Sunday, October 24, 2010

Stay on clergy abuse suits

Stay on Delaware clergy abuse suits extended to end of year
At a status conference Friday in the bankruptcy case
of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, a
judge extended a stay on dozens of priest abuse
lawsuits until at least Dec. 31.

However, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi
said that if any of the abuse survivors wish to
challenge that delay, the burden will be on the
Diocese of Wilmington to prove why it should be

Attorneys for the diocese argued that the hold
should be continued on the lawsuits now that a Cha-
pter 11 reorganization plan, filed Thursday, is
being considered by the court.

All of the approximately 73 lawsuits involved in
Friday's stay are against individual parishes --
which are considered to be separate business
entities from the diocese.

An automatic stay continues for all lawsuits that
name the diocese as a defendant.

Last month, Sontchi allowed a handful of lawsuits
naming parishes to go forward to trial -- set for
later this fall -- after a hearing at which several
abuse survivors argued they would be harmed by
additional delays.

The reorganization plan that was released by the
diocese this week was not discussed in court,
beyond Sontchi mentioning that he expects
attorneys representing abuse survivors to
vigorously contest it.

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