Oregon Archdiocese Files Complaint Against Insurers

September 17, 2004

The Archdiocese of Portland is petitioning for a jury trial to force its insurance companies to reimburse part of the $53 million it has paid out in clergy sex-abuse settlements.

The complaint was filed this week in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, where the archdiocese sought protection from creditors in July. Nine insurers are named, plus a number of so-far unidentified insurers that sold the archdiocese policies between 1941 and 2000.

The archdiocese is also asking the bankruptcy court to find that the insurance companies are obligated to cover future claims, as well as help pay for legal defense against the sex-abuse lawsuits.

The complaint did not say why the insurers withheld payments.

Another insurance lawsuit, filed in 2002 against the archdiocese by a different set of insurance companies, contends their insurance policies covered only acts that were unexpected or unintentional. The plaintiffs in that case say the archdiocese knew about certain priests’ sexual propensities, thus making the alleged abusive acts neither unexpected nor unintentional.

Attorneys for insurers named in this week’s lawsuit were not immediately reachable for comment.

Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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