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Attorneys

Catholic Diocese of Wilmington

The firm represented the creditors' committee in the chapter 11 case of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wilmington. The diocese serves the state of Delaware and the Maryland Eastern Shore. The case involved approximately 150 sexual abuse claims against the diocese and its parishes. From the outset of the case, the diocese contended that in excess of $100 million held in a pooled investment account was held in trust for its parishes and other affiliated entities or otherwise restricted by donors and therefore was not property of the bankruptcy estate and thus not available to satisfy the claims of the survivors of sex abuse. The firm obtained a judgment from the bankruptcy court that the entire amount in the pooled investment account was property of the estate and therefore must be available to satisfy the claims of the victims. This judgment led to global settlement between the diocese and the sex abuse survivors in which a fund of over $77,000,000 was created to be distributed to the survivors. The firm was instrumental in negotiating and drafting the plan of reorganization and far reaching and unprecedented nonmonetary provisions that became part of the plan. The plan, which was confirmed in 2011, did not release religious orders that had been sued by the survivors and additional amounts were contributed to the $77,000,000 settlement fund after the plan was confirmed.