Boy Scouts of American Bankruptcy ~ Filing Deadline for Parishes, Nov 16 2020
Please note that notwithstanding anything stated elsewhere on this page to the contrary, the only Proof of Claim a parish need file is the one against Boys Scouts of America
(and NOT also against BSA of Delaware, as has previously been stated).
It was earlier stated that parishes should file two proofs of claim, against each of the Boys Scouts of America and BSA of Delaware.
We have more lately determined that except in the very unlikely eventuality that a Boy Scout troop in New York fell under the umbrella of the Delaware entity, proof of claim need only be filed with regard to the national body – i.e., Boy Scouts of America, and not with regard to BSA of Delaware.
On February 18, 2020, Boy Scouts of America (Case No. 20-10343) and Delaware BSA (Case No. 20-10342) (together, the “National BSA”) filed bankruptcy petitions with the US Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The two parties filing the petitions are the national Boy Scouts of America organizations, not the local councils. The Chapter 11 filing by the National BSA seeks protection from creditors and the creation of a victims’ fund in the wake of sex-abuse cases that were filed- and that continue to be filed- under child victims act legislation in virtually every US jurisdiction. The National BSA is setting up a fund for which claimants and possible claimants must file a Proof of Claim by 5:00 EST on November 16, 2020. That date is referred to as the “Bar Date”.
Why This Matters To You
If your parish hosts, or has ever hosted, a Boy Scout troop or other Boy Scout-related organization, you could be named in a lawsuit by a person making a claim under the New York Child Victims Act. It does not matter whether or not you are aware of any abuse, as it may be alleged to have happened many years ago. It also does not matter whether you have or have not already been sued, as a lawsuit could be filed against you after the Bar Date. As a result, you should file a Proof of Claim with respect to each debtor (i.e., one for the Boy Scouts of America and the other for Delaware BSA) by 5:00 on the Bar Date.
What is a Proof of Claim?
It is a written statement setting forth a creditor’s claim or potential claim. Filing a Proof of Claim is required to be able to vote on the Chapter 11 reorganization plan (unless you are already listed in the bankruptcy schedules as having an undisputed, non-contingent and liquidated claim). It is also how dioceses or congregations, which, if they hosted Boy Scout troops or Boy Scout-related events on their premises, are considered possible “creditors” of such Boy Scout organizations, might seek payment or contribution from the Boy Scouts should scouting abuse claims (occurring on or before February 18, 2020) be brought against them. This is true even if abuse claims are brought against the parish or diocese after the Bar Date.
What is The Episcopal Church Doing About This?
The Episcopal Church is working with bankruptcy counsel on the question of the filing of Proofs of Claim, by the Diocese and by each affected parish. In the meantime, if your parish hosts or has ever hosted a Boy Scout troop or other Boy Scouts-related organization, we think it is important that you begin to work on a history of your parish’s relationship with the Boy Scouts of America (whether the National BSA or a local council): when it started, how long it lasted, what was involved, who was involved, any agreements with local councils or the National BSA (chartered agreements, leases, etc.), insurance information, and any other information that might be relevant. You will need this for the Proofs of Claim.
The Episcopal Church (TEC) has retained Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) to represent it in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case, including assisting TEC in filing Proofs of Claim by the Bar Date.
TEC strongly recommends that the dioceses and each parish file their own Proofs of Claim by the Bar Date if the parish hosts, has hosted or may be uncertain if it hosted a Boy Scout troop. Again, we remind you that such filing must be made by 5:00 p.m. on November 16, 2020 to be effective. The failure to file a Proof of Claim by this deadline could result in prejudice to the dioceses and parishes and the loss of any right to pursue a claim against the Boy Scouts of America or its co-debtor Delaware BSA, LLC.
TEC further recommends that the dioceses and parishes consult with counsel to consider filing Proofs of Claim. Each diocese and parish is free to choose its own counsel, but if dioceses and parishes are interested in retaining SPB to represent them in the bankruptcy case, including assisting them with preparing and filing a Proof of Claim, they should speak with Mark Salzberg, the SPB partner who is leading this engagement on behalf of TEC. Please note that before SPB can assist a diocese or parish, a separate engagement letter will need to be executed with the law firm after appropriate conflict checks have been run. Any parish that retains SPB or other counsel must do so at its own expense, which we understand to be approximately $3,000. The Diocese is not responsible, and shall have no liability, for any legal services of SPB or any other counsel selected by a parish. The Diocese does not endorse, guarantee or assume responsibility for any counsel selected by a parish in connection with the filing, tracking or other matters associated with the Proofs of Claim.
Given the November 16, 2020 deadline for filing Proofs of Claim, a parish, if it desires legal assistance, may contact Mark (or other counsel of its choosing) as soon as possible if it would like his services. The Diocese is not responsible for SPB or any other counsel selected by a parish. Mark’s contact information is as follows:
Email: [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]>.
If requested, we can provide other counsel referrals to assist with the filing of the Proofs of Claim.
We have included a sample Proof of Claim (Form 410) with the case information provided for one of the debtors and Proof of Claim addendum. Please note that these are working drafts, and not final, and that the Diocese is providing the drafts to you simply in order to help you get the Proof of Claim process started. You should consult with your own counsel before finalizing and submitting a Proof of Claim. We have provided a clean Proof of Claim (Form 410) as well. Remember that you will need to file two Proofs of Claim, one per defendant.
How to File
The Bankruptcy Court for Delaware has the fillable proof of claim forms on its website and instructions on how to file them electronically, with exhibits attached. The ePoc link is https://www.deb.uscourts.gov/claims-information. The Bankruptcy Court strongly encourages the electronic filing of proofs of claim. Some filers prefer to file through a claims agent rather than through the Bankruptcy Court system, so we have provided a link for that as well: http://www.omniagentsolutions.com/bsaclaims<http://www.omniagentsolutions.com/bsaclaims>. If you elect not to electronically file your claims using ePoc, you can submit the completed Form 410 to:
United States Bankruptcy Court
824 Market Street, 3rd Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801
Not Sure if Your Parish Hosted a Boy Scout-affiliated Organization?
You can try searching the database of BSA offenders, which you can find here: https://spreadsheets.latimes.com/boyscouts-cases/<https://spreadsheets.latimes.com/boyscouts-cases> .The database allows you to search by name, region, city, etc. Most of the files are available and you can sometimes discern the chartering entity and locations.
Contact for this matter