Sexual Abuse Class Action Settlement
[This page consolidates news items and notices of upcoming events as posted on the Covington Class Action website in 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003. These items and notices were culled by BishopAccountability.org from numerous "news" webpages preserved in the Internet Archive's collection of pages from the Class Action site. Following the practice of the original website, we have displayed the news items and notices in reverse chronological order with the most recent at the top. The words on this webpage are reproduced exactly from the various pages of the original website. We have added several years and dates to help the reader navigate the text; these additions are displayed in square brackets. We have made minor formatting changes involving color and bullets to render the page more consistent. If a link provided in an original item or notice is now a dead link in the Internet Archive, we have colored the linked text red and have provided the name of the missing file. Please consult our list of documents to view all the extant documents that were once included on the original Class Action site. See also the Internet Archive's collection of files from the Class Action website. If you notice content in those pages that should be included on this Collected News page but is not, kindly email to us the Internet Archive URL, and we will make the addition. See also the Class Action Counsel's June 2009 update on the status of the case.]
Posted August 20, 2007
The Settlement Master approved Amended Claims Administration Procedures on August 14, 2007. The Procedures may be downloaded at this Link. [The file 070814AmClaimsAdmProc.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.]
On June 21, 2007, the Kentucky Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of Judge Potter, making the decision of the Kentucky Court of Appeals the final ruling on confidentiality of class members in this case. On October 27, 2006, the Kentucky Court of Appeals granted Class Counsel’s Petition for Relief from the order of Judge Potter, holding that the Settlement Master cannot divulge the names and information of class members. The decision of the Supreme Court may be downloaded at this Link. [The file 070621KYSupCtDecision.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive. The Kentucky Supreme Court minutes noting the decision are available at http://apps.kycourts.net.]
On June 13, 2006, Judge McGinnis ruled that two persons who filed late could join the case and one person who filed late could not join the case. The Court’s decision may be downloaded at this Link. [The file 070618OrderreJohnDoes.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.]
One major source of delay in claims processing was eliminated June 1, 2007, when the Boone Circuit Court filed its decision in the case of Bonar v. Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley. Attorney Barbara Bonar, who was originally a Class Counsel and voluntarily withdrew from this case in January 2004 due to her conflicts of interest, instituted litigation against Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley in early 2006 in an effort to obtain a fee from the class fee awarded by the Court to class counsel. Class Counsel has been required to file numerous briefs and attend numerous hearings on this matter. Responding to voluminous legal documents filed by this attorney and preparing for trial caused significant delay in the claims process. Nevertheless, throughout this separate fee litigation, class counsel has continued to investigate and complete claims so that delay occasioned by this dispute has been kept to a minimum. The trial of the Bonar case began May 8, 2007 and ended May 11, 2007. The trial resulted in a finding against Barbara Bonar and in favor of Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley, holding that Ms. Bonar was entitled to no attorney fees from the class. The Court determined that Ms. Bonar committed numerous serious ethical violations and that her misconduct was cause for her removal from this case even if she had not withdrawn. A copy of the decision can be found at this link. [The file 070601BonarFindings.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.]
A letter updating class members on the claims process is being sent to each class member.
Class Counsel wish to express their appreciation to the class members for their patience with the claims process. Class Counsel are now almost completed with our work in finalizing claims, and have remaining only several claims where medical records, school records, or other documentation has still not been received or where class members continue to make modifications their claim form. There are now 401 persons who have filed Confidential Census Forms in this case. We will be issuing a more detailed update letter today.
The claims process, which began on June 15, 2006, will continue into 2007. It is estimated that it may take several more months to complete. There are 389 persons who submitted Confidential Census Forms in this case. Each person's claim is given thorough individual attention. These claims have been and are being carefully and deliberately prepared, reviewed, and investigated by Class Counsel. Each claim is also carefully reviewed by the Diocese's attorney and the Special Masters.
The Claims Process:
Most of the Claim Forms sent to Class Counsel were incomplete or required further documentation. For this reason, Class Counsel requested the Court to modify the June 15, 2006 deadline for submitting a completed Claim Form to permit anyone who had submitted information to Class Counsel by June 15, 2006 to satisfy the deadline. There are still some class members who have not signed their drafted Claim Forms. Class Counsel have been obtaining and summarizing medical records for all class members (some medical records go back forty years or more); organizing school and church records, photographs, yearbooks and handwritten statements; checking sexual predator websites and criminal records of abusers; and obtaining details omitted from Claim Forms. Class Counsel has engaged in literally thousands of meetings, conferences and correspondence with the 389 claimants in this case. There have been difficulties in obtaining medical records in a timely fashion from certain doctors and institutions. Some school, church, and orphanage records have been destroyed and other sources of records had to be investigated. Many records required a lengthy search before they were located. In addition, corroborating witnesses are being interviewed, sworn statements are being obtained, and other investigation is being conducted in an effort to resolve the credibility of claims. This effort is necessary to separate the non-credible claims from those that have merit. A significant number of claims have been denied (this number changes every week). The claimant is notified immediately when his/her claim is denied. Some of these claims were made by persons who do not meet the definition of a class member in this case, and others were denied for lack of credibility. While time-consuming, this effort assures that those who have valid claims will not have the settlement escrow funds diluted by invalid claims.
After Class Counsel completes its investigation of a claim, the Claim Form is sent to the Diocese's attorney, who is seeing the details of the claim for the first time, together with Class Counsel's award recommendation. The Diocese's attorney provides a copy of those claims within the Catholic Mutual Insurance entities' coverage period to Catholic Mutual, which is entitled to comment on the claim. The Diocese and Catholic Mutual has the right to conduct their own investigation of the claim. The Diocese's comments and recommendation and any additional documents are then forwarded to the Special Masters along with Class Counsel's recommendation. The Special Masters have found it necessary to further investigate certain claims and to schedule the interview of certain claimants. The Special Masters have promptly decided each claim that has been presented to them, usually within one week or less, unless an interview is necessary. Once an award is made, Catholic Mutual has right to make an objection to the award and present its comments in the same form as those of the parties. Once the award is final, a Disbursement Authorization Form is prepared and signed by both parties and by both Special Masters. That form is sent to U.S. Bank, which then issues an interim disbursement of 25% of the award, minus attorney fees, from a Minnesota facility for privacy reasons. The class member receiving the award is notified promptly, and the check is delivered promptly after appropriate documentation is signed.
