For clergy abuse cases, Archdiocese of New Orleans bankruptcy alters landscape for settlements


May 2, 2020

By John Simerman

For the Archdiocese of New Orleans, shadow-boxing the sins of its past became a fight too risky to stomach.

Now, in the wake of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday, the archdiocese and its creditors — mostly sexual abuse claimants — will begin to negotiate the price for a move bound to have lasting repercussions for the archdiocese and its accusers, for better or worse.

The outcome will hinge on several factors, as clergy abuse claims move en masse from the drag-it-out halls of state court, to a single federal bankruptcy proceeding with no jury and a swifter pace, say lawyers and advocates familiar with the 26 previous bankruptcy filings by U.S. dioceses since 2004.

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