2020 New Mexico Statutes
Chapter 37 - Limitation of Actions; Abatement and Revivor
Article 1 - Limitations of Actions
Section 37-1-30 - Action for damages due to childhood sexual abuse; limitation on actions.

Universal Citation: NM Stat § 37-1-30 (2020)

A. An action for damages based on personal injury caused by childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced by a person before the latest of the following dates:

(1) the first instant of the person's twenty-fourth birthday; or

(2) three years from the date that a person first disclosed the person's childhood sexual abuse to a licensed medical or mental health care provider in the context of receiving health care from the provider.

B. As used in this section, "childhood sexual abuse" means conduct that, if prosecuted in a criminal matter, would constitute a violation of:

(1) Section 30-9-11 NMSA 1978, regarding criminal sexual penetration of a minor;

(2) Section 30-9-13 NMSA 1978, regarding criminal sexual contact of a minor; or

(3) the Sexual Exploitation of Children Act [Chapter 30, Article 6A NMSA 1978].

C. The provisions of Section 37-1-8 NMSA 1978 and any statutes of limitation therein shall not apply to causes of action for childhood sexual abuse.

History: Laws 1993, ch. 136, § 1; 1995, ch. 63, § 1; 2017, ch. 77, § 1.

ANNOTATIONS

The 2017 amendment, effective April 6, 2017, revised the time limitations for an action for damages based on personal injury caused by childhood sexual abuse, and specified that the limitations of actions provision in Section 37-1-8 NMSA 1978 does not apply to causes of action for childhood sexual abuse; in Subsection A, Paragraph A(2), after "three years from the date", deleted "of the time", after "that a person", deleted "knew or had reason to know of" and added "first disclosed", after the next "the", added "person's", and after "childhood sexual abuse", deleted "and that the childhood sexual abuse resulted in an injury to the person, as established by competent medical or psychological testimony" and added "to a licensed medical or mental health care provider in the context of receiving health care from the provider"; in Subsection B, in the introductory clause, after "abuse' means", deleted "behavior" and added "conduct"; and added Subsection C.

The 1995 amendment, effective June 16, 1995, in Paragraph (2) of Subsection A, inserted "of the childhood sexual abuse and that the childhood sexual abuse resulted in an injury to the person" and deleted "that an injury was caused by childhood sexual abuse; or" at the end of the paragraph, and deleted former Paragraph (3) of Subsection A, which provided for an action for damages within a three year period following the beginning of treatment for repressed or forgotten childhood sexual abuse.

Running of statute of limitations. — The qualifying phrase "as established by competent medical or psychological testimony" applies to the entire preceding clause. Therefore, the statute of limitations begins running at the time a plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the connection between the alleged childhood sexual abuse and the injury, as established by competent medical or psychological testimony. Kevin J. v. Sager, 2000-NMCA-012, 128 N.M. 794, 999 P.2d 1026, cert. denied, 128 N.M. 688, 997 P.2d 820.

Since the causal connection between the alleged abuse and the injury under Paragraph A(2) is to be established by competent medical or psychological testimony, facts alone are insufficient to determine when an individual knew or had reason to know of the connection between the abuse and the injury. Kevin J. v. Sager, 2000-NMCA-012, 128 N.M. 794, 999 P.2d 1026, cert. denied, 128 N.M. 688, 997 P.2d 820.

Application to action that arose before enactment of the statute. — Where action was filed in 2001 for personal injury resulting from sexual abuse that occurred in 1991, the action was not barred by 37-1-8 NMSA 1978 or by 37-1-10 NMSA 1978 when 37-1-30 NMSA 1978 was enacted in 1993, 37-1-30 NMSA 1978 is not a self-contained statute that converts a non-statutory common law cause of action into a statutory cause of action and sets out a limitations provision relating to that statutory cause of action, the limitation period in 37-1-30 NMSA 1978 applies to the action. Grygorwicz v. Trujillo, 2006-NMCA-089, 140 N.M. 129, 140 P.3d 550, cert. denied, 2006-NMCERT-007, 140 N.M. 279, 142 P.3d 360.

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