Time is of the essence for Kevin Clash.
The former Elmo puppeteer, who resigned from Sesame Street last year in the wake of accusations that he had inappropriate sexual contact with several men when they were minors, has filed a motion to have three lawsuits dismissed, citing statutes of limitations.
"There are two applicable types of statutes of limitations, a six-year one based on when the right of action has accrued, and a three-year one based on when the alleged victim turned eighteen and was therefore no longer under the disability of being a minor," Clash attorney Michael Berger wrote in a brief filed today in federal court in New York and obtained by E! News.
Clash previously denied all of the allegations against him, including those brought by the three plaintiffs and similar charges from another man who then publicly recanted his accusations.
Cecil Singleton, the first to file suit, said in court documents that his interaction with Clash occurred in 2003, when he was 15. He stated that he "did not become aware that he had suffered adverse psychological and emotional effects from Kevin Clash's sexual acts and conduct until 2012."
The second plaintiff, who filed as John Doe, said in his suit that was 16 when he had an inappropriate relationship with Clash in 2000.
The third plaintiff, identified only as S.M., charged in his complaint that he was "16 or 17" when he had sexual contact with Clash in the mid-1990s.
Berger states in today's filing that the three men suing Clash would have needed to file suit, respectively, in 2009, 2006 and 2001 to be within six years of a right of action; or, based on their respective ages, in 2009, 2003 and 2000 as the latest possible dates to be within three years of them turning 18.
All three suits were filed in November and December of last year.
Jeff Herman, who is representing all three plaintiffs, tells E! News he doesn't think the motion to "avoid liability on technical grounds" will be successful.
"It should be noted his motion does not say the abuse did not happen, just that it is too late to file the complaints," Herman says. "The law we are proceeding under recognizes the rights of victims to bring their lawsuits within six years from the time they connect their injuries to the abuse. We are hopeful the Court will see it our way, however, by being able to bring their claims forth publicly the victims are already further along in the healing process."