LOUISIANA

CHILD SEX ABUSE SOLs

CURRENT CIVIL SOL

Louisiana has no civil SOL for CSA claims against all defendants. A three-year revival window is open until July 31, 2024 for all previously expired claims against any type of defendant.

CIVIL SOL SNAPSHOT

AGE CAP

NONE

DISCOVERY TOLLING

YES, NO TIME LIMIT

REVIVAL LAW

3-YEAR WINDOW (closes 6/13/24)

Liability Limitations: In general, the State of Louisiana is not immune from CSA negligence claims,[i] and such claims must be filed within the typical SOL.[ii] General damages in State claims for injury to one person are limited to $500,000.[iii] Charitable immunity was abolished in 1974.[iv]

Other Tolling Theories/Causes of Action: Louisiana recognizes the equity-based doctrine of “contra non valentem,” coming from a Latin phrase meaning “a prescription does not run against one who is unable to act,” as an exception to the statutory prescriptive period, which courts have generally found applicable to claims arising from CSA.[v] Institutional defendants may also be held vicariously liable for the sexual misconduct of their employees under respondeat superior.[vi]

Civil SOL History

Age Cap

1993

Age 28 (age of majority, 18, plus 10 years).[vii] 

2021

Eliminated the civil SOL.[viii]

 

Revival Law

2021

Enacted a 3-year revival window for previously expired CSA and child physical abuse claims against all types of defendants which opened on June 14, 2021, and closes on June 13, 2024.[ix]

 

Discovery

Common Law

In 1995, Louisiana recognized a common law discovery rule which tolls the SOL for CSA claims.[x]  The discovery rule provides that the SOL “commences to run not necessarily on the date the injury occurs or the damage is sustained, but from the date the affected individual knows or should have known of the injury or damage sustained.”[xi]  Louisiana’s common law discovery rule is applicable to claims against all types of defendants, including institutions.[xii]  The applicable discovery rule tolling for a specific case is the length of the SOL at the time of abuse and any SOL extensions that went into effect before the original SOL expired.[xiii]  The prior SOL in Louisiana was 1 year, but in 1988 it was extended to 3 years in actions against parents or caretakers.[xiv]  In 1993, the SOL for CSA claims was extended to 10 years, and in 2021, it was eliminated completely.[xv]  There is no SOL for CSA injuries that were not discovered before June 14, 2021, or that were discovered more recently and the applicable SOL was not yet expired before that date.[xvi]

Statutory

No statutory discovery rule for CSA.

 

[i] See La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2798.1; La. Stat. Ann. § 13:5101; Doe v. ABC School, 316 So.3d 1086 (La. Ct. App. 2020) (finding discretionary immunity did not apply to public school board in student’s negligence action against school janitor for sexual abuse).

[ii] La. Stat. Ann. § 13:5108.

[iii] La. Stat. Ann. § 13:5106(B)(1).

[iv] Garlington Kingslet, 289 So.2d 88 (La. 1974); Whetstone v. Dixon, 616 So.2d 764, 771 (La. Ct. App. 1993).

[v] Wimberly v. Gatch, 635 So.2d 206, 217 (La. 1994) (ruling equitable doctrine of contra non valentem suspends the SOL until the parents of a sexually abused child learn about the molestation); N. G. v. A. C., 281 So. 3d 727, 734 (La. Ct. App. 2019) (applying the doctrine where in fact and for good cause a plaintiff is unable to, for reasons “external to his own will,” exercise his cause of action when it accrues); Doe v. Roman Catholic Church, 656 So.2d 5 (La. Ct. App. 1995) (noting, “[p]rescription commences to run not necessarily on the date the injury occurs or the damage is sustained, but from the date the affected individual knows or should have known of the injury or damage sustained,” and finding the doctrine of contra non valentem was inapplicable where deposition testimony of victim and of victim’s treating psychiatrist indicated that victim had sufficiently regained her memory of alleged events and had discussed possibility of filing suit at least one year prior to filing of suit; victim understood it was wrong for priest to have committed abuse; and victim admitted that priest did nothing to prevent her from filing suit since last communication with priest twenty-five years before filing suit).

