Aurora Public Schools v. A.S.
2023 CO 39. No. 22SC824. Statutes—Constitutional Law Retroactivity—Statutes of Limitation.
June 20, 2023
The Supreme Court held that the Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act (CSAAA) violates the constitutional prohibition on retrospective legislation, Colo. Const. art. II, section 11, as applied to conduct that predates the CSAAA and for which any previously available claims would be time-barred. First, the court rejected the plaintiffs’ objections to the school district’s standing and concluded it had subject matter jurisdiction to review the constitutional challenge to the CSAAA. Turning to the merits, the Court held that, to the extent a statute creates a new cause of action that permits parties to bring claims for which any previously available cause of action would be time-barred, the statute creates a new obligation and attaches a new disability to past transactions, thereby violating Colorado’s constitutional prohibition on retrospective legislation.
Here, because the plaintiffs’ previously available claims for sexual misconduct were time-barred at the time they brought suit, the CSAAA’s creation of a new cause of action for those claims was unconstitutional. The Court therefore affirmed the district court’s order granting the defendants’ motions to dismiss.