Attorney Anthony T. DiPietro believes the first weekend of lawsuits under the state’s Adult Survivors Act are just the tip of the legal iceberg.
“I have over 40 new clients, and there’s thousands more out there,” said DiPietro on Saturday. “It’s just amazing. Frankly, it benefits everyone when these sexual predators are held to account.”
There were already some headline-making cases among the initial suits filed when the one-time, one-year window for legal action opened across New York State at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. The most prominent featured ex-President Donald Trump in a decades-old rape case and two banks accused of enabling billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of under-aged victims.
A demonstrator holds a sign overhead at a rally in support of the Adult Survivors Act in New York City on Feb. 28, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)
DiPietro has already filed a pair of suits against hospitals where disgraced Dr. Robert Hadden, once described by a prosecutor as a “predator in a white coat,” was charged with sexually abusing his patients over three decades.
The 64-year-old Hadden, who cut a plea deal in an earlier abuse case, is currently facing another Manhattan trial in 2023 for sexual misconduct under the guise of medical treatment. And he’s already responsible for $236 million in payouts in two recent settlements linked to the physician who hurt rather than heal those in his care.
Dr. Robert Hadden in Manhattan Supreme Court on Feb. 23, 2016. (Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News)
Lawsuits were also expected under the act from than 750 women alleging sexual assaults inflicted from across the state’s correctional facilities while imprisoned, their attorneys said.
“There’s so much literature out there talking about how long it takes victims and survivors to process what happened and take action,” said DPietro. “We need to be able to give people space and time they need to process the trauma.”
Lucien Chalfan, spokesman for the state court system, said it was unclear Saturday how many suits were filed in the first three days of the window that runs through November 2023.
“We won’t know until early next week,” he said.
Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Adult Survivors Act at the State Capitol in Albany on May 24, 2022. (Mike Groll/Office of the Governor)
In the Trump filing, writer E. Jean Carroll accused the former Manhattan businessman-turned politician of raping her inside a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages, with a Trump attorney describing the legal action as an “abuse of the purpose of this Act.”
The 78-year-old Carroll is already suing Trump for defamation after the ex-president called her a liar for making the allegation in 2019.
“She completely made up a story that I met her at the doors of this crowded New York City Department Store and, within minutes, ‘swooned’ her,” said Trump. “It is a Hoax and a lie, just like all the other Hoaxes that have been played on me for the past seven years.”
Former President Donald Trump and E. Jean Carroll (AP)
In the Epstein-linked cases, brought in Manhattan Federal Court, both JP Morgan Chase and Deutsche Bank were charged in separate filings with turning a blind eye to his sexual pursuits of young women.
“JP Morgan cared about one thing — profit — and showed absolute loyalty to Epstein,” the suit alleged.
DiPietro lays much of the blame on organizations that turned a blind eye to what was happening as alleged in the lawsuit against the banks and the settlements with the hospitals.
“We’re in the early stages of a long overdue cultural shift, and it’s important to tell these stories,” said DiPietro. “I’m grateful for everyone coming forward.”