Thursday, April 24, 2014

ArchMil on abuse claimants: all must be called so that none can be chosen

Our archdiocesan weekly's report from the Bankruptcy Court hearing is titled Judge, attorneys discuss disclosure statement. Even more interesting is that Archbishop Listecki was interviewed for the article.

It struck the judge as odd, as it has struck me, that our Archdiocese went to great lengths to encourage any possible sexual abuse claimant to file a claim, only to take the position that every claim was subject to dismissal under one or another legal defense. In the reorganization plan it proposes paying something on a minority of claims. As I wondered in a post last week, the judge is described as wondering

"why all of the abuse survivor claims aren’t put into one class and then a committee of abuse survivors allowed to decide how the funds for that class should be divvied up, as is happening in other dioceses’ cases."
Archbishop Listecki is a lawyer and presumably discussed taking this position with our Archdiocese's bankruptcy counsel, but does not directly answer this specific question.
"Asked about that during the interview with the Catholic Herald, Archbishop Listecki said, 'Not all of the claims are similar. The classifications help us understand which claims, basically, are ours and should have merit over others.'"
Maybe it's different in the world of big firms and big cases, but down in mine-run property and casualty litigation management the correlation of 1) difficulty clearly articulating the reason for a position and 2) an unusually protracted and expensive lawsuit, was usually taken to indicate that former was a cause of the latter.

The parties will circulate proposed changes to the Disclosure Statement by May 1st. Our Archdiocese is to submit a copy with any remaining disputed language indicated, by May 9th. The court will rule on any such disputes by May 15th. [In re Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Case No. 11-20059]

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