Boy Scouts of America Filed for Bankruptcy
On February 18, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of lawsuits brought by survivors of childhood sexual abuse, including dozens of lawsuits that we filed against the Boy Scouts in California. In 2019 and 2020 we likely filed more lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America than any other lawyer or law firm in the country. This page provides important information about claims against the Boy Scouts, including important information about the bankruptcy and the November 16, 2020, for abuse survivors to file a claim in the bankruptcy.
Choose a Law Firm Who Will Protect *All* of Your Rights: Many people who were abused by a Scout leader, or as a result of the Scouting program, have separate legal claims against three different entities: the national Boy Scouts of America, the “local council” of the Boy Scouts who oversaw their Scouting unit, and the “sponsoring organization” that sponsored or chartered their Scouting unit (usually a church, school, or other youth-serving organization). Although the Boy Scouts (national) knew for decades that men were using their positions as Scout leaders or volunteers to groom and to sexually abuse children, the local councils and sponsoring organizations were most often the ones who received complaints about a specific Scout leader and ignored them, or saw “red flags” about a Scout leader and ignored them. Those entities are just as responsible, if not more responsible, than the national Boy Scouts. Many of them, like the Mormon Church and the Catholic Church, were well aware of the danger of child sexual abuse because of their own problems with their leaders and members abusing children.
The national Boy Scouts of America is the entity that filed for bankruptcy, but the local councils and the sponsoring organizations are currently *not* a part of the Boy Scout bankruptcy. This means many people need to take separate legal action to protect their claims against the local councils and sponsoring organizations who may be responsible for their abuse because those claims may *not* be compensated in the bankruptcy.
If you are looking for an attorney, or already have an attorney, make sure you ask about all of your legal rights, make sure the attorney agrees to protect all of your rights, and make sure the attorney agrees to investigate and pursue any claim you may have for the abuse you suffered. Obviously you must be the one who decides which claim(s) you want to pursue, but you deserve an attorney who will explain all of your legal options so you can make an informed decision.
As with hiring any professional, we recommend you interview multiple law firms, read the “fine print” of their contracts, and confirm in writing that they will protect all of your legal rights and pursue all of your legal claims if that is what you want them to do. If a law firm is only willing to help you in the bankruptcy, or suggests you don’t need to worry about any claim you may have against a local council or sponsoring organization, you may want to consider a different law firm. Please remember that almost any claim you have is governed by a statute of limitations — if a lawyer assumes all of your claims will be covered by the bankruptcy, and the lawyer is wrong, the statute of limitations may expire on your legal claims and you will lose your right to pursue those claims.
We will not comment on the practices of other other law firms other than to note that some firms have been accused of false and misleading advertising in their quest to sign up hundreds or thousands of clients, including failing to adequately inform their own clients of all of their legal rights. While we want all abuse survivors to be aware of the bankruptcy, and aware of the bankruptcy deadline of November 16, 2020, we also want to make sure people are not misled about the bankruptcy, that they understand all of their legal rights, and that they choose which claims they want to pursue. A lawyer should not make that decision for their clients, and a lawyer should make sure their clients understand all of their rights so the client can choose which claims they want to pursue (or not pursue).
Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy — “Bar Date” Dramatically Shortens the CA Statute of Limitations: On May 18, 2020, the bankruptcy judge overseeing the Boy Scouts bankruptcy set November 16, 2020, as the “bar date” deadline for abuse survivors to file claims in the bankruptcy. This deadline is called a “bar date” because anyone who fails to file a claim by the deadline will likely have their claim against the Boy Scouts forever “barred” and they will likely forfeit any claim they have against the Boy Scouts, including any right to compensation from the Boy Scouts. The deadline usually applies to anyone who has a claim, even people who come forward late because they were not aware of the deadline.
This deadline dramatically shortens the statute of limitations for abuse survivors in California. On January 1, 2020, a new law in California gave all child abuse survivors, regardless of their current age, at least three years to file a lawsuit for the abuse they suffered. That three years no longer applies for people who have claims against the national Boy Scouts of America organization. Anyone with a claim against the Boy Scouts of America must file their bankruptcy claim by November 16, 2020.
If you or someone you love may have a claim against the Boy Scouts of America the time to act is now. Please contact us to learn your legal options and to ensure your legal rights are protected. You can also read our answers to frequently asked questions about the bankruptcy by clicking here.
What Does the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy Mean for Abuse Survivors?
If you were abused by a Scout leader please know a “bankruptcy” only means the Boy Scouts are facing so many lawsuits that they need a bankruptcy judge to decide a fair way to divide their substantial assets and insurance among the abuse survivors who file claims. A “bankruptcy” does not mean abuse survivors will receive no compensation if they file a claim. Some reports state the Boy Scouts have more than $1 billion in assets that may be available to compensate abuse survivors, plus their insurance.
In order to quality for compensation you must file a claim with the bankruptcy court by the “bar date” deadline, which the bankruptcy judge set for November 16, 2020. This deadline is significantly shorter than the three years that people otherwise have to file a claim against the Boy Scouts under California’s new law.
You can read the bankruptcy petitions and our answers to frequently asked questions by clicking here.
If you or someone you love was sexually abused by a Scout leader or someone associated with the Scouts please contact us to learn your options and to ensure your rights are protected.
Interviews Regarding the Boy Scouts Bankruptcy: Some of our clients have decided to speak out regarding the Boy Scouts bankruptcy and what it means to them. Our lawyers have also been featured in a number of news stories about the bankruptcy because of our long history of helping Boy Scout abuse survivors and our work in a large number of the Catholic bankruptcies. You can read or watch some of the stories by clicking on the links below:
- “Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy. Hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits are now on hold” (CNN)
- “Boy Scouts seek bankruptcy, urge victims to step forward” (AP)
- “Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid sexual abuse lawsuits” (CBS)
- “Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy after sex abuse lawsuits” (Fox News)
- “Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy amid wave of potential lawsuits” (Washington Post)
- “Why the Boy Scouts Are Bankrupt and What It Means For Families” (Yahoo News)
You can read more stories regarding our clients who have decided to speak publicly, as well as more interviews with our attorneys, by clicking here.
Historic Day!! We have filed some of the first lawsuits against the Boy Scouts under California’s new law for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Under the new law, all survivors of childhood sexual abuse, regardless of their current age, are provided a three year “window” to file a civil lawsuit for the abuse they suffered. This “window” could be significantly shortened if a defendant files for bankruptcy, so please contact us right away for a free, confidential consultation to learn your options under this new law!!
The Associated Press published a story on the new law that features one of our attorneys, Michael T. Pfau, and one of our clients who survived abused in the Boy Scouts (he decided to speak out and be interviewed). You can read the story by clicking here.
We represent dozens of people who survived sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts in California. The attorneys listed on this website have a significant amount of experience helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse, and we currently represent dozens of people who will be filing claims against the Boy Scouts in California under the new law. If you or someone you love was sexually abused by a Scout leader or someone else associated with the Boy Scouts, please contact us to learn about the new law and to ensure your rights are protected. We provide a free, confidential legal consultation.
Read the Boy Scouts’ “Ineligible Volunteer” files for California. Since the early 1900s, the Boy Scouts of America maintained a list of individuals that it deemed to be “ineligible” to volunteer. Many of those individuals were added to the list over allegations of child sexual abuse.
Below are the names of individuals from that list who were associated with the Boy Scouts in California, along with a link to some or all of the file that the Boy Scouts maintained on each individual.
If you or someone you know were abused by a Boy Scout leader or volunteer, even if it was decades ago, please contact us for a free, confidential consultation to learn your options under the new law.