Left Menu
Development News Edition

Lawyers say Epstein victims to sue financier's estate this week

Reuters | New York | Updated: 12-08-2019 02:47 IST | Created: 12-08-2019 02:43 IST
Lawyers say Epstein victims to sue financier's estate this week
Image Credit: Wikipedia

Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein plan to file lawsuits this week against his estate following his apparent suicide in a New York jail cell.

Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, told Reuters "we intend to promptly file those civil claims" having held off suing while federal prosecutors pursued sex trafficking charges against Epstein. New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan said she hopes to file on Wednesday on behalf of a client to take advantage of a new New York State law which makes it possible to pursue decades-old claims of abuse.

The "Child Victims Act," which takes effect on Aug. 14, gives people a year to sue over allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of when the alleged acts occurred. Kaplan will sue on behalf of a woman described in the indictment against Epstein as a minor victim. The unidentified woman was recruited to engage in sex acts with Epstein around 2002 and paid hundreds of dollars for each encounter with the financier, according to the indictment.

She was 14 when it happened, Kaplan said. The financier, who once counted Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former President Bill Clinton as friends, was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14, from at least 2002 to 2005.

More than a decade ago, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor in a deal with prosecutors that has been widely criticized as too lenient. Epstein's death is likely to "unleash an avalanche of civil suits against his estate," said New York attorney Paul Callan, who is not involved with the case.

Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates the jail. A document filed by his lawyers last month listed his total assets at about $559 million, including two private islands and four homes. One residence, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, is worth an estimated $77 million.

It was not immediately known if Epstein had a will. Several of his criminal lawyers did not respond to requests for comment. Bloom said she hopes estate monies will not be distributed until the claims are litigated.

"If we find out the estate is selling off things, dissipating assets, we will go in for a court order," Bloom said. It is unclear whether the estate will try to shield Epstein's assets from the women, Kaplan said. She said lawyers will need to dig into his finances.

Epstein's death is a small roadblock for the civil cases, but not an insurmountable one, legal experts said. "If he'd been convicted of a crime, you don't have to prove much in a civil case," Kaplan said.

But the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is lower than in a criminal case. To win a civil case, a victim only needs to show liability by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt. Still, Callan said that fading memories and a lack of collaborating evidence could make it tougher for the women to prevail.

"These cases are winnable, but many of them will be difficult to prove because of the passage of time since the sexual abuse occurred," said Callan. Even if the women do win verdicts, how much money they will recover is unclear.

Callan was one of the lawyers involved in a civil case against former football star and television personality O.J. Simpson over the wrongful death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. In that case, the estates of the victims won a $30 million-plus verdict. But little of the money was collected because the assets had largely been dissipated, Callan said, with a large chunk going to pay lawyers in the criminal case.

"I would suspect that Epstein has found a way to shelter a lot of his assets so the litigants here may face the same problem," Callan said. "They may get a judgment, but they may have trouble collecting it."

Also Read: UPDATE 8-Disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein found dead in apparent suicide



South Africa's COVID-19 response: Surprising outcomes or just poor data management?

South Africa has been committed to improving its health information system and shows that a robust digital has considerable scope to improve healthcare for the entire population. But the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that significant ga...

Post-COVID-19 Nigeria needs a robust Health Management Information System to handle high disease burden

Nigeria is among a few countries that conceptualised a health management information system HMIS in the early 90s but implementation has been a challenge till date. Besides COVID-19, the country has a huge burden of communicable and non-com...

Morocco COVID-19 response: A fragile health system and the deteriorating situation

Learning from its European neighbors, Morocco imposed drastic measures from the initial stages of the COVID-19 outbreak to try to contain its spread. The strategy worked for a few months but the cases have surged after mid-June. In this sit...

COVID-19: Argentina’s health system inefficiencies exaggerate flaws of health information system

You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you cant recover from death, was the straightforward mindset of Argentinas President Alberto Fernndez and defined the countrys response to COVID-19. The South American nation imposed a strict...


Latest News

Monsoon session of Odisha Legislative Assembly to begin from today

The monsoon session of the Odisha Legislative Assembly will begin from Tuesday. As many as 16 Bills are in the list to be tabled for discussion in session which will conclude on October 7.Both Opposition parties -- BJP and Congress -- have ...

Pelosi says Democrats unveil new COVID-19 aid bill

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday that Democratic lawmakers unveiled a new, 2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, which she said was a compromise measure that reduces the costs of the economic aid.In a letter...

PM Modi to inaugurate 6 mega projects in Uttarakhand under Namami Gange today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday will inaugurate six mega projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission through video conference. He will also unveil the logo of Jal Jeevan Mission at 11 am today through video conference. He...

Supreme Court nominee Barrett prepares for meetings this week on Capitol Hill

President Donald Trumps nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, will begin meeting with senators this week as Republicans push ahead with a rapid Senate confirmation process ahead of Novembers presidential election over the ob...

Give Feedback