How Do I Bring a Lawsuit for Sexual Assault or Date Rape?

Sex assault, date rape, and other sex crimes are brought as assault cases in New York State courts. More complicated cases involving either parties from two different states or violations of federal laws (including civil rights laws protecting inmates and victims of police violence) can be brought in federal court. The case is started by the filing of a "complaint" in court. A complaint must be drafted very carefully to ensure it sets out one or more valid "causes of action" and contains enough facts to support the causes of action. The defendant must then file an "answer" or a motion to dismiss the complaint. After any motion is ruled on, the case proceeds to discovery, including the exchange of any relevant documents and depositions. Depositions involve the taking of testimony under oath before a court reporter (stenographer). After discovery is completed, either side may move for "summary judgment" i.e. judgment without a trial. However, if the facts of the case are disputed, then a trial will take place and, in most cases, a jury will resolve the disputed facts. At any step in this process, the parties may reach a settlement of the case in order to prevent further litigation. In practice, civil cases alleging sex assault or other sex-related damages frequently settle either before the case is filed or before the defendant is scheduled for a deposition. If you have been sexually assaulted or raped and are considering bringing a lawsuit for damages, you should consult with an attorney immediately. Please call our office at (212) 685-0999 for more information.

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