The official commission representing child sexual abuse victims in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy asks a judge for permission to file its own reorganization plan, saying the plan proposed by the BSA is woefully inadequate in providing reasonable compensation victims of abuse while protecting local Boy Scouts councils and sponsoring organizations from liability.
The official commission of tort plaintiffs filed a motion late last week in which they objected to the BSA's request to the court to extend the period during which the Boy Scouts have the exclusive right to file and request votes on a reorganization plan.
The BSA's plan proposes a $ 300 million contribution by local governments to a fund for victims, approximately $ 115 million in cash and uninsured assets from the BSA, and the allocation of BSA and municipal insurance policies. In return, the 253 city councils and thousands of sponsoring organizations would be released from further liability.
The commission noted in its lawsuit that it had made a settlement offer to the Boy Scouts, putting the value of the approximately 84,000 sexual abuse claims filed in the bankruptcy at approximately $ 103 billion, adding that those estimates & # 39; extremely conservative & # 39; goods.
The commission noted that its estimate considers each claim to be a single act of abuse, even though a significant number of victims have been abused repeatedly and in various ways over several years. The committee also noted that the median claim value of $ 811,215 is lower than the average of $ 1.2 million per claim that the University of Southern California agreed to pay last month in an $ 852 million settlement involving more than 700 women taking the college gynecologist long-term accused of sexual abuse.
The committee's objection to the BSA's exclusivity movement coincided with the last day of a three-day mediation session in which the Boy Scouts' lawyers sought support for their plan from creditors, insurers and other parties.
The mediation session followed Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein's rejection of the BSA's request for an April 15 hearing to approve the disclosure statement outlining the reorganization plan. Silverstein, who will instead hold a status conference next Monday, expressed frustration at the lack of progress in the case, saying the BSA attorneys had not provided "very necessary information and documents" for a disclosure hearing.
Victims Commission lawyers have also expressed frustration at the lack of detail in BSA's plan, which has been roundly criticized by lawyers representing the victims of abuse.
Lawyers for the committee said they should be allowed to file a plan that would allow debtors to reorganize "without the family settlement with local authorities and chartered organizations."
Lawyers for the committee indicated that the main difference between their plan and the BSA plan is that their plan does not include a third-party liability waiver for the local councils and sponsoring organizations. Instead, their plan would allow release to be negotiated by the committee or settlement representation, "but not for the relatively meager amount offered by the local councils. They also said that if the Boy Scouts and local councils want to rely on insurance companies to pay most of the compensation for victims of abuse, the local councils and sponsor organizations do not require a release from liability.
Lawyers for the committee also claim their plan will allow the BSA to reorganize itself as an ongoing, "financially viable" entity.
However, BSA attorneys have argued that it would make it difficult, if not impossible, to allow creditors to file a competing plan, to negotiate and implement a global resolution of abuse claims and “unleash boundless lawsuits.
Based in Irving, Texas, the Boy Scouts of America sought bankruptcy protection in February in an effort to stop hundreds of lawsuits and establish a compensation fund for men who were abused as youth decades ago by scout masters or other leaders.
Attorneys for abuse victims made it clear from the outset that they would go behind campgrounds and other local government properties and assets to contribute to a settlement fund. The local councils, which run the day-to-day operations for local troops, are not debtors in bankruptcy and are considered legally separate entities by the Boy Scouts, even though they share insurance policies and become bankruptcy cases.
The bankruptcy case has been bogged down by disputes over the provision of information by local Boy Scouts councils about their financial assets, claims by the BSA that hundreds of millions of dollars in proprietary assets are limited and unavailable to abuse victims, and concerns by BSA insurers who are attorneys. for victims of abuse have made tens of thousands of claims without guaranteeing their validity.
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