The claims process will not be complete until the last claim is decided and all appeals are decided. During this process, all settlement funds are earning tax-exempt interest. When the process is complete, distribution of the remaining amount of each class member's award will be made based on the total money available in the settlement escrow funds and the total amount of awards. It is not possible to know the total amount of all awards until the last claim has been decided. In accordance with the Court Approved Settlement Agreement, if there are not sufficient funds to pay 100% of all awards, each award will be reduced equally and proportionately. On the other hand, if there are more than enough funds to pay all awards, the excess funds will be returned to the Diocese. After all the Category Awards are paid, the Special Masters will review the files of those eligible for the Extraordinary Injury Fund (class members in Categories 3 and 4) and determine which class members will receive an award from that fund and the amount of the award.
Work Performed Outside The Claims Process:
Although the claims process has progressed very well during the first six months, the following work has contributed to slowing the process:
1. Numerous legal documents have been drafted, modified, redrafted and circulated among the parties, the insurers, the Settlement Master, the Special Masters, the tax attorneys, and U.S. Bank. These documents include: the Claims Escrow Agreement, the Catholic Mutual Escrow Agreement, the Counseling Fund Escrow Agreement, the Minors' Fund Escrow Agreement, the Claims Administration Procedures, the Catholic Mutual Settlement Agreement, the American Insurance Settlement Agreement, Notices of Denial for each claim denied, Notices of Award for each award made, Disbursement Authorization forms for each award made, General Release forms for each award made, Notices of Receipt of Appeals for each appeal made, Draw Notices for transfers from the CM escrow fund to the Doe Escrow Fund for each claim within the Catholic Mutual insurance coverage period, Income Tax Opinion Letters for each award made, Income Tax Returns for each escrow fund, Income Tax Election forms for each escrow fund, summaries of monthly investments and payments for each escrow fund, Settlement Master Reports to the Court, and other documents.
2. It was necessary for Class Counsel to initiate litigation in the Kentucky Court of Appeals to obtain a Writ of Prohibition against the Order issued by former trial judge John W. Potter, who on his own initiative ordered that the identity and contact information for each class member be submitted to local prosecuting attorneys. Class Counsel researched and drafted a Brief and a Reply Brief and argued the case during a lengthy hearing in the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals issued a final order prohibiting the Settlement Master from releasing the identity and contact information of any class member. Judge Potter, whose appointment in this case ended December 19, 2006, filed a notice of appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Class Counsel researched and drafted a Motion to Dismiss the appeal and a Reply Brief on the grounds that Judge Potter no longer has any standing in this case. The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this motion. (Class Counsel will cooperate with prosecuting attorneys to provide information necessary to aid in the prosecution of abusers, but we will not disclose the identity or contact information of class members without their written consent.)
3. An attorney filed a petition to obtain attorneys fees in this case, despite the fact that she withdrew from the case in January 2004 due to an admitted conflict of interest with the class. This petition generated numerous hearings and the research and filing of numerous briefs. The current trial judge, Robert W. McGinnis, removed this dispute from this case because it was interfering with the claims process. It is now the subject of a separate case. The case is presently pending on Class Counsel's Motion for Summary Judgment.
As you were previously informed, the Court awarded Class Counsel 22% of each class member's award in attorney fees. Class Counsel does not receive its 22% fee disbursement until each class member receives his/her disbursement. Therefore, Class Counsel is subject to the same time deadlines as are the class members.
Class Counsel have agreed not to seek or receive fees or expenses for any work described above which was performed after December 31, 2005. Thus, no fees or expenses are paid for the work done during 2006 or thereafter. Therefore, your compensation will not be affected in any way by the substantial additional work being performed by Class Counsel.
We remain very pleased with the class settlement and the progress of the claims process. Had this case gone to trial, all class members faced the substantial risk of losing due to the application of the statute of limitations or for lack of legally acceptable evidence. In Ohio, the Ohio Supreme Court has rejected identical claims against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati on statute of limitations grounds. Moreover, trials would have been in at least two stages and entitlement to claim awards would have to have been determined by the judge or a jury individually for 389 persons. These trials alone would have taken years, followed by years of appeal litigation. In comparison, due in part to the cooperation of the Diocese of Covington and Bishop Foys, the settlement process in this case will hopefully be completed within one year of its beginning on June 15, 2006 or soon thereafter. It is impossible to predict the exact date on which the process will be complete. We appreciate your continued patience during the claims settlement process.
Posted November 1, 2006
The claims administration process is proceeding on schedule. Last year, Class Counsel estimated that the first monetary awards would be made in the late summer/early fall of 2006. The Special Masters made the first monetary awards on September 12, 2006 and have continued to process claims and make awards since that time. Once an award is made, 25% of that award is promptly distributed to the class member (less attorneys fees). The remainder will be distributed at the end of the claims process. Distributions are normally made within two weeks of the award, after the necessary papers are signed by the Special Masters and the attorneys and after the Bank processes those documents and issues the check. Checks are sent to Class Counsel, who deliver the check to the class member in return for signing a release of claim and a receipt. The goal is to complete the claims process by the end of 2006. However, meeting that goal will depend on the difficulty in processing and evaluating claims, which must be reviewed by the Diocese's attorney and Catholic Mutual Insurance entities (who are seeing each claim form for the first time when Class Counsel submit it) before the claim form is submitted to the Special Masters.
Some class members have still not returned finalized signed claim forms that have been sent to them for signature. Most claims have required lengthy investigation. Class counsel have spent considerable time locating corroborating information. The Special Masters have decided claims promptly after receiving them. Because claims are processed every day, there is no point to giving a running total, which would be inaccurate the following day. The settlement escrow funds earn tax-exempt interest periodically, which is accumulated in the escrow funds. The Settlement Master is required to file reports in the Boone Circuit Court on the status of the escrow funds every 45 days. To date, he has filed detailed reports on May 5, 2006, June 19, 2006, July 24, 2006, September 11, 2006, and October 17, 2006. The next report will be filed on or about December 4, 2006.
