Judge's Ruling Leaves Priest Abuse Lawsuits Intact
December 12, 2006
(CBS) Los Angeles A judge's ruling Tuesday clears the way for some lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by priests to move toward trial, possibly in March, according to an attorney for some of the accusers.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley J. Fromholz issued a 53-page ruling that left intact most of the allegations made by the plaintiffs, including negligence, sexual battery and sexual assault.
Although Fromholz's ruling directly related to a relatively small number of cases that have not settled, the judge told attorneys they can expect it to be applied to the 700 to 800 other related lawsuits, as well, said Raymond P. Boucher, the lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
"These cases are going to be rapidly moving down the road," Boucher said.
Boucher contended that a lot of time has been wasted on technical issues raised by the defense in the case, and that some plaintiffs have died while waiting to see their lawsuits get to trial.
Boucher said he still expects most of the cases to settle without going to trial, just as 45 of them did Dec. 1 with the Archdiocese agreeing to pay plaintiffs $60 million.
J. Michael Hennigan, an attorney for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said he and the other defense attorneys are obligated to make certain arguments on behalf of their clients that challenge all or part of each lawsuit.
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