Boy Scouts of America File for Bankruptcy due to Sexual Assault Claims
The Boy Scouts of America, an iconic national institution, has filed for bankruptcy in Delaware as a result of growing litigation regarding multiple reports of sexual assault and sexual abuse by Scout leaders, Scoutmasters, and other Boy Scout authority figures.
The bankruptcy filing is the organization’s attempt to quell extensive litigation that is being prepared against the Boy Scout organization. This bankruptcy filing could also potentially create a deadline for former scouts that want to bring a claim against the Boy Scouts of America.
This isn’t the first time the Boy Scouts have come under fire in the past century since their formation. The Boy Scouts reportedly have over 8,000 prior claims of inappropriate behavior, and in addition, there are reportedly hundreds of claims that have gone unreported. In 2010, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld a judgment finding the Boy Scouts liable for $18.5 million in punitive damages based on alleged misconduct. The Oregon Supreme Court released documents in 2012 which shed further light on these widespread allegations.
Filing bankruptcy in these situations may provide a stop gap to the flood of litigation that could ensue over the Boy Scout’s alleged actions. The group filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy under the potential of facing as much as $100 million and $500 million in liability. Seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy may allow the Boy Scouts to take a similar approach as that of the Catholic Diocese and USA Gymnastics, who also faced significant legal exposure. The Boy Scouts may be able to limit their exposure by limiting the amount of time plaintiffs may bring a claim. Typically courts will allow anywhere from 90 days to 9 months to bring a claim against the filing party, however, there is ongoing litigation that could keep the window to file open for up to a year outside of state and federal statutes of limitations. Furthermore, this claim could give the Boy Scouts the potential to pool the settlements into one sum that would be paid out to victims that have brought claims over the past two decades. All of this is subject to court interpretation and oversight.
Victims’ attorneys have filed a complaint in the Federal court of Washington D.C. in attempt to establish this as a venue for those to sue even though the statutes of limitations may have expired.
The Boy Scouts of America has had over 110 million participants since their charter was signed by Woodrow Wilson in 1916. Over the past 100 years, the Scouts have faced hundreds of claims for impropriety and alleged assault of its members
If you or a loved one believes you may have a claim for inappropriate conduct on the part of the Boy Scouts, please feel free to contact our office at 312-357-1431 for a free consultation.