Amid a flood of sexual abuse claims, the Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in early February. Because such proceedings implement an automatic stay, doing so effectively halted the 300 or so civil lawsuits the organization was facing.
Alleging sexual misconduct on the part of employees and volunteers, the suits threatened the Boy Scouts’ very existence. Composed of 261 local councils, the organization is attempting to shield these chapters—and the assets they own—from the ongoing legal battles.
Whereas the national governing body—the Boy Scouts of America—declared chapter 11, the local scouting councils remain legally and financially independent. And while the national organization has more than $1 billion in assets, the local councils collectively have considerably more. The Sam Houston Area Council in Texas alone has $150 million in assets, for example.
The 90-page reorganization plan presented by the Boy Scouts of America effectively shields these local councils from the abuse actions. The plan does propose a Victims’ Compensation Trust, though, which such councils may be ordered to contribute to for settling current and future claims.
What does all of this mean for the victims? While existing plaintiffs have no recourse at the moment, the automatic stay will not last forever. As such, some of their cases may go on to yield sizable settlements or verdicts in their favor once the bankruptcy has been resolved. Others may be entitled to a payout from the trust, assuming the court signs off on the organization’s proposed financial restructuring.
In his open letter, national chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Jim Turley reassures victims that the organization aims to compensate them equitably. He proceeds to encourage them to step forward and file claims so they may receive their share from the proposed trust.
Even if the organization sets up such a fund, however, victims are not prohibited from taking legal action on their own. In other words, they’re not limited to filing a claim for a portion of the compensation trust. And in certain scenarios, bypassing the system the Boy Scouts implement and filing a formal lawsuit may be strategically advisable.
While suing the Boy Scouts of America or one of their local chapters cannot undo the trauma you’ve experienced, it could provide the means needed to put your life back together. It could also provide much-needed closure by possibly allowing you to hold the organization accountable for their wrongdoing.
Call 800-770-7008 for a Free Consultation with a Minneapolis Personal Injury Attorney
If you or someone you love was abused by a member of the Boy Scouts organization, contact Bradshaw & Bryant to determine the most strategic way to proceed. We know that stepping forward isn’t easy, but our compassionate and tireless attorneys are here to help.
We will use all the resources at our disposal to conduct a thorough investigation and gather the evidence needed to build the strongest claim possible. Call 800-770-7008 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Minneapolis.
A founding partner with Bradshaw & Bryant, Mike Bryant has always fought to find justice for his clients—knowing that legal troubles, both personal injury and criminal, can be devastating for a family. Voted a Top 40 Personal Injury "Super Lawyer" multiple years, Mr. Bryant has also been voted one of the Top 100 Minnesota "Super Lawyers" four times.