Rochester Diocese, insurance companies move closer to mediation

Mike Latona/Catholic Courier    |    02.03.2020
Category: Local News


ROCHESTER — The Diocese of Rochester is drawing closer to entering a mediation process for its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.

Appearing Jan. 14 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Stephen A. Donato, an attorney for the diocese, told Judge Paul R. Warren that he has been in frequent and productive contact with attorneys from insurance companies and an unsecured creditors’ committee since the previous bankruptcy hearing on Nov. 21.

At that hearing, Warren had urged mediation as a means of determining insurers’ financial obligations toward an estate to satisfy creditor demands. Both Donato and Ilan Scharf, an attorney representing the creditors’ committee, had supported Warren’s suggestion, noting Nov. 21 that mediation has been a typical process when other dioceses and archdioceses have filed for reorganization.

Donato told the Catholic Courier Jan. 14 that the plan for mediation, including a proposed mediator and process, will be presented for consideration by Judge Warren on Feb. 11.

The Rochester Diocese filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 12, 2019. In opting for reorganization, Bishop Salvatore R. Matano said the diocese would be financially unable to satisfy numerous sexual-abuse claims generated by New York state’s Child Victims Act, which took effect Aug. 14, opening a one-year filing window for abuse claims that previously were barred by statutes of limitations.

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