[vi] Samuels v. Southern Baptist Hosp., 594 So. 2d 571 (La. Ct. App. 1992) (finding hospital vicariously liable for sexual assault by nurse’s assistant, whose job gave him access to and authority over victim) writ denied, 599 So. 2d 316 (La. 1992).

[vii] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (1993) (age twenty-eight SOL), La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 29 (1993) (majority statute).

[viii] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021) (no SOL); 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

[ix] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021) (three-year window); 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

[x] Doe v. Roman Catholic Church, 656 So. 2d 5, 7 (La. Ct. App. 1995) (concluding the discovery rule is applicable “where some cause of action is not known or reasonably knowable by the plaintiff, even though his ignorance is not induced by the defendant”) writ denied, 662 So. 2d 478 (La. Nov. 13, 1995).  See also Doe v. Archdiocese of New Orleans, 823 So. 2d 360, 366 (La. Ct. App. 2002) (holding the discovery rule is applicable to repressed memory of abuse) writ denied, 828 So. 2d 1127 (La. Nov. 8, 2002).

[xi] Roman Catholic Church, supra note 392, at 8.

[xii] N. G. v. A. C., 281 So. 3d 727, 735 (La. Ct. App. 2019) (finding common law discovery rule applicable to claims against non-abusers as well).

[xiii] See Johnson v. The Roman Catholic Church for The Archdiocese of New Orleans, 844 So. 2d 65, 69 (La. Ct. App. 2003), writ denied sub nom. Johnson v. Roman Catholic Church for Archdiocese of New Orleans, 843 So. 2d 401 (La. May 9, 2003), writ denied sub nom. Johnson v. The Roman Catholic Church, 843 So. 2d 406 (La. May 9, 2003).

[xiv] See Johnson, supra note 395, at 68 (discussing overview of historical changes to child sex abuse SOL); La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3496.1 (prior version had three-year SOL for action against parent or caretaker).

[xv] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021); 1993 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 694; 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

[xvi] Id.

LA. STAT. ANN. § 9:2800.9 - Action against a person for abuse of a minor

UPDATED LAW COMING SOON

A. An action against a person for sexual abuse of a minor, or for physical abuse of a minor resulting in permanent impairment or permanent physical injury or scarring, is subject to a liberative prescriptive period of ten years. This prescription commences to run from the day the minor attains majority, and this prescription shall be suspended for all purposes until the minor reaches the age of majority. Abuse has the same meaning as provided in Louisiana Children’s Code Article 603. This prescriptive period shall be subject to any exception of peremption provided by law.

B. Every plaintiff twenty-one years of age or older at the time the action is filed shall file certificates of merit executed by the attorney for the plaintiff and by a licensed mental health practitioner selected by the plaintiff declaring, respectively, as follows:

(1) That the attorney has reviewed the facts of the case, that the attorney has consulted with at least one licensed mental health practitioner who is licensed to practice and practices in this state and whom the attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and that the attorney has concluded on the basis of that review and consultation that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for the filing of the petition. The person consulted may not be a party to the litigation.

(2) That the mental health practitioner consulted is licensed to practice and practices in this state and is not a party to the action, has interviewed the plaintiff and is knowledgeable of the relevant facts and issues involved in the particular action, and has concluded, on the basis of his knowledge of the facts and issues, that in his professional opinion there is a reasonable basis to believe that the plaintiff has been subject to criminal sexual activity or physical abuse during his childhood as defined in this Section.

(3) That the attorney was unable to obtain the consultation required by Paragraph (1) because a statute of limitations would impair the action and that the certificates required by Paragraphs (1) and (2) could not be obtained before the impairment of the action. If a certificate is executed pursuant to this Paragraph, the certificates required by Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be filed within sixty days after filing the petition.

