Jan 12, 2022 - News

Courts are trying to vet Boy Scout sex abuse claims

A Bpy Scouts uniform shirt

Photo: Tony Gutierrez

The court overseeing the bankruptcy of Irving-based Boy Scouts of America is also trying to figure out what portion of the tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims filed against the organization might be poorly substantiated or invalid.

Why it matters: This is the largest single sexual abuse lawsuit in history, incorporating the allegations of more than 80,000 individuals dating back decades.

Context: The current settlement offer would amount to roughly $31,000 per alleged victim, a paltry sum compared to the hundreds of thousands awarded to alleged victims in the USA Gymnastics case.

  • Insurance companies, which will pay the majority of the multibillion-dollar settlement, claimed last year that a few lawyers flooded the case with poorly documented claims in an effort to obtain a voting majority and control the case.

What's happening: Some of the plaintiffs' attorneys in the case against BSA signed up hundreds of clients a day using marketing companies known as “claims aggregators” and then had staff sign the claim forms with digital signatures, according to court documents.

  • The judge in the case warned plaintiff lawyers that if they signed claim forms they could be called as fact witnesses.
  • Now several plaintiff attorneys will be deposed by attorneys representing the Boy Scouts.

Zoom out: Last week the preliminary tallies of a vote by alleged victims on whether to accept the most recent $2.7 billion settlement came just short of the 75% threshold the judge suggested to move forward.

  • Thousands of claimants didn't cast ballots.
  • The final vote totals will probably be made public next week.

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