Class members are notified promptly by telephone and in writing when their award is made. Class Counsel would like to thank 99% of the class members, who have followed our request not to call or email to ask the status of their claim or when they will receive their award. That simply diverts our attention from processing the claims and slows down the process for everyone
Today, the Kentucky Court of Appeals granted the Doe Class’s petition for writ of prohibition against Judge Potter to the extent it required victims’ names and contact information to be released to prosecuting attorneys. The Court prohibited that from being done. The Court denied the writ to the extent it challenged Judge Potter’s order to report the names of live abusers to prosecuting attorneys. At the conclusion of the claims process, the Settlement Master will prepare an “executive summary of the credible incidents of abuse established as to each abuser,” without disclosing the names or contact information of any victim. This is very much in line with what the parties intended to do before Judge Potter issued his order. A copy of the Court of Appeals order may be downloaded here. [This copy of the order was obtained at http://opinions.kycourts.net. It was not available on the Internet Archive.]
The Kentucky Court of Appeals has granted Class Counsel's motion for an emergency stay of Judge Potter's order requiring a report of the names of class members to prosecutors. The Court of Appeals has ruled that this order cannot be enforced until the Court has decided Class Counsel's motion for a writ of prohibition to have the order cancelled. A hearing on this issue is scheduled for October 11, 2006 in the Kentucky Court of Appeals.
In the meantime, processing of claims proceeds on schedule. The Special Masters responsible for settlement awards in this case began making awards to claimants on September 12, 2006 and will continue to do so until all claims are processed. The claim process is very time consuming because each claim requires collection of corroborating documentation, thorough investigation, and study by the parties and by the Special Masters.
The Special Masters have also decided to make interim partial awards and would like to explain to you the process of disbursing interim awards. These are awards made before all claims have been reviewed and determined. In class action cases, the full amount of monetary awards are not normally disbursed until all claims have been reviewed and decided. In this case, for the benefit of class members who have waited many years to recover for abuse that occurred during their childhood, the Claims Administration Procedures established by the parties authorize and encourage the Special Masters to make partial interim disbursements as soon as practicable after the Matrix Category Award to a particular class member is determined. The Special Masters have agreed to do so. Initially it was announced that an interim disbursement of 50% of monies to be paid on each claim would be made. However, after further study, we have determined that it is appropriate to follow a more conservative approach and make a 25% interim disbursement. We believe we can disburse this percentage of awards and still ensure that there will be sufficient settlement funds to treat every class member equally, including the last person to receive an award.
The parties and the Special masters are working diligently to process claims as carefully and as quickly as possible. Because there are hundreds of claims, calls or messages to Class Counsel to check on the progress of your claim will only serve to delay the process for everyone. Please be patient. You will be notified promptly by Class Counsel when a decision is made on your claim.
At the conclusion of a court hearing today, Judge Potter announced that he was stepping down as the presiding judge in this case, effective no later than September 29, 2006. He indicated that his time limitation as a Senior Judge is about to expire and that he must step down. A new judge will be appointed through the Kentucky Court system. This will not affect the processing of claims, which continues on schedule.
The Special Masters determined the first monetary awards to class members today. For privacy reasons, these awards will not be announced publicly. Each class member who received an award will be personally informed promptly. Please allow at least two weeks for distribution of the funds. Distribution is being made from a U.S. Bank facility in a distant location to enhance the privacy of class members. Monetary awards are being made at this time for categories 1 through 4 only. Awards from the Extraordinary Injury Fund will be made after all Claim Forms have been reviewed. The initial distribution to class members of their monetary awards will be reduced by 50% in order to be certain that there will be sufficient funds in the settlement escrow account to pay every claim on an equal basis. The Special Masters cannot determine the total amount of the awards until they have reviewed each and every claim. Once all Claim Forms have been reviewed, the remainder of the monetary award will be distributed. Upon order of the Court, attorney fees of 22% are deducted from each distribution.
Please be patient with the award process, which involves review of 398 potential claims. Please do not contact Class Counsel to determine the status of your claim, as that will only slow down the process.
Today Class Counsel filed with the Kentucky Court of Appeals a Petition for Writ of Prohibition, requesting the Court to prohibit the trial judge from enforcing his order that the Settlement Master report the names of class members, their telephone numbers, their addresses, and other contact information to local prosecutors. A copy of the Petition can be downloaded at this Link. [The file 060908WritofProhibition.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.] Class Counsel has also filed a Motion for Intermediate Relief asking the Court of Appeals to stay the trial court’s order until it makes a ruling. A copy of the Motion can be downloaded at this Link. [The file 060908MotionIntermRelief.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.] The trial court has stayed the order until the end of September. Rest assured that Class Counsel will make every effort to see that this order is vacated, including an appeal to the Kentucky Supreme Court if necessary.
The claims process remains on schedule. The Special Masters will not begin to make monetary awards until the late summer or early fall at the earliest, meaning the end of September or sometime in October. Numerous claims have been processed and continue to be processed every day. Please do not call to ask the status of your claim as this will only slow down the claims process. When any decision is made on your claim, you will be promptly notified.
Processing of claims is proceeding according to schedule. The Special Masters will not make monetary awards before the late summer or early fall at the earliest. They wish to review a large number of meritorious claims first. The majority of claim forms filed by the June 15, 2006 deadline were incomplete. For that reason, the Court approved the parties' agreement that anyone who submitted a partial claim or participated in an interview and cooperated with Class Counsel by June 15, 2006 would qualify to participate in the settlement process. Class Counsel has been engaged in completing hundreds of Claim Forms by obtaining medical records and summarizing them, obtaining school and church records where appropriate, conducting background investigations, checking sexual predator websites and criminal records of alleged abusers, interviewing witnesses, preparing histories of each abuser, and many other matters. Some school, church, medical, and orphanage records have been destroyed, while others require a lengthy search to locate. Once a Claim Form is complete, it is forwarded to the Diocese's attorney, who is seeing the Claim Form for the first time. Class Counsel's award recommendation and any attachments we have received are included. The Diocese's attorney then conducts her review of the Claim Form and completes an award recommendation. For all Claim Forms that are within the insurance coverage period of Catholic Mutual Insurance Company, a copy of the Claim Form is provided to it by the Diocese's attorney, and it is entitled to comment on the award.
The Special Masters and the parties made an effort to identify and eliminate fraudulent claims, non-credible claims, and ineligible claims at the earliest possible time. To date, the Special Master have reviewed the factual backgrounds on more than 70 persons and have denied 49 claims to date. All persons whose claims were denied were immediately notified and advised of their appeal rights. There have been 8 timely appeals of denied claims. Of the 22 persons who filed Census Forms after the November 10, 2005 deadline, the Special Masters have recommended that 12 of them had valid justification for filing late. The Court will rule on whether these 12 will be permitted to participate in the settlement.
