When faced with child sexual abuse claims, the Boy Scouts, USA Gymnastics, the Catholic Church, and other organizations have deployed Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code as a shield.

Child sexual abuse (CSA) cases in Chapter 11 are an arena that require special attention to the victim-survivor claimant. When victim-survivor claimants are forced through the Bankruptcy system, they are often silenced, re-victimized, and experience emotional hardship.

The purpose of this CLE is to educate attorneys on:

  • The history of Chapter 11 and the rise of mass tort bankruptcy
  • How Chapter 11 became a legal avenue for institutions facing child sex abuse claims
  • Best practices for representing a victim-survivor claimant
  • The impact of trauma and trauma-informed practice in Chapter 11 cases

Speakers include:

  • Bruce Grohsgal, the Helen S. Balick Professor in Business Bankruptcy Law at Delaware Law School. He previously practiced law for more than 30 years, most recently at the Wilmington, Delaware office of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, LLP. He has represented debtors, creditors’ committees, and trustees in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and litigation. Professor Grohsgal is the Editor-in-Chief of the Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, and of the Norton Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law, and is the Director of the Institute of Delaware Corporate and Business Law.

  • Professor Marci Hamilton, Founder and CEO of CHILD USA. She is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitation, she has filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts, and she is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children.

  • Brent Weisenberg, Senior Counsel at Lowenstein Sandler LLP. Since joining Lowenstein, Brent’s practice has focused on assisting survivors of sexual abuse in Diocesan bankruptcy cases. In the Diocese of Camden case, Brent and the Lowenstein team assisted the Official Committee of Tort Claimant Creditors in negotiating a settlement on behalf of more than 300 survivors of childhood sexual abuse, where the Diocese agreed to pay $87.5 million in cash—the largest cash payment by any Catholic diocese in bankruptcy to date—and assign its insurance rights to a trust for the benefit of survivors. This record-breaking settlement concluded a long fight to secure restitution and accountability for survivors who filed lawsuits against the Diocese and its parishes under the landmark New Jersey legislation that radically reformed the state’s civil statute of limitations for survivors of sexual assault.

  • Jeffrey Prol, Vice Chair of the Bankruptcy & Restructuring Department at Lowenstein Sandler LLP. His practice encompasses the representation of unsecured creditors’ committees, debtors, secured creditors, and other parties, including landlords, lessors, guarantors, and equity holders in high-profile cases under all chapters of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Jeffrey’s experience spans several other industries, from entertainment and pharmaceuticals to homebuilding and internet/catalog sales, as well as mass tort-related bankruptcy cases.

  • Colleen Restel, Associate in the Bankruptcy & Restructuring Department at Lowenstein Sandler LLP. Colleen’s practice focuses on representing creditors’ committees, individual creditors, debtors, liquidating trustees, and other interested parties in complex Chapter 11 cases and related adversarial proceedings. Colleen has served as a team member in such Chapter 11 matters as the Creditors’ Committees for GNC, Maines Paper & Food Service, Knotel, the Diocese of Camden, Fred’s, and Murray Metallurgical Coal Holdings. 

  • Tom Krumins, former an Eagle Scout and a fierce advocate for survivors of child sexual abuse. Tom has expertise regarding the problems within institutions that impede survivors’ pursuits of justice.

  • Jennifer Wydra is the former head of the survivor committee reviewing the bankruptcy process of the Camden Archdiocese. Through this role, she witnessed the full scope of how this process affects survivors, as well as how they are treated by the opposing party. Jennifer offers us her experience in a rare opportunity to truly shine a light on survivors' voices and hear directly from them about the front line of this kind of legal case. 

This program is approved by the Boards on Continuing Legal Education in Pennsylvania for 3 hours of total CLE credit. Of these, 1 qualifies as hours of credit for ethics/professionalism, and 2 qualify as hours of credit toward certification in bankruptcy law.

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