No Additional Mediator in Clergy Sex Abuse Cases
By Haidee V. Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
January 4, 2018
Attorneys for clergy sex abuse accusers and the Archdiocese of Agana told the federal court Thursday that no additional mediator is needed to settle 150 Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed in the local and federal courts.
Antonio Piazza, of the San Francisco-based Mediated Negotiations, is the mediator chosen by the parties in the abuse cases.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood had asked the parties to consider having an additional mediator, Judge Susan Mollway, to assist in the proposed mediation. The judge gave the parties until Jan. 4 to respond to her proposal.
"It is the desire at this time to proceed with Mr. Piazza, who will bring with him additional staff, to commence and complete the mediation between all the parties involved," archdiocese counsel John Terlaje and plaintiffs' attorney David Lujan said in a Jan. 4 federal court filing.
The parties in the proposed mediation include the Boy Scouts of America, and accused priests and their lawyers.
Formal mediation has been set for June, to allow for the deposition of each of the plaintiffs, to help the defendants' insurance carrier to evaluate individual claims for damages and liability, among other things.
Tydingco-Gatewood is coordinating with Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo to hold a joint status hearing, tentatively set for Jan. 16. The parties agreed to a joint status conference.
The parties, however, have yet to finalize their mediation protocols. Among the remaining sticking points is a choice between global and individual settlement. The defendants led by the archdiocese want a global settlement, given that there are 150 lawsuits, while the lawyers for plaintiffs want an individual settlement as each plaintiff has a different injury needing individual evaluation.
Reporter Haidee Eugenio covers Guam's Catholic church issues, education, business and more. Follow her on Twitter @haidee_eugenio. Follow Pacific Daily News on Facebook/GuamPDN and Instagram @guampdn.