One in six children will fall victim to some form of sexual abuse during childhood. Children make easy targets for sex offenders. These aggressors know that most abuse goes unreported and unpunished. They know that abused kids may never find justice against their attackers.
But when an abused child grows to adulthood, the child gains power against the abuser and the strength to assert his or her rights. The law understands that victims of sex abuse tend not to report it, because of threats by the abuser, shame or other psychological reasons. At the same time, the court must protect citizens from unfair accusations. This results in an extremely complicated court system, which makes it very important to obtain an experienced and skilled attorney.
Why Lamothe Law Firm?
What You Need to Know
Adult Victims of Sex Abuse
Because of the need to address sexual abuse in minors while protecting the public from unfair accusations, Louisiana requires adults who were abused as minors to comply with LA. R.S. 9:2800.9 entitled “Action Against a Person for Abuse of a Minor.” This statute in part states that a Plaintiff who is 21 years or older at the time the action is filed must show a reasonable basis that sexual abuse occurred during his or her childhood.
Certificates of Merit must be executed by the Plaintiff’s attorney and by a licensed Mental Health Practitioner selected by the Plaintiff, declaring that there is good cause to conclude a reasonable and meritorious case for the filing of the Petition. The Mental Health Practitioner must offer an opinion stating there is a reasonable basis that the Plaintiff has been subject to criminal sexual abuse during his or her childhood. If a Petition is filed naming a defendant that does not include these certificates, the filing attorney is subject to disciplinary action.
Punitive Damages for Criminal Sexual Activity
LA. C.C. Art. 2315.7 allows punitive damages to be awarded for criminal sexual activity occurring during childhood where there is “wanton and reckless regard” for the safety of the person involved. This is in addition to general and special damages recoverable in tort cases.
Institutions- Schools or Churches
Victims may also have claims directly against any institution where the perpetrator was employed or any organization with an agency relationship to the perpetrator. The Plaintiff has the burden to show:
• The institution knew or should have known that the Plaintiff could be sexually abused if the employees volunteering and serving the institution were not properly supervised.
• The institution failed to take proper and reasonable steps to protect a victim from foreseeable harm. The organization must have adequate safeguards in place to prevent sex abuse when it is foreseeable.
Employers might also be vicariously liable for the acts of their employees, providing an additional avenue for sex abuse victims to find justice. La. C.C. Art. 2320 allows employers to be sued for the actions of their employees. To recover damages under this regulation, one must show that the employee was acting on behalf of the organization and engaged in activities intended to fulfill the mission of the organization.
Time Limitations on Filing Suit
Prescription (similar to Statute of Limitations) is controlled by LA. R.S. 9:2800.9. This remedial legislation was enacted in 1993 to extend the time allowed for suit. The law allows for a ten-year liberative prescription, beginning the day the abused minor obtains majority or one year after a minor informs a parent of the abuse. These rules may change with the use of contra non valentem, a legal argument meaning, “prescription does not run against one who is unable to act.” It may be used in cases of recovered memory or other situations where the Plaintiff was unable to assert his or her rights within the prescriptive period.
Frank Lamothe has been consistently recognized as one of the leading trial attorneys in Louisiana and the nation.
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America
- Listed in Super Lawyers
- Invited member, American College of Trial Lawyers
- Invited member, American Board of Trial Advocates
- Member, The Litigation Counsel of America
- Member, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100
- Listed as Nation’s Top 1% by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Lamothe Law Firm has won national accolades as well.
- Best Law Firms – U.S. News & World Report and Best Lawyers
Leading attorney Frank Lamothe is listed in every edition for past 30 years for Personal Injury.
Frank Lamothe has received a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent ranking for the past 35 years, which is the best possible rating, given by other attorneys.
Frank Lamothe is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, available to top trial attorneys in the country by invitation-only.
Rated by New Orleans Magazine as one of the Top Lawyers in the city.
Awarded to the top 5% of personal injury lawyers in Louisiana, Frank Lamothe has received this honor every year since 2007.
National Association of Distinguished Counsel Top One Percent in the Country
Top Trial Lawyers in America – For attorneys who have recovered millions of dollars for their clients. Fewer than 1% of lawyers are members.
The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100, Frank Lamothe, member by invitation-only.
New Orleans CityBusiness Leadership in Law winner based on professional & community involvement and achievements – 2014 and 2015, Frank Lamothe.
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LAMOTHE LAW FIRM
400 Poydras Street, Suite 1760
New Orleans, LA 70130