Bill Cosby has been in the news a bit. As you know, dozens of women have alleged that Bill Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted them. The claims date back to the 1960s, with the alleged victims ranging from random women that Cosby encountered to other celebrities. A recent lawsuit even alleged that Cosby assaulted underage women. Obviously, some very serious allegations.
A few lawsuits have been filed already, but most of them allege defamation or some other cause of action – separate from sexual assault. Why? Because most of these claims allege conduct after the statute of limitations expired. Of course, someone will try to end-run the statute of limitations. But as Americans are now seeing, statutes of limitation are cruelly unforgiving, even when anyone’s sense of justice and fair play are pitted against it.
But what would a lawsuit against Bill Cosby even look like? Specifically, what would a lawsuit against Bill Cosby look like, if filed in the state of Maryland? Sexual assault and rape are not their own torts – but they are crimes. These torts may be brought forward and filed in a civil lawsuit for these crimes.
DISCLAIMER: This is not a real complaint and Bill Cosby has not been sued in Maryland (as far as I know). This fictitious complaint involving fake facts should help you get an idea of the types of claims that accusers might allege against Cosby. My firm does not even handle these types of cases. We are just giving people with an interest in this subject area, some idea of what the legal claims would be and how they would be couched.
So without further shielding myself from Mr. Cosby’s lawyers, here is a sample of what a lawsuit against Bill Cosby would look like based upon the claims that are floating around. Below this Complaint, I have thrown together a quick motion to dismiss from Mr. Cosby that would almost certainly be granted.
Sample Cosby Lawsuit
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE CITY, MARYLAND
Jane Doe v. William Henry Cosby
Jane Doe, PLAINTIFF, by and through Doe & Associates, LLC, her attorneys, sues the defendant, William Henry Cosby, and in support thereof states as follows:
1. Jane Doe, Plaintiff, is a resident of Maryland.
2. William Henry Cosby, Defendant, is a resident of California.
3. The Defendant regularly performs and is engaged in business in Baltimore City, Maryland.
4. This action arises from a sexual assault that occurred on 01/01/1975.
Statement of Facts
5. On 01/01/1975 the Plaintiff and Defendant met in an informal and non-romantic encounter.
6. Throughout the course of the encounter, Defendant made several sexual advances towards the Plaintiff, which she rebuffed.
7. Near the conclusion of their encounter, Plaintiff believed to have witnessed Defendant tampering with her beverage after she returned from the restroom.
8. When the Plaintiff attempted to depart for the evening, she began to feel lightheaded and tired.
9. This being the case, the Defendant offered to take her home, which Plaintiff accepted.
10. At some point, Plaintiff fell asleep, and when she awoke, she was in the Defendant’s hotel room.
11. She noticed that her clothes were slightly disheveled and that the Defendant was lying next to her.
12. At that point, the Defendant placed his hands on the Plaintiff, attempting another romantic advance, of which the Plaintiff denied once again.
13. When the Plaintiff, attempted to leave, the Defendant held her down, preventing her from leaving for approximately fifteen minutes.
14. The Plaintiff then left Defendant’s room, weeping in a state of sadness and disgust.
COUNT ONE: False Imprisonment
Plaintiff, realleges and incorporates by reference all those facts and allegations in paragraphs 1 through 13 above and further alleges:
15. When the Plaintiff observed the Defendant tampering with her beverage, he was actually placing a Quaalude in her drink with the intent to deprive her of the ability to control her central nervous system.
16. The Defendant utilized the Quaalude and unconsciousness resulting therefrom to carry the Plaintiff to her hotel room and to prevent the Plaintiff from exiting his room.
17. As a result, the Defendant restrained Plaintiff from leaving his room both constructively and actually.
18. Such action by Defendant caused the Plaintiff to be unlawfully deprived of her liberty to leave his room.
19. Defendant was detained against her will for at least 3 hours while unconscious and 15 minutes while conscious.
20. As a result of Defendant’s actions, Plaintiff suffered damages by being unlawfully held against her will for an extended period of time.
