Boy Scouts’ Proposed Settlement of $2.7B Fails to Receive Support From Sex Abuse Survivors
A $2.7 billion settlement proposed by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, which aimed to resolve scores of sex abuse lawsuits brought against the organization, is now in limbo after failing to secure the support of at least 75% of claimants.
Tens of thousands of individuals have stepped forward in recent years to pursue lawsuits against the Boys Scouts, each raising similar allegations that the organization engaged in decades of covering up credible reports involving problems with volunteers and employees, maintaining a set of records known as the “perversion files” dating back to 1944.
Facing clear signs of massive liability, Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in 2020, to manage and resolve the mounting litigation, which has become the largest sex abuse case involving a single national organization in U.S. history.
According to a report this week by Bloomberg Law (subscription required), a recent survey of the child sexual abuse claimants involved in the litigation found that only 73% voted in favor of the plan. While there are about 82,500 claimants in total, 54,000 cast accepted ballots as part of the survey. Of those, nearly 15,000 voted against the proposed settlement agreement.
The goal had been to get 75% of the claimants to sign onto the plan.
Any settlement agreements must be approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein, who is overseeing the bankruptcy process for the BSA, which the organization hoped to achieve by February in order to get out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
The $2.7 billion deal is an amalgamation of several settlements negotiated with victims, the various Boy Scout councils around the country, the organization’s insurers, and agreements with sponsors like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The various Boy Scouts settlement plans include a $787 million agreement by The Hartford, a major insurer, to contribute to a victims’ fund, a $250 million agreement by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, as well as an $850 million settlement agreement reached between the BSA, the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice and other groups which was approved in August.
One major group opposing the deal is a committee representing victims, which was set up by the Department of Justice and has complained that the payout for victims in the current plan is too low.
There is no firm legal requirement for the 75% acceptance goal set by the Boy Scouts on the deal, but that threshold has gained importance in the litigation to avoid it looking like the settlement agreement is being forced on unwilling plaintiffs.
Parties encouraging the settlement are likely to try to rally support among victims, but it is unclear where the negotiations will go from here.
ChristopherJanuary 30, 2022 at 3:14 am
Attorneys will stall and stall, absorbing much of the victims settlements. Time is our worst enemy, your attorney is most likely your next to worst enemy. When attorneys smell money they feed till just a little is left. GREED IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. DO NOT EXPECT CLOSURE OR JUSTICE, you will most likely only see crumbs, AFTER THE ATTORNEYS EAT THIS PIE.
MichaelJanuary 13, 2022 at 2:39 pm
It would seem that our "Attorneys" wish to drag this out as long as possible. We survivors may never see a fair payment. I have read that some Attorneys are billing over $2000 per hour. I'm 74, so may never get closure. My friend who was assaulted by the same assistant troop leader has already passed away. This is becoming a joke. You would at least think the presiding Judge would step in t[Show More]It would seem that our "Attorneys" wish to drag this out as long as possible. We survivors may never see a fair payment. I have read that some Attorneys are billing over $2000 per hour. I'm 74, so may never get closure. My friend who was assaulted by the same assistant troop leader has already passed away. This is becoming a joke. You would at least think the presiding Judge would step in to help us, but she is an Attorney too. Disgusting.
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