C. Where certificates are required pursuant to Subsection B of this Section, separate certificates shall be filed for each defendant named in the complaint.

D. A petition filed pursuant to Subsection B of this Section may not name the defendant or defendants until the court has reviewed the certificates of merit filed and has determined, in camera, based solely on those certificates of merit, that there is reasonable and meritorious cause for filing of the action. At that time, the petition may be amended to name the defendant or defendants. The duty to give notice to the defendant or defendants shall not attach until that time.

E. A violation of Subsection B of this Section may constitute unprofessional conduct and may be the grounds for discipline against the attorney.

Case law
Doe v. Roman Catholic Church, 656 So.2d 5, 7 (La. Ct. App. 1995). See also Chenevert v. Redemptorists/Denver Province, CIV.A. 09-473-JJB, 2010 WL 1609971, at *4 (M.D. La. Apr. 20, 2010).

CURRENT LOUISIANA CIVIL LAW

CURRENT CRIMINAL SOL

There is no criminal SOL for aggravated and forcible rape, an SOL of age forty-eight for trafficking and other felonies, and an SOL of two years from commission for certain misdemeanors, with a limited DNA rule.

CRIMINAL SOL SNAPSHOT

OTHER FELNOIES

AGGRAVATED RAPE (1ST DEGREE)

NO SOL La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571

FORCIBLE RAPE (2ND DEGREE)

NO SOL La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571

ATTEMPTED 1ST OR 2ND DEGREE RAPE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

SEXUAL BATTERY

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

ORAL SEXUAL BATTERY

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

FELONY CARNAL KNOWLEDGE OF A JUVENILE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

INDECENT BEHAVIOR WITH JUVENILES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

PORNOGRAPHY INVOLVING JUVENILES

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

MOLESTATION OF A JUVENILE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

CHILD PROSTITUTION

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

ENTICING PERSONS INTO PROSTITUTION

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

CRIMES AGAINST NATURE

AGE 48 La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571.1

MISDEMEANORS

2 YEARS FROM OFFENSE La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 572

Tolling: The SOL is tolled for the period during which a defendant is hiding, out of State, flees the State to avoid prosecution, or is deemed mentally incompetent.[i]

Criminal SOL History

Revival Law

2021

Enacted a 3-year revival window for previously expired CSA and child physical abuse claims against all types of defendants which opened on June 14, 2021, and closes on June 13, 2024.[ii]

 

Discovery

Common Law

In 1995, Louisiana recognized a common law discovery rule which tolls the SOL for CSA claims.[iii]  The discovery rule provides that the SOL “commences to run not necessarily on the date the injury occurs or the damage is sustained, but from the date the affected individual knows or should have known of the injury or damage sustained.”[iv]  Louisiana’s common law discovery rule is applicable to claims against all types of defendants, including institutions.[v]  The applicable discovery rule tolling for a specific case is the length of the SOL at the time of abuse and any SOL extensions that went into effect before the original SOL expired.[vi]  The prior SOL in Louisiana was 1 year, but in 1988 it was extended to 3 years in actions against parents or caretakers.[vii]  In 1993, the SOL for CSA claims was extended to 10 years, and in 2021, it was eliminated completely.[viii]  There is no SOL for CSA injuries that were not discovered before June 14, 2021, or that were discovered more recently and the applicable SOL was not yet expired before that date.[ix]

Statutory

No statutory discovery rule for CSA.

 

 

 

[i] La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. arts. 575–583 (1981).  See also State v. Berryhill, 117 So. 663 (La. 1937); State v. Gibson, 32 So. 332 (La. 1902) (explaining that the burden is on the government to establish the fact that defendant was fleeing from justice for purposes of tolling the SOL).

