There are 271 sexual abuse lawsuits filed to date against the Catholic church and while a number of the cases have reached settlements, efforts to settle the remaining cases through mediation, and not litigation, continue.
Atty. John Terlaje, who represents the Archdiocese of Agana, said there is always hope for settlement in all the cases.
“Obviously, you heard from all the other parties. The Archdiocese of Agana in the bankruptcy is open to mediation with any party that is willing to meet with the creditors’ committee. It’s always better than going through a long and difficult litigation and expensive litigation as well,” he said.
During a joint status hearing at the District Court of Guam Friday morning, several developments transpired in the cases pertaining to the mediation talks and the bankruptcy.
While a stay has been extended up to April 6 for mediation, the bankruptcy case will still move forward with hearing a motion filed by the Lujan firm yesterday which represents a majority of the cases against the church and clergy.
According to Delia Lujan-Wolff, the motion from relief of stay, if granted, would allow sex abuse survivors in the cases to sue the Archdiocese of Agana insurers and compel them to pay claims related to the lawsuits.
The insurers identified in court documents are AIG National Union, CNA and ACE Group. Each was ordered by Gatewood in August to participate in mediation talks held in October.
But it appears that the Chief Judge’s order went unheard as attorney David Lujan in the motion stated, “The recent mediation session was materially undermined by certain insurers’ refusal to even show up for the mediation at all.”
Judge Gatewood indicated that she would be reviewing the motion and oppositions in a few weeks and would hear the motion on Dec. 27.
Meanwhile, the presiding judges have ordered all parties to submit a report indicating what cases have been settled through mediation, which cases have potential to be settled, and what cases remain unresolved.