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The state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 2018 law extending the three-year statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse claims until a person's 28th birthday, or three years after a person makes a connection between the abuse and the injury or trauma, does not apply retroactively. There is an exception for survivors of Larry Nassar's abuse.

Brian McLain sued the Diocese of Lansing and others in 2021, saying his treatment for an anxiety disorder helped link his years of mental health problems to abuse by a priest in 1999. He argued the 2018 law should apply to him as well.

The Supreme Court disagreed. In the majority opinion, Justice Megan Cavanagh wrote that the law “is not retroactively applicable to revive time-barred claims based on prior criminal sex conduct. Because plaintiff's lawsuit alleges damages from sexual abuse that occurred nearly 30 years ago, it is anachronistic.”

The court ruled that the 2018 law only applied to sexual abuse cases that occurred after the law went into effect, with the exception of victims of Larry Nassar's abuse.

Attorney Ven Johnson, who represented McLain, said in a statement, “This is the first ruling of its kind by a Supreme Court in the country. We are very proud of our client Brian McLain, who had the strength to fight for these rights for nearly four years. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has ruled that because his sexual abuse occurred before June 12, 2018, Brian cannot use the extended statute of limitations language and therefore his lawsuit is dismissed.”

“We call on the Michigan State Legislature to correct this result in Brian's case by simply adding to the language of the law that it is to be applied 'retroactively,' meaning it would apply to people who were victims of child sexual abuse before the enactment of this law on June 12, 2018,” Johnson said.

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