U.S Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris has given the Archdiocese of Portland an extension until Nov. 15 to file a plan to pay the claims of sex-abuse plaintiffs and other creditors.
The archdiocese asked for an extension on the Chapter 11 reorganization plan because it said it needed more time to identify claims, complete the first round of mediation on the claims and estimate the extent of future claims.
The archdiocese also wanted time to resolve disputes with its insurance companies over claims coverage and to determine whether parish property belongs to the archdiocese.
“What’s been holding us up here in this whole case,” archdiocese attorney Thomas Stilley told Perris, “… is we don’t know what the whole amount is.”
The archdiocese’s first deadline for the reorganization plan was Nov. 3, 2004. Perris had granted an extension to June 1 this year. If the archdiocese doesn’t file a plan by the new deadline, other parties in the bankruptcy will be free to offer their own plans.
The primary task of the plan will be to establish a way to pay claims by nearly 250 men and women who filed by the April 29 deadline. The plan also must establish a way to pay for certain sex-abuse claimants who come forward after the April 29 deadline.
During Tuesday’s court hearing, Perris criticized lawyers for the archdiocese and the sex-abuse plaintiffs for the sometimes antagonistic tone of their legal filings.
“I have concerns about the tone of what I’m reading going back and forth between the debtor and the creditors,” she said. “I find myself wondering if these parties can negotiate.”
Perris raised the possibility of appointing an examiner to help develop a reorganization plan.
“We somehow have to move to a conclusion,” she said.
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