Judge acts to trim legal fees in Minnesota archdiocese bankruptcy case

Judge acts to trim legal fees in Minnesota archdiocese bankruptcy case

[Lawyers and other “specialists” (such as paralegals, accountants, private investigators, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists) on both sides make much money in such cases, including some where the lawyers get more of the settlement than the victims because of continuous litigation on both sides and 50% contingency fees from the payment to the victim(s). Some lawyers specialize in such cases (such as Jeff Anderson in Minneapolis and Mitchell Garabedian in Boston), accepting or seeking any case regardless of merit on a 1/3 to 1/2 contingency fee basis. Some of them are “ambulance chasers” in such matters or see “gold in them thar hills.” Many cases (including dubious and false ones) are not contested by Church authorities, because the costs of investigation and litigation would be more than the settlement. Because of such litigation and related services as well as contingency fees, it is estimated that 1/3 of the total settlements to date (about $1 billion of the estimated $3 billion) went to lawyers and others “specialists” involved.]

Catholic World News – May 19, 2017

A federal bankruptcy-court judge has criticized the unusually high legal fees that have been incurred in the case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minnesota.

“It bothers me so much that all these attorney fees are being run up,” said Judge Robert Kressel, at a May 18 hearing in the case. He ruled that he would not authorize payment to expert witnesses until further notice, and moved up the schedule for resolution of the case. “I’m tryng to save money and time and get this decided,” he explained.

The Minnesota archdiocese filed for bankruptcy two years ago, citing the heavy awards due to victims of sexual abuse. The case has been contentious, with victims’ lawyers charging that the archdiocese has concealed assets from the court.

Judge Kressel had given creditors the opportunity to choose between two plans for reorganizing the archdiocesan finances: one plan presented by the archdiocese, the other by abuse victims. The creditors voted overwhelmingly for the latter plan. The court will now decide whether to abide by that decision.

At the May 18 hearing, lawyers for the archdiocese were seeking authorization to hire “certain experts” to comment on the competing compensation plans. The Star-Tribune reported that for the first three months of this year, the archdiocesan payments to lawyers and experts averaged over $400,000 a month.

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One comment on “Judge acts to trim legal fees in Minnesota archdiocese bankruptcy case

  1. A famous person once said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

    …who also said: “If you’ve got a law firm, you didn’t build that. If you’ve been successful prosecuting rapists, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by lawyers who think, well, it must be because I caught a rapist. There are a lot of rapists out there. It must be because I’m more arrogant than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of arrogant people out there.”

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