[ii] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021) (three-year window); 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

[iii] Roman Catholic Church, supra note 392, at 7 (concluding the discovery rule is applicable “where some cause of action is not known or reasonably knowable by the plaintiff, even though his ignorance is not induced by the defendant”).  See also Archdiocese of New Orleans, supra note 392, at 366 (holding the discovery rule is applicable to repressed memory of abuse).

[iv] Roman Catholic Church, supra note 392, at 8.

[v] N. G. v. A. C., 281 So. 3d 727, 735 (La. Ct. App. 2019) (finding common law discovery rule applicable to claims against non-abusers as well).

[vi] See Johnson, supra note 395, at 69.

[vii] See id. (overviewing historical changes to child sex abuse SOL); La. Civ. Code Ann. art. 3496.1 (prior version had three-year SOL for action against parent or caretaker).

[viii] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021); 1993 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 694; 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

[ix] La. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.9 (2021); 1993 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 694; 2021 La. Sess. Law Serv. Act 322 (H.B. 492).

CURRENT LOUISIANA CRIMINAL LAW

La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. 571 - Crimes for which there is no time limitation

There is no time limitation upon the institution of prosecution for any crime for which the punishment may be death or life imprisonment or for the crime of forcible or second degree rape (R.S. 14:42.1).

La. Code. Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 571.1 - Time limitation for certain sex offenses

Except as provided by Article 572 of this Chapter, the time within which to institute prosecution of the following sex offenses, regardless of whether the crime involves force, serious physical injury, death, or is punishable by imprisonment at hard labor shall be thirty years: sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.1), second degree sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.2), oral sexual battery (R.S. § 14:43.3), human trafficking (R.S. § 14:46.2(B)(2) or (3)), trafficking of children for sexual purposes (R.S. § 14:46.3), felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile (R.S. § 14:80), indecent behavior with juveniles (R.S. § 14:81), pornography involving juveniles (R.S. § 14:81.1), molestation of a juvenile (R.S. § 14:81.2), prostitution of persons under eighteen (R.S. § 14:82.1), enticing persons into prostitution (R.S. § 14:86), crime against nature (R.S. § 14:89), aggravated crime against nature (R.S. § 14:89.1), crime against nature by solicitation (R.S. § 14:89.2(B)(3)), incest (R.S. § 14:78), or aggravated incest (R.S. § 14:78.1) which involves a victim under seventeen (17) years of age. This thirty-year period begins to run when the victim attains the age of eighteen.

La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. art. 572 - Limitation of prosecution of non-capital offenses
  1. Except as provided in Articles 571 and 571.1, no person shall be prosecuted, tried, or punished for an offense not punishable by death or life imprisonment, unless the prosecution is instituted within the following periods of time after the offense has been committed:

(1) Six years, for a felony necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.

(2) Four years, for a felony not necessarily punishable by imprisonment at hard labor.

(3) Two years, for a misdemeanor punishable by a fine, or imprisonment, or both.

(4) Six months, for a misdemeanor punishable only by a fine or forfeiture.

  1. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 571.1 and Paragraph A of this Article, prosecutions for any sex offense may be commenced beyond the time limitations set forth in this Title if the identity of the offender is established after the expiration of such time limitation through the use of a DNA profile.

(2) A prosecution under the exception provided by this Paragraph shall be commenced within three years from the date on which the identity of the suspect is established by DNA testing.

(3) For purposes of this Article, “DNA” means deoxyribonucleic acid, which is located in cells and provides an individual’s personal genetic blue print and which encodes genetic information that is the basis of human heredity and forensic identification.

(4) This Paragraph shall have retroactive application to crimes committed prior to June 20, 2003.

  1. Upon expiration of the time period in which a prosecution may be instituted, any bail bond applicable to that prosecution which bond has not been forfeited shall also expire, and all obligations of that bail undertaking shall be extinguished as a matter of law.
Case Law

The information provided is solely for informational purposes and is not legal advice. To determine the Louisiana SOL in a particular case, contact a lawyer in the state.

Last Updated: April 21, 2021

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