Class Counsel requests that you do not call or email to determine the status of your claim, because responding to hundreds of such calls will only cause delay in processing claims. When a decision on your claim is made, you will be notified immediately. No decisions on monetary awards will be made until the late summer or early fall at the earliest.
Former Federal Judge Robert Duncan has been selected to serve as Appeal Master in this case. Judge Duncan served on the United States District Court for Southern District of Ohio at Columbus from 1974-1985. He also served on the U.S. Court of Military Appeals (as Chief Justice), the Ohio Supreme Court, and the Franklin County, Ohio Municipal Court. Before assuming the bench, he served as Chief Counsel to the Ohio Attorney General. Following his judicial career, he became a partner in the Jones, Day law firm in Columbus, Ohio. He then served as Vice President and General Counsel for the Ohio State University. He was recently selected as chairman of the Board of Directors of Ohio State University. From 1992 to the present, he has engaged in alternative dispute resolution.
The Court has approved the following stipulation by the the parties: 'Any class member who has submitted a draft Claim Form to Class Counsel or has provided Class Counsel with a substantial amount of information to be included in the class member's Claim Form will be deemed to have complied with the June 15, 2006 submission date, so long as the class member continues to cooperate with Class Counsel in providing the necessary information and promptly signs and returns the completed Claim Form when requested by Class Counsel. For the avoidance of doubt, draft or final Claim Forms must be postmarked by June 15, 2006 or stamped received by Class Counsel by June 15, 2006 to come within the scope of the stipulated extension.'
Any class member who has not provided detailed information to Class Counsel, either orally or in writing, or has not submitted at least a partially completed Claim Form by June 15, 2006, will be excluded from participation in this case.
On May 22, 2006, the Court ruled that Class Counsel is awarded attorney fees of 22%, to be deducted from each class member's award and from counseling fund awards, to be paid at the time of the award payment, as well as expenses of $1,068,350.42 through December 31, 2005. Class Counsel has waived its claim for expenses incurred after 2005. The request for enhancement of the Class Representative's awards will be ruled on in a separate order that has not yet been filed.
All persons who have requested Class Counsel to assist them in completing their Claim Form must also submit a Claim Form with handwritten answers to Questions 1-5 (pages 3-4), questions 11-22 (pages 7-9), questions 24-25 (page 11), and questions 27-29 (pages 13-15). These must be submitted no later than June 15, 2006. Each person who has not yet submitted a Claim Form was sent a personal letter on May 18, 2006 with a copy of the Claim Form. June 15, 2006 is the deadline for submitting a Claim Form in this case.
$84 Million in settlement funds have been deposited in two escrow accounts at U.S. Bank and are earning tax-exempt interest for the benefit of class members. The Doe Class Escrow Account contains $44 Million, including $4 Million in cash paid by the American Insurance Company and $40 Million in cash paid by the Diocese of Covington. A second account, called the CM Escrow Account, is for the benefit of class members whose claims are within the insurance coverage period of Catholic Mutual. This account contains the remaining $40 Million, consisting of $15 Million in cash and $25 Million in Senior Unsubordinated Notes paid by two Catholic Mutual insurance entities. The Notes pay interest monthly to the CM Escrow Account. Upon receipt by U.S. Bank, all cash funds were immediately invested in 90-day U.S. Treasury Bills and any remainder was invested in the First American Fund Treasury Obligation Fund so that every dollar in the Escrow Accounts is fully invested in the safest possible investments.
A detailed settlement agreement with Catholic Mutual Insurance Company replaced the Memorandum of Understanding signed on January 9, 2006. Difficult negotiations with Catholic Mutual took place continuously from January 10, 2006 through April 19, 2006, when the new agreement was signed. The new settlement agreement improves upon the previous settlement in a many ways, but does not modify any of the favorable provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Sample claim forms were distributed to most class members before the Court gave final approval to the Claim Form, and class members were requested to fill out appropriate sections of the form. At this point in time, all class members should have received a copy of the Claim Form. To date, Class Counsel has received 219 Claim Forms, many of which are not complete and require additional information. Most class members have requested assistance of Class Counsel in completing the narrative portions of their forms based on the detailed interviews that have taken place over the past three years. Claim Forms will be sent to class members for notarized signatures as they are completed.
The parties are meeting with the Special Masters this week to finalize the claims process. The process will move as quickly as possible, considering that there are hundreds of claims to be reviewed. Every person will receive equal treatment, regardless of when that person's claim is processed. We ask that you please be patient with the claims process and allow Class Counsel to devote as much time as possible to processing the claims. The deadline for submitting a claim is June 15, 2006.
To date, the Court has not ruled on Class Counsel's request for attorney fees and expenses, which the Court took under submission on March 14, 2006.
On March 10, 2006, the parties established the formal Claims Administration Procedures for this case, and on March 11, 2006, they were provided to the Court. These procedures may be downloaded by clicking this link.
On February 14, 2006, a hearing took place regarding Class Counsel's motion requesting an award of attorney fees, costs, and an enhancement award for each Class Representative. A copy of the motion may be downloaded by clicking this link. The supporting exhibits may be downloaded by clicking this link.
Eleven class members testified at the hearing. Two expert witnesses also presented testimony: Professor Arthur Miller (by live testimony) and Fr. Thomas Doyle (by affidavit).
The Court took under submission the decision on the award of attorney fees, costs, and enhancement awards for the Class Representatives.
The Court approved Mr. William R. Burleigh and Judge Thomas D. Lambros as co-special masters to determine individual settlement awards. For Mr. Burleigh's biography, click here. For Judge Lambros's biography, click here.
The Court approved the Corporate Trust Services Department of US Bank to act as an escrow agent for the settlement funds.
On March 14, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., the Court will hold a hearing to establish procedures for administration of the settlement.
Class Counsel have been engaged in helping Class Members complete claim forms since January 10, 2006 and will continue to do so in order to avoid any delay in processing claims.
