On October 3, 2016, the highest Appeals Court in Connecticut ordered a retrial of a former boy scouts claim that he had been sexually molested multiple times at the age of 11 by his patrol leader long ago in the mid -1970's. (In 2000 this same scout leader had pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual touching of a minor.) A statute of limitations defense was successfully overcome after the suit was filed in 2012. The case went to trial in 2014. The jury found in favor of the victim and awarded $7,000,000 for compensatory damages against the Boy Scouts of America ("BSA"). Obviously, an award against the boy scout leader would not be recoverable. The Trial Court added another $5,000,000 in interest, legal fees and costs for a total judgment of $12,000,000 against the BSA. This was the largest verdict ever against the BSA.
The Connecticut Supreme Court vacated the verdict and ordered a retrial because they found that the Trial Court had not given the proper legal instructions to the jury before they began their deliberations. The Boy Scouts of America successfully argued on appeal that the jury should have been instructed that in order to hold them liable for the scout leaders sexual misconduct, that it must be shown that BSA had increased the odds that abuse would take place. Stated another way, on the retrial the jury will be told that they can only hold the BSA liable if they knew or should have known that the scout leader posed a threat to the boy.