Lack of Jurisdiction Sinks Roman Catholic Parish Sex Abuse Suit

Bloomberg Law [New York NY]

April 17, 2023

By Ufonobong Umanah

[See also Edwardo v. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence.]

The abusive actions of an out-of-state Catholic priest during a business trip do not create personal jurisdiction over his Rhode Island parish under New York law, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Philip Edwardo alleges he was a victim of the late Father Philip Magaldi’s sexual abuse from approximately 1977 to 1984, including during a 1983 trip to New York City when Magaldi had come to discuss a potential donation from the Dutch socialite Claus von Bühlow. Edwardo, then a minor, sued the Roman Catholic parish St. Anthony’s, where Magaldi worked, and others, at the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in 2021. The case was dismissed last year.

  • The New York Child Victims Act allows cases that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations for sexual abuse to be filed for suit
  • But, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled Monday that New York’s long-arm statute does not create personal jurisdiction where an agent’s conduct arises “from personal motives and do not further an employer’s business, even when committed within the employment context”
  • Physical presence in New York does not create “a nexus between an otherwise unrelated tort claim and a business transaction,” the court said in a per curiam opinion

Southern District of New York Judge Sidney H Stein sat by designation alongside Circuit Judges Michael H Park and Eunice C Lee.

Phillips & Paolicelli LLP represented Edwardo. Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP; and Shook, Hardy & Bacon, LLP represented the parish.

The case is Edwardo v. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, 2d Cir., No. 22-00278, 4/17/23.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ufonobong Umanah in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martina Stewart at; Andrew Harris at