January 28, 2005

Insurers sue archdiocese over abuse records

Whittier Daily News

By Gillian Flaccus, Associated Press

Insurance carriers sued the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles in federal court, alleging it has withheld information that could help insurers assess the validity and worth of more than 500 sexual abuse claims.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court by three members of American International Group Inc., alleges that the church and Cardinal Roger Mahony have tried to force insurers into settlement without providing insurers with key documents. Those include plaintiffs' medical and work records that could help evaluate the claims, the suit says.

"The archbishop's failure to investigate and to initiate formal discovery has resulted in the loss of critical evidence,' according to the lawsuit. "Despite the fact that memories are fading and witnesses are dying, the archbishop has consistently resisted the taking of any depositions or recorded statements in the ... proceedings or otherwise.'

Nearly 700 clergy abuse lawsuits are pending against Roman Catholic dioceses in Southern California.

The Diocese of Orange last month reached a record-setting $100 million settlement with 87 alleged victims. The settlement could not have gone forward without the participation of the diocese's insurers, which will pay about $50 million.

Posted by kshaw at January 28, 2005 03:38 AM