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A00465
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
261
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY SCARNATI, CORMAN AND GORDNER, JANUARY 30, 2017
REFERRED TO JUDICIARY, JANUARY 30, 2017
AN ACT
Amending Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure) of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in limitation of time,
further providing for infancy, insanity or imprisonment, for
no limitation applicable and for other offenses; and, in
matters affecting government units, further providing for
exceptions to sovereign immunity and, for limitations on
damages, for exceptions to governmental immunity and for
limitations on damages.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. The General Assembly finds and declares as
follows:
(1) The Remedies Clause found in section 11 of Article I
of the Constitution of Pennsylvania has been interpreted by
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to provide a constitutional
guarantee of access to legal remedies and defenses.
(2) The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has interpreted the
Remedies Clause as providing a vested right to accrued
defenses that cannot be infringed upon by subsequent law.
(3) Pursuant to the interpretation by the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court, the General Assembly is constitutionally
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precluded from adopting a retroactive change extending a
statute of limitations or invalidating a defense based on a
statute of limitations that has already expired as against a
particular defendant.
(4) Statutes of limitation recognize that the right to
assert a cause of action and the right to assert a defense to
that action are on an equal footing in this Commonwealth.
(5) Statutes of limitation promote diligence and repose,
diminish uncertainty and allow every person to allocate
resources appropriately.
(6) Statutes of limitation promote accurate fact finding
in litigation, as evidence and testimony become degraded or
unavailable over time.
(7) Therefore, it is the intent of the General Assembly
to eliminate statutes of limitation only in rare
circumstances in which delayed discovery of the cause of
action is particularly likely and the right to defend against
the claim is not significantly undermined.
Section 2. Section 5533(b)(2)(i) of Title 42 of the
Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes is amended and the section is
amended by adding a paragraph to read:
§ 5533. Infancy, insanity or imprisonment.
* * *
(b) Infancy.--
* * *
(2) (i) [If] Except as provided under paragraph (3), if
an individual entitled to bring a civil action arising
from childhood sexual abuse is under 18 years of age at
the time the cause of action accrues, the individual
shall have a period of [12] 32 years after attaining 18
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years of age in which to commence an action for damages
regardless of whether the individual files a criminal
complaint regarding the childhood sexual abuse.
* * *
(3) If an individual entitled to bring a civil action
arising from childhood sexual abuse is under 18 years of age
at the time the cause of action accrues, the individual shall
have an unlimited period of time to commence an action for
damages against the following individuals:
(i) The individual who committed the act of
childhood sexual abuse.
(ii) An individual who conspired with the individual
who committed the act of childhood sexual abuse for the
purpose of bringing about the abuse.
(iii) (A) An individual who, having actual
knowledge of the childhood sexual abuse perpetrated
against the individual, failed to prevent any
subsequent childhood sexual abuse by the same
perpetrator against the same individual by reporting
the abuse to law enforcement officials or to a State
or county child protective services agency during the
victim's minority.
(B) No cause of action shall accrue under this
subparagraph against an individual who was aware that
a report of the childhood sexual abuse had already
been made by another individual or entity to law
enforcement officials or to a State or county child
protective services agency.
Section 3. Section 5551 of Title 42 is amended by adding a
paragraph to read:
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§ 5551. No limitation applicable.
A prosecution for the following offenses may be commenced at
any time:
* * *
(7) An offense under any of the following provisions of
18 Pa.C.S. (relating to crimes and offenses) , or a conspiracy
or solicitation to commit an offense under any of the
following provisions of 18 Pa.C.S. if the offense is
facilitated by the conspiracy or solicitation, if the victim
was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense:
Section 3011(b) (relating to trafficking in individuals).
Section 3012 (relating to involuntary servitude) as it
relates to sexual servitude.
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual
assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 4302 (relating to incest).
Section 4. Section 5552(b.1) and (c)(3) of Title 42 are
amended to read:
§ 5552. Other offenses.
* * *
(b.1) Major sexual offenses.--[A] Except as provided in
section 5551(7) (relating to no limitation applicable), a
prosecution for any of the following offenses under Title 18
must be commenced within 12 years after it is committed:
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Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse).
Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3124.2(a) and (a.2) (relating to institutional
sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
Section 4302 (relating to incest).
Section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).
(c) Exceptions.--If the period prescribed in subsection (a),
(b) or (b.1) has expired, a prosecution may nevertheless be
commenced for:
* * *
(3) Any sexual offense committed against a minor who is
less than 18 years of age any time up to the later of the
period of limitation provided by law after the minor has
reached 18 years of age or the date the minor reaches 50
years of age. As used in this paragraph, the term "sexual
offense" means a crime under the following provisions of
Title 18 (relating to crimes and offenses):
[Section 3011(b) (relating to trafficking in
individuals).
Section 3012 (relating to involuntary servitude) as
it relates to sexual servitude.
Section 3121 (relating to rape).
Section 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual
assault).
Section 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual
intercourse).
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Section 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
Section 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent
assault).]
Section 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
Section 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
[Section 4302 (relating to incest).]
Section 4304 (relating to endangering welfare of
children).
Section 6301 (relating to corruption of minors).
Section 6312(b) (relating to sexual abuse of
children).
Section 6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of
children).
* * *
Section 5. Sections 8522(b) and 8542(b) of Title 42 are
amended by adding paragraphs to read:
Section 5. Section 8522(b) of Title 42 is amended by adding
a paragraph to read:
§ 8522. Exceptions to sovereign immunity.
* * *
(b) Acts which may impose liability.--The following acts by
a Commonwealth party may result in the imposition of liability
on the Commonwealth and the defense of sovereign immunity shall
not be raised to claims for damages caused by:
* * *
(10) Sexual abuse.--Conduct that constitutes an offense
enumerated under section 5551(7) (relating to no limitation
applicable) if the injuries to the plaintiff were caused by
actions or omissions of the Commonwealth that constitute
negligence.
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Section 6. Section 8528 of Title 42 is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
§ 8528. Limitations on damages.
* * *
(d) Exclusions.--This section shall not apply to damages
awarded under section 8522(b)(10) (relating to exceptions to
sovereign immunity).
Section 7. Section 8542(b) of Title 42 is amended by adding
a paragraph to read:
§ 8542. Exceptions to governmental immunity.
* * *
(b) Acts which may impose liability.--The following acts by
a local agency or any of its employees may result in the
imposition of liability on a local agency:
* * *
(9) Sexual abuse.--Conduct that is proscribed by section
5551(7) (relating to no limitation applicable) if the
claimant establishes that:
(i) the local agency acted in a negligent manner;
and
(ii) the action under subparagraph (i) caused injury
to the claimant.
* * *
Section 8. Section 8553 of Title 42 is amended by adding a
subsection to read:
§ 8553. Limitations on damages.
* * *
(e) Exclusions.--This section shall not apply to damages
awarded under section 8542(b)(9) (relating to exceptions to
governmental immunity).
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Section 6 9. This act shall apply as follows:
(1) The addition of 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 5533(b)(3), 8522(b)
(10) and 8542(b)(9) shall apply to causes of action which
accrue on or after the effective date of this section.
(2) The amendment or addition of 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 5533(b)
(2)(i) and (3), 5551(7) and 5552(b.1) and (c)(3) shall not be
applied to revive an action that has been barred by an
existing statute of limitations on the effective date of this
section.
Section 7 10. This act shall take effect immediately.
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