Diocese of Rochester bankruptcy timeline

Catholic Courier [Diocese of Rochester NY]

September 6, 2022

Feb. 14, 2019: Then-Gov. Anrew Cuomo signs into law the Child Victims Act, which will open a one-year “window” (later extended for a second year), providing survivors of child sexual abuse the opportunity to file civil suits previously blocked by New York’s statute of limitations.

March 14, 2019: As the Aug. 14 opening of the CVA window nears, the diocese announces it will stop accepting new claimants into a voluntary process established in March 2018 for the independent reconciliation and compensation of sexual-abuse victims.

Sept. 12, 2019: With 45 lawsuits filed against it in less than a month since the CVA window opened, the diocese files for bankruptcy. The case is assigned to U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Paul R. Warren.

Nov. 14, 2019: The diocese files a lawsuit seeking to establish that its insurers must cover potential liabilities related to historical claims of child sexual abuse.

Dec. 23, 2019: The diocese asks Judge Warren to order mediation with the insurers and the committee representing survivors.

Feb. 25, 2020: Judge Warren appoints Nevada bankruptcy Judge Gregg W. Zive as mediator and sets an Aug. 13, 2020, deadline for submitting claims in the bankruptcy case. The availability of bankruptcy claim form is widely publicized.

Aug. 13, 2020: Nearly 500 abuse claims are filed prior to the deadline. With the scope of claims against it established, the diocese begins mediation negotiations with the survivors’ committee and its insurers.

May 27, 2021: The diocese asks the court to approve a $35-million settlement with two of its insurers. About two weeks later, the survivors’ committee asks the court to allow a test group of sexual-abuse lawsuits against the diocese to proceed in state court.

July 9, 2021: Warren denies both requests, He orders all parties back to mediation, admonishing them to “wipe the slate clean and participate in the mediation with fresh eyes, fresh attitudes and minds open to and intent on reaching a global resolution.”

March 2022: The survivors’ committee refuses to extend a standstill agreement staying the prosecution in state court of sexual-abuse lawsuits against parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions.

April 6, 2022: The diocese files an adversary proceeding, asking the court to enforce a stay of state litigation against parishes, schools and other Catholic institutions.

May 20, 2022: The diocese files a motion for approval of $107.25 million in insurance settlements to be combined with a $40.5-million contribution from the diocese, parishes and affiliated organizations for a $147.5-million Survivor Compensation Trust.

May 23, 2022: Judge Warren denies the diocese’s request to stay abuse litigation against parishes, schools and other Catholic entities; the diocese files notice of its intent to appeal the ruling.

June 30, 2022: The survivors’ committee files an objection to the $147.5-million proposed settlement, arguing among other things that it does not provide adequate compensation for survivors.

July 8, 2022: Judge Warren appoints Paul Van Osselaer, a full-time mediator and arbitrator specializing in insurance coverage, to serve with Judge Zive as additional mediator. Sessions take place in late July and August.

July 22, 2022: The diocese files objections to 74 claims arguing that the diocese cannot be liable for alleged abuse by persons or entities who were not under the control or direction of the diocese. These claims relate primarily to instances in which the alleged abuse occurred at non-diocesan facilities and where the alleged abusers were not diocesan clergy or employees.

UP NEXT — Oct. 12, 2022: Scheduled date for a hearing on the diocese’s claim objections.

Late-January 2023: Hearings on the diocese’s motion seeking approval of negotiated settlements with insurers combined with diocesan/parish contributions to fund a $147.5-million trust for compensation of abuse survivors.