Aug. 3 claims filing deadline stands

| Tom Halden | July 31, 2015 | 0 Comments

Judge denies motion to move deadline to May 2016

People who want to file a claim against the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis have until Monday, Aug. 3, to do so.

During a Thursday morning hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis, Judge Robert Kressel acknowledged and commended the archdiocese’s efforts to notify possible claimants of clergy sexual abuse about the deadline.

The primary issue during the nearly 90 minute proceeding was whether the archdiocese had complied with the April court order specifying where the public notices of the Claims Filing Deadline needed to appear, and how often. Attorneys for the archdiocese provided the court with a 55 page affidavit showing that notices were published in 23 newspapers and on their websites, from national publications like USA Today and the National Catholic Reporter, to regional and local papers, like the Bemidji Pioneer, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and the Hmong Times. In addition, Claims Filing notices were sent to more than 1,000 treatment centers and mental health professionals, 45 hospitals, the five other dioceses in Minnesota, and all 187 parishes in the archdiocese.

The judge rebuffed the unsecured creditors committee’s assertion that the archdiocese hadn’t done enough to notify possible claimants, saying the “effort to involve parishes was very helpful,” and extending the Claim Filing Deadline to May 2016 was unnecessary because this case featured “longer notice than typically given and way more notice than typically given,” in bankruptcy cases.

“I think it’s a good step forward,” archdiocese bankruptcy attorney Rich Anderson told reporters following the hearing. He pointed out that those who have legitimate claims against the archdiocese can still make them after the Aug. 3 deadline passes. “It doesn’t close the door and doesn’t intend to. There is an opportunity under extraordinary circumstances for people to come before the court.  However, anybody who believes they have a claim should act before Aug. 3.” Anderson added, “Monday’s deadline allows the Archdiocese to move ahead with its reorganization and provide for just compensation to victims in a more timely fashion.”

Charlie Rogers, the archdiocese’s attorney negotiating with insurance companies, said Thursday’s court ruling provides the momentum for the long process ahead. “What we’re all geared towards is global resolution of everyone’s claims — parishes, parish insurers, the archdiocese, the archdiocese’s insurers,” Rogers said. “And we have been proceeding along those lines since day one and will continue to proceed along those lines.”

After Monday’s Claim Filing Deadline passes, representatives for the archdiocese, parishes, and those who filed claims will begin looking at the claims, assess how much money is available and establish a plan to pay the claims and emerge from bankruptcy.

Notice by the numbers

(Places/People to Whom Notices of the Claims Filing Deadline Were Sent)

  • 1,124 treatment centers and mental health professionals
  • 187 parishes
  • 68 potential sexual abuse claimants, unrepresented by legal counsel, found through file search
  • 45 medical centers
  • 36 MN District Attorneys, Court Administrators and Sheriffs
  • 23 national, regional and local print publications and their websites (Full, half, quarter page and legal size ads. Ads ran in each publication five times, for a total of 115 print ads)
  • 10 high schools
  • 10 law firms, including Anderson and Associates, that might have represented past abuse claimants
  • Five Minnesota Department of Health Buildings
  • Five other Catholic dioceses in the State of Minnesota
  • Minnesota Attorney General
  • Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

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Category: Local News