Posted January 31, 2006
On January 31, 2006, Senior Judge John W. Potter, Boone Circuit Court, Kentucky, issued a detailed decision approving the settlement of this case. The Judge found the method and the funding of the settlement to be fair, reasonable and adequate. Judge Potter scheduled a hearing for 10:00 a.m. February 14, 2006 at the Boone County Courthouse, Burlington, Kentucky, to consider Class Counsel's application for attorney's fees. On the same date, the Judge will conduct a hearing to establish procedures for administering the settlement. A copy of the Order may be downloaded by clicking this link.
Settlement claim forms were distributed to 136 persons at the meeting on Saturday, January 28, 2006. Those who did not attend the meeting will be mailed a settlement claim form the week of January 30, 2006. Class Counsel will provide assistance in completing these forms.
Judge Potter, the presiding judge on this case, has advised Class Counsel that due to his busy trial schedule, he has not yet completed his written decision regarding final approval of the settlement. When the decision is received by Class Counsel, it will be posted on this website.
All Class Members are reminded that we will meet Saturday, January 28, 2006 at 10:00 a.m.. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the Final Approval Hearing held on January 9, 2006 and the claims process. Each Class Member has been sent a DVD video of the hearing and a letter containing directions to the meeting. Meeting locations are not posted on this Internet site. Please confirm your attendance with Class Counsel by calling 513-621-0267. As with all meetings, attendance is strictly voluntary. No Class Member is required to attend.
Posted on January 12, 2006
A detailed summary of the January 9, 2006 Final Approval Hearing may be downloaded by clicking this link.
Posted on January 11, 2006
On January 9, 2006, the hearing for Final Approval of the Settlement took place. It lasted from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. A detailed presentation was made by Class Counsel, including expert witnesses and Class Representative witnesses. The same settlement terms and categories as have been posted on this site are still in place. The final funding of the Settlement is $85 million, which is sufficient due to the number of Class Members filing Census Forms.
The Final Approval Hearing went very well, and we are optimistic that the Settlement will be approved. The Judge must file a written opinion. He stated he would file his opinion in about three weeks. A detailed written description of the hearing will be available to download from this site shortly. Each Class Member will be mailed a DVD containing a video of the hearing. For those who do not have DVD equipment, your local photography store can convert the DVD to videotape at a modest cost.
There will be a meeting of all Class Members on Saturday morning, January 28, 2006, to answer all questions about the Settlement. As with all past meetings, attendance is voluntary. The video of the hearing will explain very well how the Settlement was finalized and why it is an excellent result for the entire Class.
[Early January 2006]
The final approval hearing for the settlement of this case will be held on Monday, January 9, 2006 at the Boone County Courthouse, Burlington, Kentucky, at 11:00 a.m. All Class Members are welcome and are encouraged to attend.
Of the new class members who were entitled to opt out of this case by November 20, 2005 because they fell under the expanded definition of the class, no persons opted out.
On December 15, 2005, a pretrial conference was held in the Federal Court case involving the Covington Diocese's claim against its insurers for participation in the settlement of this class action case. Stan Chesley, on behalf of Class Counsel, informed the Federal Court that settlement discussions were progressing very well but had not yet been finalized. The Federal Court requested the parties to appear and report the results of negotiations on January 5, 2005 at 2:00 p.m.
On December 19, 2005, the deadline for class members to file objections to the settlement, only three objections were made. All of the objections were filed under seal. Two of the objections were filed by persons who have not yet been interviewed by Class Counsel and did not attend the class meeting, thus have not yet had an opportunity for their questions to be answered. The third objection was not served upon Class Counsel as required by the notice procedure in this case.
Personal meetings with individual class members to discuss the settlement have been conducted on a continuing basis since July 2005. Those who have attended these meetings know that all questions concerning the case are answered during the meeting, the class member is assisted in determining what category of the settlement applies to his/her claim, and an explanation of how the claims process will work is given. Of the approximately 375 persons known to have filed census forms, about 150 persons have not yet been interviewed. Interviews are scheduled by Class Counsel and will continue through December, January, and February.
The final approval hearing for the settlement of this case is scheduled for January 9, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. at the Boone Circuit Court, Burlington, KY. The hearing is open to the public.
Claim forms for class members cannot be submitted until after the Court approves the settlement. Class Counsel will provide each class member with a claim form and instructions for completing it. Class Counsel will assist every class member who wishes assistance in preparing their claim.
On Saturday, December 3, 2005, a meeting was held with all class members who wished to attend. We discussed the same matters that are posted below under Latest News for November 21, 2005, and all questions were answered.
November 21, 2005
On November 21, 2005, Judge Potter conducted a status hearing. Class Counsel reported that 373 Confidential Census Forms had been received at that point in time. Some of the 373 persons filing Census Forms were not qualified as class members in this case because they complained of abuse in another diocese or archdiocese. Class Counsel filed a Proof Of Notice Publication Regarding Census Forms And Service Of Opt Out Forms On New Class Members. This document set forth the extensive publication of the notice in this case and the service of forms to certain new class members who have the right to opt out of the case.
The Diocese's attorney advised the Court and the news media that the Diocese intended to reach agreement on most claims, but may challenge some claims. Class Counsel reported that negotiations with the Diocese's insurers in the federal lawsuit were progressing well. The parties agreed to report to the Court the status of negotiations on December 20, 2005. The Judge reaffirmed the deadline for objections to the settlement, December 19, 2005, and the date of the Fairness Hearing, January 9, 2006 at 11:00 a.m. The Judge denied the motion of one individual who had opted out of this case to opt in and participate in the settlement.
[Before November 21, 2005]
• For interested class members, the attached article from nationally known author Carl Hiaasen appeared recently in The Herald, Miami, Florida. It discusses the Vatican's understanding of the priest sexual abuse scandal in the United States.
• The hearing scheduled for May 20 is cancelled. All class members who have not contacted class counsel since May 13, 2005 should call 513-621-0267 within the next 30 days and speak to Tillie.
• Due to significant developments in the mediation process, the hearing will not take place on Tuesday, April 19, 2005.
• The Pretrial Conference scheduled for Friday, April 8, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse, Burlington, Kentucky, has been rescheduled to Tuesday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. Settlement negotiations are progressing well.
• At the pretrial hearing held on March 22, 2005, Judge Potter ordered the Diocese to bring representatives of both its insurance carriers, with authorization to settle, to mediation proceedings to take place as soon as possible. The Judge commented that the class had filed a trial plan, but the Defendants had failed to file their trial plan. The next pretrial hearing is set for April 8th at 2:00 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, KY. At that time, the trial date will be rescheduled.
