Jeff Anderson and Associates
March 24, 2023
By Elin Lindstrom
Legal Battles to be Fought with Insurance Industry
Today, a settlement was announced in the Diocese of Rochester bankruptcy case on behalf of courageous survivors of child sexual abuse who filed lawsuits under the New York Child Victims Act. The settlement, the first of its kind in a New York Catholic bankruptcy case, consists of two main components: 1) a $55 million payment from the Diocese and parishes; and 2) an additional settlement with two of the diocese’s insurers, LMI and LMI Underwriters, for $20.6 million.
“This is a major step forward for these courageous survivors, but it’s not the end of the fight,” said attorney Steve Boyd.
Additionally, this settlement allows survivors to directly pursue insurance companies who face potentially hundreds of millions in exposure. The ability for the survivors to legally prosecute all insurers of the diocese, specifically Continental National Insurance (CNA), is unprecedented and groundbreaking. This opportunity provides survivors a measure of accountability from the Diocese, and a fuller measure of accountability for the insurers who refuse to abide by their obligations.
“This deal gets survivors some partial accountability for the heinous misdeeds of the Diocese,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “It is far from a full and fair measure.”
The Diocese of Rochester was the first diocese in New York to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy under mounting pressure from lawsuits filed under the New York Child Victims Act. To date, an additional four dioceses in New York have followed the cynical and damaging playbook of the Diocese of Rochester: Diocese of Buffalo (2.28.2020), Diocese of Syracuse (6.19.2020), Diocese of Rockville Centre (10.1.2020), and the Diocese of Albany (3.15.2023). The Diocese of Rochester settlement still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court and voted on by the approximately 475 survivors in the case.
“The real villains are the insurance companies that continue to deny and delay,” said attorney Jeff Anderson. “We and the survivors are marching together to break the insurance hardball stand.”