Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Developments In San Diego Diocese Bankruptcy Case

There has been another development in the bankruptcy reorganization of the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, according to yesterday's San Diego Union-Tribune. While not yet formally lifting the stay on lawsuits, Bankruptcy Judge Louise DeCarl Adler ruled Friday that abuse victims in 42 of the 127 pending lawsuits have a constitutional right to a state jury trial on their claims. Pressing the Diocese to settle, Adler also said that the Church’s current settlement offer is well below the state average for abuse claims. The Diocese had sought, instead of a jury trial, to have the federal bankruptcy court place a value on the abuse claims and then let the victims accept or reject that amount. Meanwhile, a hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6 to decide whether the entire bankruptcy case should be dismissed. Bankruptcy professor Scott Erlich said: "If I were the judge, I would dismiss this action. The only reason to be in Chapter 11 is that the debtor is willing to come up with a plan that the victims can agree to. That is not happening here, and we are wasting our time." (See prior related postings 1, 2.)