Delaware, June 3, 2020—Last week, a Delaware Bankruptcy Court issued an order requiring all sex abuse claims against the Boy Scouts of America to be filed with the bankruptcy court by November 16, 2020. The ruling is important for victims of sex abuse by scoutmasters and other staff of the Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year after several states, including New York and New Jersey, passed legislation that created “look back windows.” A look back window permits a victim of child sex abuse to file a lawsuit regardless of how long ago the sexual abuse occurred. Before the bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts had been sued by hundreds of individuals as the look back window legislation began to go into effect.
A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also called a “reorganization” and usually doesn’t result in the bankrupt entity going out of business forever. Nor is a Chapter 11 bankruptcy designed to wipe out claims against the bankrupt entity altogether. Rather, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed to keep the bankrupt party in business and able to pay the persons it owes money to in accordance with terms the bankruptcy court sets. For the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy, a child sex abuse survivor who files a claim by the deadline becomes a “creditor” and the Boy Scouts will have a fiduciary duty to equitably pay claims through a “Victim’s Compensation Trust.” Attorneys are currently working out what the compensation will be, but it will be based on the Boy Scouts of America’s total assets and its other debts.
The bankruptcy court’s order requires the Boy Scouts to conduct a multi-million dollar awareness campaign to let survivors know about the bankruptcy claims process and to encourage them to come forward. The claims process will be confidential. Although the claims form will require basic information like contact and employment information, as well as information about when and where the abuse occurred, it will not be available to the public or the press. Likewise, the claims process will be available for abuse that occurred at any time, by any person affiliated with the Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts, including scoutmasters, assistant scoutmasters, camp directors, camp employees, instructors, volunteers, and even other child Scouts.
Importantly, survivors with potential claims against the Boy Scouts who do not submit their claim to the bankruptcy court before the November 16 deadline risk losing their claim forever, even if a state law like New York’s or New Jersey’s gives survivors more time. The reason why is that a federal bankruptcy order may trump a state law statute of limitations. Since the claims form is long and requires some complicated and detailed information, survivors shouldn’t plan to wait until the last minute to submit their claim. In fact, the Boy Scouts will be permitted to review each claim for legal merit, so we strongly encourage survivors of sex abuse in the Boy Scouts to consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney can walk you through the form and help you answer its questions and provide the required information accurately so that you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Levy Konigsberg has a team of attorneys who are dedicated to helping victims of child sex abuse bring their abusers to justice and to obtain fair compensation from the corporations and institutions who covered up child sex abuse for decades. We understand the devastating effects of child sex abuse and are currently handling hundreds of cases on behalf of survivors against the Boy Scouts as well as schools, churches, and other organizations that failed to protect the children entrusted to their care. We also understand that each survivor is unique, and we are committed to fighting for the best possible outcome for each individual in every case.
If you were a victim of child sex abuse by a scoutmaster or other staff member of the Boy Scouts of America, we can provide a free consultation to explain your options and the process to submitting a claim to the bankruptcy court. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us today: You can call 1-800-988-8005 or 1-212-605-6200, you can email us, you can complete the web form at the top of this page, or you can use the “live chat” function to the right.