Catholic World News

Judge acts to trim legal fees in Minnesota archdiocese bankruptcy case

May 19, 2017

A federal bankruptcy-court judge has criticized the unusually high legal fees that have been incurred in the case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul- Minnesota.

“It bothers me so much that all these attorney fees are being run up,” said Judge Robert Kressel, at a May 18 hearing in the case. He ruled that he would not authorize payment to expert witnesses until further notice, and moved up the schedule for resolution of the case. “I’m tryng to save money and time and get this decided,” he explained.

The Minnesota archdiocese filed for bankruptcy two years ago, citing the heavy awards due to victims of sexual abuse. The case has been contentious, with victims’ lawyers charging that the archdiocese has concealed assets from the court.

Judge Kressel had given creditors the opportunity to choose between two plans for reorganizing the archdiocesan finances: one plan presented by the archdiocese, the other by abuse victims. The creditors voted overwhelmingly for the latter plan. The court will now decide whether to abide by that decision.

At the May 18 hearing, lawyers for the archdiocese were seeking authorization to hire “certain experts” to comment on the competing compensation plans. The Star-Tribune reported that for the first three months of this year, the archdiocesan payments to lawyers and experts averaged over $400,000 a month.

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