21. By all of his behavior, Defendant’s actions toward Plaintiff demonstrated actual malice.
COUNT TWO: Assault
Plaintiff, realleges and incorporates by reference all those facts and allegations in paragraphs 1-20 above and further alleges:
22. When the Defendant laid next to the Plaintiff and began to move towards her in order to restrain her, he acted with intent and capability to do bodily harm to her. His conduct was perpetrated with actual malice.
23. Defendant’s actions caused Plaintiff to be put in a reasonable fear of an imminent battery.
24. As a result, Plaintiff has suffered and will continue to suffer severe mental anguish, medical and other related expenses, and loss of income.
COUNT THREE: Battery
Plaintiff, realleges and incorporates by reference all those facts and allegations in paragraphs 1-23 above and further alleges:
25. When the Plaintiff awoke and noticed her disheveled clothes, she suspected that the Defendant took advantage of her sexually while she was unconscious, which she did not consent to.
26. When the Defendant placed his hands on the Plaintiff after she awoke, she constantly asked the Defendant to stop, indicating that she did not consent to the touching.
27. Defendant’s conduct constituted an intentional touching, which was offensive and non-consensual. It was undertaken deliberately and with actual malice.
28. As a result of the conduct, Plaintiff suffered substantial damages, including but not limited to, pain and suffering, injury, mental distress, humiliation, and monetary losses.
COUNT FOUR: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Plaintiff, realleges and incorporates by reference all those facts and allegations in paragraphs 1-27 above and further alleges:
29. After the Plaintiff realized that she was sexually assaulted by the Defendant, she became incredibly emotionally distraught and began crying.
30. The Defendant responded by holding her down in an attempt to prolong the assault.
31. The Defendant’s conduct was intentional, reckless, and in deliberate disregard of a high degree of probability that emotional distress would result to the Plaintiff.
32. The Defendant’s conduct was extreme and outrageous and beyond the bounds of decency in society.
33. As a result, the Plaintiff has suffered, and will continue to suffer, severe and extreme emotional distress.
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff claims FIVE MILLION DOLLARS ($5,000,000) in damages
Cosby’s Motion to Dismiss
So there you have it. But this being an informative blog, I would be remiss if we did not include what would most certainly be Cosby’s response: the motion to dismiss.
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR BALTIMORE CITY
Jane Doe v. William Henry Cosby
MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM
NOW COMES, William Henry Cosby, by and through undersigned counsel, filing this motion to dismiss pursuant to Md. Rule 2-322.
The Plaintiff’s claims are time-barred considering that the Plaintiff failed to allege them within the limitations period. MD Code, Cts. and Jud. Proc., § 5-101 provides that a civil action must be brought within three years from the date that it accrues unless otherwise stated. The types of claims that were alleged in the Plaintiff’s complaint are those governed by the statute of limitations in the previously cited rule. The alleged claims would have “accrued” immediately after they occurred or upon the Plaintiff realizing that they occurred. Consequently, the events contemplated in the Plaintiff’s complaint occurred in 1975, meaning that the entire action is barred by the statute of limitations.
In light of the foregoing, this Honorable Court should DISMISS the Plaintiff’s complaint WITH PREJUDICE.
Smith & Associates, LLP
Lack of Options for Plaintiffs
This motion to dismiss really underscores the main problem for alleged victims suing on these claims. Many of them are suing in federal court or in California. The statute of limitations is two years from the date of injury (I think it may have even been 1 year at the time of many of these events) meaning the vast majority of these claims were extinguished 20 or 30 years ago. That is why so many alleged victims are instead, suing for defamation. Their lawsuits essentially say that Cosby defamed them by calling them liars when they came out against him. This is pretty much their only avenue to get a recovery. It will be interesting to see how these cases pan out.