• As stated in our recent letter to class members, the pretrial hearing will take place on March 22, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse.
• Due to the progress of settlement negotiations, the parties filed a joint motion to continue the trial date for a reasonable time. The pretrial hearing is still scheduled for March 3, 2005 at the Boone County Courthouse at 10:00 a.m.
• Plaintiff's Trial Plan was filed in the Boone Circuit Court on Friday, February 18, 2005. [The file 050218PltfTrialPlan.pdf is not available on the Internet Archive.]
• At the pretrial hearing held on January 19, 2005, the Court ordered that Class Counsel file a detailed plan for trial by February 18, 2005, Defendants file their detailed trial plan by February 28, 2005, and the Court scheduled another pretrial conference for March 3, 2005 at 10:00 a.m.
• Videotape depositions of priests took place beginning December 15, 2004 and continued during the week of December 20, 2004 until halted by a snow emergency in Northern Kentucky on December 23, 2004. Depositions will continue in January, beginning January 10, 2004.
• The Pretrial Hearing has been scheduled for January 19, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse, Burlington, KY. All class members are urged to attend.
• The pretrial conference scheduled for Tuesday, December 14 has been cancelled. There will be a brief hearing regarding a motion filed, but the pretrial conference is continued until January. Therefore, it is not necessary for you to appear. The trial has not been cancelled.
• On November
22, 2004, the Court
denied the motion of a number of priests to have their depositions
cancelled because they were asserting their Fifth Amendment right against
self incrimination. Class counsel opposed this motion in a brief and in
oral arguments on November 15, 2004. The Court ruled that priests must
appear for deposition and must answer each question, asserting their Fifth
Amendment privilege where applicable.
• December 2, 2004 - Reminder, there is a meeting scheduled for all class members on Saturday, December 4, 2004 at 10:00 a.m. at the Airport Marriott.
• November 11, 2004 - Reminder that there is a hearing scheduled in Boone Circuit Court for Monday, November 15, 2004 on a motion by various priests to have their depositions cancelled because they are claiming the Fifth Amendment. Class counsel opposes the motion and will argue against it.
• October 7, 2004 - Following a lengthy meeting with attorneys and a conference with the mediator, Judge Potter requested the parties to concentrate entirely on the detailed and complex settlement activities and discussions that are taking place. He rescheduled the trial for April 11, 2004. Depositions of priests and former bishops are now scheduled for the first two weeks of December 2004. Another pretrial conference is scheduled for December 14, 2004. Following the hearing, Class counsel met with all clients who attended the hearing and answered questions. A client meeting will be scheduled for November 13, 2004.
IT IS NOW VERY IMPORTANT THAT ALL CLASS MEMBERS CONTACT CLASS COUNSEL AND PROVIDE THE NAMES OF ALL PERSONS THEY KNOW TO BE VICTIMS OF ABUSE OF PRIESTS AND OTHERS IN THE COVINGTON DIOCESE. AS ALWAYS, ALL INFORMATION WILL BE KEPT STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL
• October 2, 2004 - Class counsel met with a large group of clients and provided a status report on settlement proceedings and answered questions.
• Mediation is continuing. The pretrial hearing for September 20 has been cancelled. We will advise you when it is rescheduled.
• We have scheduled a meeting for all class members for Saturday, August 21, 2004, starting at 10:00 a.m. Please contact Class Counsel at 513-621-4066 for location and directions.
• August 4, 2004 - Judge Potter met with the parties in Court today and cancelled the Pretrail Conference scheduled for today due to the progress of the mediation proceedings. The pretrail conference is rescheduled for September 20, 2004. Judge Potter also rescheduled the trial to January 10, 2005.
The Judge rescheduled the trial because mediation proceedings are expected to continue into September, making it difficult to be ready for trial on October 25, 2004, if mediation proceedings were not successful. Due to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year holidays, the earliest practical date to start the trial is January 10, 2005.
The parties are to report to the Court the status of the mediation on September 1, 2004.
• July 9, 2004 - On July 8, 2004, the Post newspaper published an article about the Covington Diocese, referring to the ongoing mediation proceeding and containing the incorrect statement that the Diocese was considering bankruptcy. The Diocese generated this publicity. The fact is, the Diocese is NOT considering bankruptcy, and it has made a written correction to the story, which should be published today. The mediation proceedings are confidential, and the Diocese should not be discussing them with the news media. In its written correction, the Diocese confirmed to the news media that it is currently engaged in serious settlement negotiations with the assistance of an excellent mediator and that it wishes to resolve the claims of all those who were abused as minors. Attached is a copy of the Diocese's response to the Post article.
Class members do not need to be concerned over the incorrect report referring to bankruptcy. The Diocese has substantial assets as well as insurance. Confidential mediation proceedings are currently in progress. We appreciate and request that class members make no comments to the media.
• July 5, 2004 - Due to the progress of the mediation proceedings, the pretrial conference scheduled for July 12, 2004 has been continued to August 4, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. at the Boone County Courthouse.
• May 27, 2004 - The parties have agreed to retain one of the country's foremost mediators to attempt to settle the class action lawsuit. Today, the parties filed a joint report stating that Kenneth R. Feinberg, who is presently the Special Master in the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund for 2001, will conduct the two-day mediation in the Cincinnati, Ohio area before the end of June. It is possible the mediation process could continue beyond June. There is no guarantee that the mediation will result in settlement, but it is a positive step in this case. Discovery procedures are still ongoing and trial is still scheduled for October 25, 2004.
It is most important that any person who believes that he/she is a victim of child sexual abuse in the Covington Diocese come forward to be included in the settlement discussions.
• On April 30, 2004, the Court ruled that seven individuals who attempted to opt out of this case shortly after the January 31, 2004 deadline could do so, but that no other persons can now opt out. The Court ruled that the notice published by Class Counsel was sufficient to meet due process requirements, thus ending the time period within which an absent class member may opt out.
We are still awaiting the Court's ruling on motions to compel psychiatric records of priests and victims' complaints received by the Diocese. Numerous person have contacted Class Counsel to identify themselves and to identify abusive priests. We have now identified 62 abusive priests and other religious. An active priest has recently been suspended due to an allegation of child sexual abuse we received.
