The Court has approved procedures for the Diocese to file objections (the “Diocese Claims Objections”) to certain abuse claims, see Order Approving Claim Objection Procedures and Granting Related Relief, Docket No. 1554. Below is a summary of those procedures. This summary is only an overview of the Claims Objection Procedures Order. Parties should not rely on this summary for any purpose and should read the Claims Objection Procedures Order in its entirety for the full terms.
Responses to the Diocese Claims Objection are due 21 days after service of the claims objection (by 4pm ET). To file Responses, you must be registered to ECF file in SDNY Bankruptcy Court. This is a separate registration than District Court. There are typically no issues getting a pro hac application granted in SDNY Bankruptcy Court.
2. Merit or Sufficiency Designation
The Diocese will designate claims as scheduled for a Merits Hearing or Sufficiency Hearing. If the claims objection does not include a designation, it is scheduled for a Sufficiency Hearing. The Diocese Claims Objection will specify the hearing date for the Sufficiency Hearing or the Merits Hearing.
3. Sufficiency Hearing Claims (Motions to Dismiss)
a. Sufficiency Hearing Claims will be subjected to a motion to dismiss standard. At the Sufficiency Hearing, the bankruptcy judge will apply the legal standard equivalent to a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (Bankruptcy Rule 7012(b), apply Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)).
b. For Sufficiency Hearing Claims, no discovery may be propounded before the hearing.
c. As a contested hearing, the rules under Part VII of the Bankruptcy Rules (the 7000 Rules) apply. In large part, these rules apply certain Federal Rules of Civil Procedures to bankruptcy proceedings.
4. Merits Hearing Claims
a. If the Diocese designates a claim as a Merits Hearing Claim or the claim survives the Sufficiency Hearing, the claimant and the Diocese will negotiate a scheduling order that will govern discovery before the Merits Hearing.
b. Again, the rules under Part VII of the Bankruptcy Rules (the 7000 Rules) will apply.
c. To streamline efforts, the Committee counsel will help coordinate discovery related to similar issues or to be taken from similar people/institutions. The Committee will not be responsible for determining the discovery necessary or for serving any specific discovery requests.
The Diocese and the claimant (or counsel) must meet and confer before any hearing (Sufficiency or Merit) to establish confidentiality procedures to govern the hearing. The Diocese Claims Objection filed on the public docket should have all personal identifying information redacted.
6. Page Limit
Claimants have up to forty pages to respond to the Diocese Claims Objection, but the Court will appreciate brevity.
Many objections will be to similarly situated claims. The grounds the Diocese has referenced are: claims released through the IRCP program; claims that occurred at DRVC parishes before DRVC’s formation; claims against certain religious order-run schools, camps, or other institutions; claims against medical facilities; and claims against entities the DRVC alleges are associated with the Diocese of Brooklyn. Committee counsel have been instructed by Judge Glenn to help coordinate response efforts, please contact us at DRVCUCC@pszjlaw.com.