district or smaller groups within a larger company or a single troop involved in sexual abuse allegations against the Boy Scouts.  Even if the individual organization, camp, school, or parish has closed, the broader organization might still exist and can still be held responsible for its mistakes and its employees’ mistakes from back when the abuse occurred.

Suing an Organization or Institution for Sexual Abuse

In some cases, the organization that you blame for your abuse cannot be reached by a lawsuit.  In some cases, this is because the individual who harmed you is the sole person responsible, which can make filing a lawsuit against that individual possible.  When this happens, the organization might even help to clear their name by cooperating with your investigation and lawsuit.  However, sometimes other problems get in the way of suing an organization.

For an organization to be held responsible, you either need to claim that they share fault as the individual abuser’s employer or you need to prove specific things that the organization did wrong in its own right.  For instance, if a church knew about a priest’s past abuse and continued to put the priest in a position where he could abuse children, the church would share direct fault in those cases of abuse.  However, if the organization knew nothing of the dangers and did everything they could to prevent abuse, it might be difficult to claim they shared blame.

Other cases might be blocked by the statute of limitations.  If your case is filed many years later, state statutes of limitations on abuse might prevent the case from going forward.  In some cases, this means you might not reach the issue of how to sue an out-of-business organization because the statute of limitations blocks the lawsuit anyway.  Talk to a lawyer about statutes of limitations on childhood sexual abuse and whether your state has laws that extend the filing deadline or allow childhood victims to seek compensation as adults.

Call Our Institutional Sexual Abuse Victims Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation

Many people are coming forward to tell their stories and seek justice for sexual abuse that happened to them as children.  If you were abused and want to file a lawsuit against a business or organization that might no longer be in operation, talk to a lawyer right away about your options.  Call The Law Office of Andrew Shubin today to set up a free legal consultation on your case with our experienced institutional sexual abuse attorney.  Our number is (814) 826-3586.


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