The case is progressing very well toward resolution. It is important that all absent class members identify themselves to Class Counsel. They are assured of confidentiality.
• On April 13, 2004, Class Counsel issued notices and subpoenas to take the depositions of former Bishop William Hughes and 22 priests who are the subject of sexual abuse complaints. The video tape depositions were scheduled for April 26, April 28, April 30, May 3, May 4, May 5, and May 7, 2004. This schedule is subject to last minute modifications. Class Representatives are permitted to attend these depositions if they wish. However, the proceedings are not open to the public.
• On April 12, 2004, Class Counsel sent a notice to attorneys for the Diocese, scheduling depositions for 22 priests and Bishop Hughes. The Diocese responded, stating that their attorneys will not represent any of the priests. Therefore, the depositions were postponed and each priest was served with a subpoena. A number of the priests hired attorneys, who asked to have the depositions delayed so they could prepare. Depositions are now scheduled for May 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, and 26, however, these dates may change.
• On April 6, 2004, the Court granted Class Counsel's motion to issue subpoenas to sexual abuse treatment centers in various states for records relating to treatment of priests from the Covington Diocese.
• At the April 6, 2004 hearing, a trial date was set for October 25, 2004. The Court also heard motions by Class Counsel to 1.) obtain mental counseling records of priests and of victims (with victims' identities removed), 2.) obtain additional records of sexual abuse complaints by victims (with victims' identities removed), 3.) subpoena ten treatment centers for priests who sexually abused children. The Court also heard a motion by seven individuals to opt out of the class action after the January 31, 2004 deadline. Class Counsel oppose this request, because these individuals have not established good cause for doing so. The Court granted the motion for subpoenas to treatment centers on April 8, 2004. It expects to decide the remaining motions later this month.
Class Counsel announced at the hearing that the Diocese did not respond to a February 2004 letter requesting former Bishop William Hughes and approximately twenty priests be made available for deposition. As a result, Class Counsel is issuing notices to proceed with these depositions during the week of April 26, 2004.
As the result of subpoenas previously issued, as well as formal discovery and investigative efforts, a substantial amount of new evidence has been developed and reviewed. We have now obtained evidence relating to child sexual abuse by 58 priests, nuns and other religious of the Covington Diocese.
• On April 2, 2004, Plaintiffs filed their detailed trial plan for this case
• Pretrial Hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m., April 6, 2004: At the Pretrial Hearing, the Judge will discuss pending motions and trial of the case. The hearing will be held at the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Ky.
# Memorandum opposing late opt outs filed: On March 30, 2004, Class Counsel filed a memorandum opposing a motion to intervene that was filed on behalf of seven people seeking to opt out after the deadline. This memorandum includes information on the benefits of the class action to class members, the conflict of interest that the attorney representing the movants has, how allowing late opt outs prejudices the class, and other matters of interest. The vast majority of child sexual abuse victims of the Diocese have remained in the class action case.
• On March 23, 2004, Class Counsel filed a Motion to Compel the Diocese to produce all non-privileged records relating to complaints of child sexual abuse.
• On March 19, 2004, Class Counsel filed a Motion to Compel the Diocese to produce certain documents listed on Defendants' privilege log.
• On February 25, 2004, Class Counsel filed its Trial Plan with the Court.
• On February 20, 2004, the Diocese of Covington filed an updated report in its publication, The Messenger, relating to child sexual abuse, revising its 2003 report. It now admits that 205 children were abused by 35 perpetrators. This increased number still grossly underestimates the number of perpetrators and the number of victims.
• On February 27, 2004, the U.S. Conference for Bishops issued a report by its National Review Board, making astounding admissions about the amount of abuse, the number of priests, and the complicity of U.S. Bishops. [We link to our copy of the report.]
• On February 27, 2004, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice released its report on sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and deacons. It also contained incriminating information. [We link to our copy of the report.]
Class Counsel believe that the reports referred to above, while astounding in their admissions of the magnitude of the problem, grossly underestimate the number of perpetrators and victims. These figures are allegedly taken from complaint reports kept by various Bishops. Thus the source of the information is suspect. We know that the vast majority of victims do not come forward to make complaints. We also know that the records kept by the Church are not complete - there are numerous missing documents and removed documents. A far better accounting could be made from the psychological studies of priests and others by outside sources, where the perpetrators speak about the number of their victims. Even there, however, the doctors have said the perpetrators minimize the number of victims. Despite the underestimates of abuse, these reports support all of the allegations in this class action lawsuit.
• February 5, 2004
Hearing Results: Judge John W. Potter of Louisville, Ky., a very experienced senior judge, introduced himself to the parties and the Class Members in attendance. Many Class Members attended the hearing, especially considering that the hearing was at 8:30 a.m. on a workday with bad weather.
Judge Potter granted all of the pending motions: (1) the motion to file a Fourth Amended Complaint adding Class Representatives, for a total of ten; (2) the motion to substitute Ann Oldfather as a Class Counsel; and (3) the motion of Barbara Bonar to withdraw as a Class Counsel due to her conflict of interest.
The Judge also signed an Order that Class Counsel presented requiring the Kentucky Cabinet of Families and Children to produce all records relating to sexual abuse by priests and other religious officials of the Diocese. The Cabinet is presently gathering these records to forward them to Class Counsel.
Judge Potter spent a long time discussing possible settlement and encouraging the Diocese’s attorneys to participate in settlement discussions for this case. He asked Class Counsel to file a brief explaining how the case may be settled.
Class Counsel explained to the Judge that our goal in this case is to establish a fund for all persons injured by the Diocese and to provide a reasonable time period for these individuals to come forward in a confidential manner. He asked for a second brief explaining how the case may tried to a jury. He asked for a third brief on the issue of why Class Counsel are entitled to receive over 100 psychiatric evaluations of priests and victims that the Diocese possesses. (On this last point, any Class Member who has had an evaluation that was paid for by the Diocese should contact Class Counsel and advise whether they authorized the counselor to give a copy of their records to the Diocese.) We are trying to determine how the Diocese came into possession of these private records.
Judge Potter appears very interested in this case and in moving it forward. He also appears to be objective and fair. We are pleased at the results of the hearing.
