A legislative package known as Molly’s Law was signed by the Governor that will strengthen the state’s Freedom of Information Act and extend the period of time in which a victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit when the act is intentional and violent in nature.
House Bill 6083 allows a lawsuit in a wrongful death case to be brought within five years after the date of a death, or within one year after the criminal case against the perpetrator concludes. Additionally, House Bill 4715 provides for fines—up to $1,000 per day—in cases where a public body fails to comply with a court order resulting from a FOIA action. It also incentivizes public bodies to act in a timely manner in response to binding opinions from the Attorney General in FOIA cases.
The new laws (House Bill 6083/House Bill 4715) were sought by the family of Molly Young, a 21-year-old victim of a gunshot wound who died under questionable circumstances in 2012. The Young family faced an uphill battle in the pursuit of justice for Molly, hindered by the state’s statute of limitations for wrongful death cases and burdensome FOIA compliance issues.
As a result, in May 2015 a judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Larry Young, ruling Young failed to file the lawsuit within two years of Molly’s death.
House Bill 6083 and House Bill 4715 will go into effect on January 1, 2017.