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US Supreme Court Halts Boy Scouts Abuse Settlement Appeal

2.46 billion historic settlement pauses due to Alitos intervention.webp


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito intervened on Friday to temporarily halt the Boy Scouts of America’s $2.46 billion settlement of sexual abuse claims.

This decision was prompted by a group of 144 abuse claimants who appealed the settlement, arguing that it unfairly prevents them from pursuing lawsuits against non-bankrupt organizations involved in the abuse, such as churches and local Boy Scouts councils.

Alito’s order, which freezes the settlement, allows the court more time to consider the appeal request made on February 9.

The settlement, reached after decades of litigation, involves over 82,000 men who allege they were sexually abused as children by troop leaders while in the Boy Scouts.

Doug Kennedy, an abuse survivor and co-leader of the official committee representing claimants in the bankruptcy, expressed disappointment at the delay, emphasizing the impact on survivors who have already waited years for resolution.

The trustee overseeing the settlement, retired bankruptcy judge Barbara Houser, confirmed that Alito’s order halts all progress on the settlement, including the distribution of payments to abuse survivors. Despite nearly $8 million already being distributed to over 3,000 individuals, further payments are now suspended pending the court’s decision on the appeal.

The Boy Scouts of America responded to the temporary halt, expressing hope that the Supreme Court would swiftly deny the request for an extended pause. However, lawyers representing the claimants who challenged the settlement welcomed the decision, seeing it as a validation of their legal arguments.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito halts over $2 billion settlement case (Credits: NPR)
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito halts over $2 billion settlement case (Credits: NPR)

This development comes amid broader legal questions regarding bankruptcy courts’ authority to absolve non-bankrupt entities of legal claims, a matter currently under consideration by the Supreme Court in the Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case.

The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy in 2020 amidst increasing legal challenges, ultimately leading to the historic settlement that is now subject to legal scrutiny.

Justice Alito’s intervention underscores the complexity and significance of the legal issues involved, as well as the ongoing efforts to address the long-standing grievances of abuse survivors within the Boy Scouts organization.

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