Meeting of Class Members scheduled for February 21, 2004 at 11:00 a.m. This meeting will take place at the Airport Marriott, 2395 Progress Drive, Hebron, Kentucky. All Class Members have been mailed a map of the location. We will be discussing the February 5, 2004 hearing and the progress of the class action suit. We will also introduce you to a psychiatrist who has specialized in childhood sexual abuse treatment for over 30 years. She will provide some information that you may find helpful, and she will answer questions.
Pretrial Hearing scheduled for 9:30 a.m., April 6, 2004: At the Pretrial Hearing, the Judge will discuss pending motions, settlement of the case, and how the case will be tried to a jury if it is not settled. The hearing will be held at the Boone County Courthouse in Burlington, Ky. All Class Members are urged to attend. Please check with Class Counsel or this website by April 2, 2004 to be certain the date has not changed.
Hearing Date Changed: The hearing scheduled for January 27, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. has been changed to February 5, 2004 at 8:30 a.m. The purpose of this hearing is to have a trial schedule placed on the case and to review pending issues. It is important that all Class Members attend this hearing at the Boone County Courthouse, Burlington, KY to demonstrate support for this case.
New Class Counsel Added: Plaintiffs have moved to substitute Ann Oldfather of Louisville, Kentucky, for Class Counsel Barbara Bonar, who moved to withdraw from the case on January 9, 2004 due to a conflict of interest. Ms. Oldfather is an excellent addition to the case. She has substantial experience in all areas of complex litigation, including a class settlement against the Archdiocese of Louisville, Kentucky on behalf of over 200 victims of sexual abuse by members of its clergy.
Client Meeting Scheduled: We feel it would be helpful to have a meeting of all our clients so that we can see you again and answer any questions you may have about this case. Each person will retain his/her anonymity unless he/she wishes to be identified. The meeting is not mandatory, and if you do not wish to attend, that is not a problem. We will hold the meeting on Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 9:00 a.m. at the Cincinnati Airport Marriott, 2395 Progress Drive, Hebron, Kentucky. Each client will be required to confidentially identify themselves to our assistant before entering the meeting to be certain the meeting is protected by attorney-client privilege. For the same reason, while family members and other supporters are welcome to come, they will not be able to attend the attorney-client meeting. After the meeting, we will be happy to meet with family members and other supporters.
Receipt of new information: During the week of January 12, 2004, Class Counsel received from the Diocese of Covington and the Diocese of Lexington several boxes of records in response to our legal discovery requests. We are in the process of reviewing and cataloguing these records, which include personnel files on various priests. There is very pertinent information in them to support this case. In addition, our investigator, a former Kentucky State Trooper who specialized in sexual abuse cases, is currently conducting appropriate background investigations of the 46 suspected priests in this case. This is something the Diocese of Covington failed to do, even though the U.S. Conference of Bishops Charter requires it.
New Judge Assigned to Case: Judge Bamberger, the judge who presided over this case and certified the class action, has retired. The Kentucky Supreme Court appointed Senior Judge John Potter of Louisville to preside over the case. The case will remain in Boone County, Kentucky, and proceed as it normally would with Judge Potter presiding. Judge Potter has a good reputation as a fair judge. Judge Potter originally scheduled a hearing for January 27, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse to review the status of the case and to set a schedule for trial. This date may be changed to February 5, 2004. It is not necessary to identify yourself in order to attend. Please visit this website periodically to determine the date of the hearing.
U.S. Conference Of Bishops recommends that the Diocese of Covington adopt certain procedures regarding sexual abuse that the class is seeking in this class action case: On January 5, 2004, the U.S. Conference of Bishops issued reports regarding their audit of United States Dioceses. With regard to the Diocese of Covington, the Conference found it lacking in three respects:
1. The Diocese should make it “a matter of public record that it will report all allegations of abuse to civil authorities, even though not required to do so by statute.” The U.S. Conference Of Bishops Charter For The Protection Of Children And Young People, Revised Edition (Charter), adopted in November 2002, Article 4, made it mandatory for each Diocese to report sexual abuse of minors to civil authorities and to cooperate with their investigations. The auditors of the Covington Diocese found they were not complying with this mandate, even as late as 2003, and recommended they change their policy. This is one of the measures of injunctive relief sought in the class action.
2. The Diocese personnel should “immediately begin implementing the VIRTUS training programs and expedite the development of additional training from the Women’s Crisis Center.” Article 12 of the Charter required the Diocese to implement such training programs in order to maintain a safe environment for children. The audit determined that the Diocese was not moving quickly enough to comply with this requirement and recommended that they expedite this training. This is another of the measures of injunctive relief sought in the class action.
3. The Diocese must “perform background evaluations on all priests, deacons, diocesan employees, and volunteers, regardless of when they were hired, and include checks with neighboring states, where appropriate.” Article 13 of the Charter requires that the Diocese “evaluate the background of all diocesan/eparchial and parish personnel who have regular contact with minors.” While the Diocese was doing some “background” evaluation of new employees, they have failed to follow the requirement that they investigate the background of existing priests and employees. This is a third measure of injunctive relief sought in the class action. One of the purposes of this case is to obtain some assurance that children attending churches and schools in the Diocese are safe. In 2003, Plaintiffs in this case identified two priests who victims have described as sexual abusers who were active: One was a parish priest in the Lexington Diocese, and the other was assigned as a teacher in a Covington Diocese High School. The Dioceses suspended both after they were identified in the class action papers filed by Plaintiffs. Even if the Diocese were to implement the Charter requirement, it is vague as to what is meant by a “background evaluation.” One purpose of the class action is to require specific background checks, including criminal arrest checks, in every location where the priest of employee has lived or worked.
Therefore, it appears that the findings of the U.S. Conference of Bishops support the allegations of the class action lawsuit. These findings indicate that the Diocese has not been following the mandates of the Charter. This makes it all the more necessary for court intervention.
While the audit report stated, “As of December 1, 2003, all Recommendations had been addressed,” it is silent as to what the Diocese has done to address these recommendations.
• On December 22, 2003, Class Counsel filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint to add seven more class representatives, bringing the total of class representatives to ten. This reflects the increasing size of the class. To view the Fourth Amended Complaint PDF, click here.
• On December 19, 2003, Judge John Potter, Senior Status Judge of Louisville, Kentucky, was appointed to replace Judge Joseph Bamberger, who has retired effective January 5, 2003. Judge Potter is a very experienced Senior Judge who has a fine reputation.
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