‘No one that wants to get out of this more than I do’: Bishop addresses Diocese of Buffalo bankruptcy status

WKBW [Buffalo NY]

April 12, 2024

By Sean Mickey

“I have to be careful I can’t comment on that, because we have the court confidentiality, but we’re in the midst of our mediation. There’s no one that wants to get out of this more than I do,” said Bishop Michael Fisher when asked about an upcoming decision in federal bankruptcy court.

It has been four years since the Buffalo Diocese declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The diocese filed in February 2020 while facing a mountain of lawsuits involving clergy sexual abuse.

On Monday, a federal bankruptcy court judge could allow individual cases to proceed in state court. They have been on hold while the diocese and survivors attempted to negotiate a settlement.

The diocese objects to the move. Survivors argue the diocese is attempting to delay the process. At least 15 survivors who filed lawsuits against the diocese have died while waiting for justice.

In total, plaintiffs filed more than 800 lawsuits against the diocese. More than 250 priests and nuns have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Documents filed in federal bankruptcy court show the diocese has paid nearly $16 million in legal fees to date.

Any settlement would likely cost the diocese over $100 million.