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Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Confirms Chapter 11 Plan

August 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Diocese of Great Falls-Billings Confirms Chapter 11 Plan 

Los Angeles, CA — August 16, 2018  On Tuesday, the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana confirmed the chapter 11 plan for the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings. The Diocese will pay a $20 million settlement to approximately 86 people who were sexually abuse by clergy when they were children. According to the Diocese’s chief financial officer Richard Moog, the Diocese’s insurer will pay $8 million, the Diocese will pay $5 million, parishes will pay $4 million, the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana will pay $2 million, and St. Labre Indian School will pay $1 million. 

The Diocese of Great Falls-Billings filed for bankruptcy in March 2017—shortly before the scheduled start of multiple jury trials addressing claims of sexual abuse filed in 2011 and 2014. The claims implicated the clergy in childhood sexual abuse from the 1940s into the 1990s. Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (“PSZJ”) represents the creditors' committee, a continuation of PSZJ's string of committee representations in twelve other Catholic diocesan and religious order bankruptcies. 

A major, unique issue in this case was the civil status of unincorporated parishes and whether parish properties were part of the Diocese’s bankruptcy estate. While the litigation of that issue was settled by the confirmation of the plan and a $4 million contribution by the parishes to the global settlement, counsel for several of the parishes conceded to the bankruptcy court that he was less than satisfied with the state of Montana law on the issue.  

“Plan confirmation and distribution to victims will hopefully help those who have been deeply affected by clergy abuse. We are pleased with the Court’s approval of the plan,” said James Stang of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP.   

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors is represented by James Stang, Ilan Scharf, Kenneth Brown, Iain Nasatir, Steve Golden and Erin Gray of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP. The firm also currently represents the creditors’ committee in The Weinstein Company chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The Diocese is represented by Ford Elsaesser and Bruce Anderson of Elsaesser Anderson, Chtd. 

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Contact: James I. Stang

Tel: 310.772.2354

e-mail: jstang@pszjlaw.com