Judge Chides Lawyers on Twin Cities Archdiocese Bankruptcy Fees

Wall Street Journal


A Minneapolis bankruptcy judge criticized legal fees and other expenses that have accrued over the course of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’s bankruptcy case.

Though he ultimately approved the bill, Judge Robert Kressel of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Minneapolis said Thursday he was “stunned” and “frankly a little angry” over the legal fees and other expenses, which court papers show were approaching $1.8 million as of May 31. That includes the archdiocese’s professionals and those hired by a victims group, whose fees the archdiocese is obligated to cover.

“Airlines were reorganized for a fraction of this,” he said.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and has since been working to reach a settlement with alleged clergy sexual abuse victims, its parishes and its insurance carriers.

Lawyers working on the case have to share the same limited pool of funds that the archdiocese’s creditors—primarily, the abuse victims—are counting on for compensation.

Charlie Rogers, a lawyer with Briggs and Morgan who represents the archdiocese, said the firm’s average billing for the case was $300 an hour, which he said is standard for the area.

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