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Supreme Court of Georgia Sides with CEASE on Hidden Predator Act Case

June 21, 2021

CEASE received a favorable opinion from the Supreme Court of Georgia in the case of Harvey v. Merchan on June 21, 2021. CEASE’s client alleges that she was abused by her parents from early childhood until the age of 22 in both Quebec and in Georgia. Her claim was filed under a retroactive open window provided by the 2015 Hidden Predator Act, which revived previously barred civil claims of child sexual abuse against perpetrators. The Court’s ruling allows not only CEASE’s client to go forward with her claims, but also allows countless other survivors in the state of Georgia future opportunities to seek justice. The case was argued by CEASE student and recent Georgia Law graduate Devin Mashman (’21). Mashman wrote the brief, along with CEASE students Maigan Jenkins (’22) and Annefloor de Groot (’21).

The Court concluded CEASE’s client “can pursue a cause of action for acts that occurred in Quebec as well as Georgia, because OCGA § 9-3-33.1’s definition of childhood sexual abuse is broad enough to cover acts that occurred outside of Georgia.” The Court also held that the open window provision of the Hidden Predator Act “does not violate Georgia’s constitutional ban on retroactive laws or the [defendants’’] due process or equal protection rights."

The full opinion can be found here: https://www.gasupreme.us/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/s21a0143.pdf.