- Associated Press - Friday, August 14, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A judge is considering requests to let three civil cases move forward against the Diocese of Gallup, which has been in bankruptcy proceedings since 2013.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1WoBzta ) court records show the Diocese of Gallup has “virtually non-existent” assets and was either uninsured or underinsured when many of the 57 claims of clergy sex abuse were made.

Los Angeles attorney James Stang says allowing the three trials to go forward would set valuations for the abuse cases to ensure the claimants are offered reasonable payments.

But diocese attorneys are urging U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David T. Thuma to stop the cases, saying that Stang is seeking the trials as a way of “gaining tactical advantage” should mediation talks resume.

Mediation between the two parties broke down in June, and attorneys for the diocese say Stang is trying to gain an advantage if talks resume.

There are 25 sexual abuse claims from 1965 to 1977 that are now covered by New Mexico Property and Casualty Guaranty Association after Home Insurance Co., which previously covered the diocese, became insolvent and went into liquidation proceedings in 2003. New Mexico Property and Casualty Guaranty Association was created by New Mexico state law in 1978 to cover insurance policies issued by defunct companies.

But state law caps claims against Guaranty Association at $100,000 each, according to John Franchini, the state’s insurance superintendent.

The diocese has already accumulated over $2.6 million in legal and professional costs in its bankruptcy case.


Information from: Albuquerque Journal, https://www.abqjournal.com

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