Mediation with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the dozens of clergy sex-abuse cases has been successful and is ongoing in San Francisco, California, according to the attorneys representing the plaintiffs and defendants, which include the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America, the Capuchin Franciscans, and the Sisters of Mercy.
Several of them appeared via teleconference during a joint status hearing before District Court of Guam Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood and Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo on Friday.
Attorney Delia Lujan-Wolff, who represents a number of plaintiffs, told the court the parties spent the past several days in mediation. Among the cases she reported that were settled are one against the Sisters of Mercy and 13 against the Capuchin Franciscans. She said plaintiffs await a response to other numerous outstanding offers.
Talks with the Boy Scouts of America were ongoing as of Friday morning.
Lujan-Wolff told the court she is handling about 60 cases during mediation, and that an additional 20 cases are not ready to begin mediation.
Attorney Vince Camacho, who represents the Capuchins, also is participating in the mediation discussion. He told the court all 50 cases with the Berman group have been settled in the District and Superior courts. Attorney Michael Berman represents dozens of sex abuse survivors.
Attorney Pat Civille, who represents the Boy Scouts of America, said in court on Friday that 13 cases with the Berman group have been settled.
The Boy Scouts of America previously settled 44 of the 113 child sex abuse lawsuits filed against the organization on Guam for an undisclosed amount of money. The archdiocese requested to see the amounts of the settlements and agreed to keep them confidential.
Each plaintiff alleged being sexually abused by the late Louis Brouillard during Boy Scout outings and meetings. Brouillard served as a priest and scoutmaster on Guam for more than 40 years.
“I’m glad to hear 9th Circuit mediation is working out for you,” said Tydingco-Gatewood. “They are very professional.”
Another round of mediation is set for November.
Attorney John Terlaje, who represents the Archdiocese of Agana, said 275 sexual abuse claims have been filed against the church. The damages claimed in the lawsuits exceed $1 billion.
The church filed for bankruptcy at the start of this year as a way of maximizing what it will receive from the insurance, according to Archbishop Michael Byrnes.
The church has since liquidated the former Accion Hotel in Yona, which sold last month for $6.1 million.
The first round of mediation to settle the remaining claims against the church begins on Guam next month with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris of Honolulu.
Former Archbishop Anthony Apuron has been named as the alleged abuser in some of the cases.
Lujan-Wolff also told the court on Friday that she spoke with the attorney for Apuron, Jacqueline Terlaje, about the case. She said the hope is to dispose of the case in October.
Another joint status hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 6 in the District Court of Guam.