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Rochester Diocese and Insurance Companies Moving Closer to Settlement via Mediation

Friday, February, 21, 2020

Amidst ongoing legal battles throughout New York and the country, the Rochester Roman Catholic Diocese is growing more and more likely to enter mediation.  It recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as the result of the numerous lawsuits it is facing in regard to abuse by clergy members.


Stephen A.  Donato, an attorney representing the diocese, appeared in US Bankruptcy Court in mid-January and stated that he has been involved in “frequent and productive” conversations with insurance companies and an unsecured creditors’ committee.  All of that had occurred since the previous hearing that was held in mid-November.


The judged urged the parties to attempt mediation and use it to determine the financial obligations of the insurers’ regarding creditor demands.  Donato and Ilan Scharf, an attorney representing the creditors’ committee agreed with the judge regarding mediation.  They mentioned that November mediation had been productive.


Speaking to the Catholic Courier, Donato said “the plan for mediation, including a proposed mediator and process, will be presented for consideration by Judge Warren on Feb.  11.”


The diocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-September, opting for reorganization because it would be unable to meet its financial obligations in the sex abuse settlements.  The settlement took place in mid-August and opened a one year filing window for anyone claiming to have been abused by the clergy.