Diocese of Springfield to Offer Voluntary Arbitration Procedure

July 2, 2008

SPRINGFIELD - As a result of the resolution of its lawsuit with insurance carriers, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield will be offering an independent, voluntary arbitration procedure to any sexual abuse claimant who has a pending, credible claim. The purpose of the arbitration will be to offer a speedy claims resolution process to those who have patiently waited while the diocese's insurance lawsuit was pending.

The arbitration process will be conducted by Paul Finn and Brian Mone of Commonwealth Mediation in Brockton, Massachusetts. Commonwealth Mediation is highly experienced in sexual abuse cases having mediated settlements throughout New England.

The arbitration process will provide the claimants with a hearing at which they may tell their story and not be subject to questioning by attorneys for the insurance carriers or the diocese. After hearing the claimant, any other witnesses the claimant offers, and reviewing any medical materials, Commonwealth Mediation will work out the award to each claimant of an amount between $5,000 and $200,000. The Diocese will waive all legal defenses including the statute of limitations or charitable immunity. In order to be eligible to participate in this voluntary arbitration process, the claimant will need to complete for the arbitrators, under oath, a confidential questionnaire developed by the insurance carriers.

The process only applies to credible, pending claims of which the Diocese had notice by noon on June 2, 2008, concerning acts which took place prior to October, 1986. These carriers stopped providing insurance after 1986.

Bullets / Arbitration

Voluntary Program
  • Conducted totally by independent arbitrators experienced in sexual abuse claims
  • Diocese will not attend any hearing or contest any claim determined to be eligible
  • Awards made by arbitrators after hearing will be no less than $5,000, and no more than $200,000
  • Eligibility is for any claimant who has notified the Diocese of a claim by noon on June 2, 2008 in which the misconduct is alleged to have occurred before October l7, 1986
  • Claimants need only complete for the arbitrators a confidential questionnaire, under oath, developed by the insurance carriers, to be screened in or out of the program
  • Any claimant who elects not to participate or who is not offered the opportunity to participate, will still have all his or her legal rights to pursue that claim in a formal court jury trial proceeding
  • Claimants will have until July 31, 2008 to decide if they wish to participate in the program
  • Hearings will begin on August 11, 2008 and be concluded by October 10, 2008
  • Awards will be made by the arbitrators on October 20, 2008
  • Payments will be made to claimants by November 20, 2008


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