Deadline for Filing Boy Scout Abuse Lawsuits Is Nov. 16, 2020September 7, 2020
Agreement in Federal Bankruptcy Case Bars Claims Against the Boy Scouts of America After Nov. 16th
Survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of anyone involved with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have limited time to file a claim against the national organization. This includes survivors who allege abuse against Scout leaders, assistant leaders, adult volunteers, camp employees, and/or other child Scouts. The claim deadline is Nov. 16, 2020, at 5 p.m. EST.
Given the limited time to pursue these cases, here’s what survivors need to know when it comes to their rights, claim deadlines, and their options for proceeding.
How Do I File a Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claim?
BSA claims can start by completing a Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim form (available here) and submitting it online or by mail to the following address:
BSA Claims Processing
c/o Omni Agent Solutions
5955 De Soto Ave., Suite 100
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
For approved claims, compensation will be paid from a trust, the Victim Compensation Trust, which is being created through the BSA bankruptcy case. Here, it’s essential to point out that:
- This may not be the only option for seeking compensation for a Boy Scout sexual abuse claim.
- Survivors who do file claims can expect that their names and personal information will remain confidential, only being shared with select parties handling the bankruptcy estate and Boy Scout sexual abuse claims.
- Accepting compensation though this process could prevent you from pursuing a future BSA abuse claim.
- It’s crucial to speak with a lawyer before taking any action regarding a claim so that you are fully aware of your rights and options—and so you can make informed choices that serve your needs and interests moving forward.
What If the Alleged Abuse Happened a Decades Ago?
Survivors are encouraged to submit claims before Nov. 16th no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. Here’s why:
- Several states have created longer “look-back” windows for sexual abuse claims that were previously barred (due to expired statutes of limitation).
- Survivors in these states may still have valid claims even if the alleged abuse happened several years ago.
Can I File a Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claim After Nov. 16, 2020?
The November deadline was established last May as part of the BSA’s federal bankruptcy case. Here is the official notice from the bankruptcy court regarding the claim deadline.
Boy Scout sexual abuse claims filed after the deadline will generally be barred, unless:
- They are filed in certain states: New Jersey, New York, California, Arizona, North Carolina, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. all have “look-back” windows for sexual abuse claims that extend past the Nov. 16th deadline. Survivors in these states may have well into 2021 to file claims.
- They are filed against a local council: At this time, the November deadline specifically applies to claims filed against the national organization, not local councils. However, the instructions for the BSA claim form notes that “If a plan to reorganize BSA is approved, it could release claims you hold against certain third parties, including against BSA Local Councils and organizations that sponsored your troop or pack.”
What Type of Compensation Is Available for Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claims?
The recoveries for these claims depend on several factors, including (but not limited to):
- How the trust fund is set up: As a central part of the BSA’s bankruptcy case, the fund for these claims is still being set up by the court. One of the major points of contention has been whether the assets held by local councils (more than 260 across the U.S.) would be included in the trust designated for abuse survivors.
- The BSA’s assets: The exact value of the assets held by the BSA is still being assessed. Additionally, some portion of these assets will need to be allocated for the repayment of the BSA’s other debts. Nevertheless, the BSA does have extensive assets, including multi-million-dollar real estate holdings.
- Individual claims: Generally, higher awards are reserved for claims associated with more egregious cases of abuse, long-term abuse, and/or abuse committed at the hands of someone who held a “position of trust.” Consequently, the nature of the abuse associated with a claim is considered when determining compensation awards.
Here, it’s also important to note that, when it comes to compensation determinations for Boy Scout sexual abuse claims:
- Cases that have yet to be litigated will be transferred to the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware to determine if they qualify for compensation.
- The BSA expects a significant portion of valid claims to be covered by its insurance.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with a Boy Scout Sexual Abuse Claim?
Yes, if you are serious about protecting your rights and the strength of your claim, you need a Boy Scout abuse attorney. The reality is that legitimate claims can be denied or undervalued when mistakes are made and/or when survivors don’t know their rights.
With a lawyer on your side, you can be confident that you have a true ally in your corner, fighting to help you secure the justice and financial recovery you deserve. Although compensation from these claims can never erase what happened to you in the past, these recoveries can help you gain some sense of justice so you can focus on healing.