Law firms representing clients in sex abuse lawsuits against the Rochester Catholic Diocese are urging survivors to file their claim before August 13, a deadline handed down by the bankruptcy court presiding over the Diocese’s bankruptcy filing.
Last fall, the Rochester Diocese was the first in New York to seek bankruptcy protection due to numerous lawsuits filed against the diocese under the Child Victims Act. James Marsh, founder of the New York City-based Marsh Law Firm, says the bankruptcy court has issued an August 13 deadline, called a bar date, for survivors to file their claims. After that date, no further claims can be filed.
"It is a time after which no further claims can be presented to the court for consideration," he said. "And, it gives finality to the process and allows the Diocese to reorganize and continue operating into the future.
State lawmakers are proposing to extend the Child Victims Act by one more year. Marsh, whose firm has represented dozens of abuse survivors in the area, says an extension wouldn't matter, because of the August 13 bar date.
"The state law and the State of New York does not really impact what's happening in the federal court with this bankruptcy," he said. "So even if the Child Victims Act gets extended for a year, this bar date is an absolute bar, as they call it, to any further claims."
Here's the bankruptcy court order, including claim forms: