The American Boy Scouts’ efforts to escape bankruptcy seem to have just come to an end on Tuesday, when a $2.7 billion settlement proposal failed to get enough votes from thousands of men who claimed to have been sexually abused in the Boy Scouts.
According to the plaintiff’s lawyers, although 73% of the nearly 54,000 claimants who voted voted to accept the settlement, the proposal requires at least 75% of the votes to ensure confirmation by the bankruptcy judge presiding over the case.
John Humphrey, co-chair of the official tort claims committee appointed by the bankruptcy trustee to represent all victims, said: “The survivors understand that the plan does not adequately compensate them.”
The committee said the findings will force the Boy Scouts to negotiate better agreements for abuse survivors. The Boy Scouts did not respond to requests for comment.
The results disclosed in bankruptcy court documents filed late on Tuesday ended a two-month controversial voting period during which the plaintiff’s lawyers confronted each other, and some praised the settlement as possible for more than 82,000 claimants The best deal, while others condemned it for serious shortcomings.
The plan began voting in October and ended on December 28. It is said to be the largest proposed solution to sexual abuse in American history.
The Boy Scouts of America and its local councils have agreed to provide a proposed settlement of approximately US$820 million, of which nearly US$1.6 million comes from two major insurance companies, and US$250 million comes from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other sponsoring organizations. These include the Methodist Church. Congregation, they agreed to contribute 30 million U.S. dollars.
According to opponents, even such a large total in history will only produce “you get what you pay for” the true value of the claim, which they believe has saved the Boy Scouts and others from billions of dollars in losses.
The settlement will also exempt the Boy Scouts and other contributors from civil liability for sexual abuse that occurred before bankruptcy.
Laurie Selber Silverstein, the US bankruptcy judge who presided over the Chapter 11 reorganization, has scheduled a confirmation hearing in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court on February 22. It is not clear how the voting results will affect the hearing.
Tuesday’s voting report was released after the Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2020 to avoid a growing wave of sexual abuse lawsuits. The bankruptcy suspended hundreds of lawsuits in order to negotiate a global settlement. It also requires that new abuse claims be processed at that location rather than in state courts.
A researcher hired by the Boy Scouts analyzed its internal records in 2019 and identified 7,819 suspected abusers and 12,254 victims-just a small percentage of the number of people who filed claims.
By November 16, 2020, the deadline set by the court for claims, more than 92,000 complaints had been filed, many of which came from plaintiffs recruited by law firms through television and Internet advertisements. Approximately 10,000 claims were later eliminated as duplicate applications or otherwise invalidated.
The huge response far exceeded everyone’s expectations. The plaintiff’s lawyers predict that the number of claims and the total expenditure to resolve the claims will easily exceed the sexual abuse scandal that swept the Catholic Church in the United States more than a decade ago.
At the time, the Boy Scout leader described the large-scale response as “distressing” and apologized in a statement.
“We are shocked by the number of lives affected by abuse in the Scouts in the past, and moved by those brave people who have come forward,” it said. “We feel sad that their pain cannot be eliminated…We are deeply sorry.”
The Boy Scouts also described the reorganization plan as a “critical step” to fairly compensate survivors of abuse while continuing its mission.
The Tort Claims Committee estimated last month that the average settlement amount per claim was US$28,000.
Some claimants will be paid more and others will be paid less, depending on several factors, including the severity of the abuse and the location where it occurred. The Commission stated that, in general, the settlement will “not recover the billions of dollars owed to the claimant”.
“In a case involving horrific child abuse, an average payment of approximately $28,000 does not begin to fairly compensate survivors,” said Richard Pachuski, a lawyer on the committee, and compared it with the recent contract with the American Gymnastics and American Gymnastics Association. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s settlement is in contrast, which will pay approximately $800,000 each for approximately 500 sexual abuse survivors.
He and other opponents of the plan said that the main supporter of the plan was a coalition of mass infringement law firms, who chose to reach a settlement with the Boy Scouts insurance company for expediency.
Ken Rothweiler, co-founder of the Judicial Abuse Boy Scouts Alliance, which has 18,000 members and said its affiliated law firm represented more than 63,000 clients in bankruptcy cases, said in a video conference last month, It has worked hard to negotiate historical events. settlement.
“We will never get enough money to properly compensate all survivors, because no amount of money can…compensate for everything the survivors experienced,” he said. “But our job as lawyers is to build the largest fund possible. This is what we have been doing and what we will continue to do.”