Judge allows jury trials for victims of sexual abuse

.- The decision of a federal bankruptcy judge to allow jury trials for victims of sexual abuse by San Diego priests has put more pressure on the settlement talks between the Diocese of San Diego and lawyers representing the claimants.

Judge Louise DeCarl Adler ruled on Friday that 42 of the 127 sex-abuse lawsuits filed against the diocese should be released for jury trials, reported the Union-Tribune.

Adler's ruling comes four years after the first lawsuits were filed. They were halted once the diocese sought bankruptcy protection in February.

In a hearing Thursday, the diocese argued that jury trials would be time-consuming and result in fragmented outcomes. Its attorneys asked instead for the federal court to place a dollar value on the claims and allow the victims to reject or accept that offer. Those who reject it could pursue trials in federal court, the lawyers proposed.

But in her 14-page decision, Adler dismissed the diocese's arguments. Victims have a constitutional right to jury trials, she wrote. And, barring a settlement, prompt resolution of the bankruptcy case appears unlikely, she continued.

The judge said the diocese's $95-million settlement offer is well below the state average for abuse claims. Furthermore, she stated, the diocese’s attorneys were looking for courts that would look more favorably on their case.

Susan Boswell, the diocese's lead bankruptcy attorney, denied yesterday that the diocese was forum shopping or trying to avoid jury trials.

“We believed when we filed (for bankruptcy) and still believe that this process affords the best way for all of the victims to receive compensation in a more expeditious way,” she told the Union-Tribune.

Adler must still formally lift the stays placed on the 42 cases. She is expected to decide whether to do this on Sept. 6. She is also is expected to decide whether to dismiss the bankruptcy case altogether.

Should Judge Adler lift the stays Sept. 6, a hearing will follow before Superior Court Judge John Einhorn to determine the status of four cases that had been set to begin trial shortly after the bankruptcy petition was filed.

According to the Union-Tribune, both sides have said significant progress has been made in settlement talks in the past two weeks.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »


Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: