Milwaukee Catholic Church Files for Bankruptcy under Chapter 11

04 Jan Milwaukee Catholic Church Files for Bankruptcy under Chapter 11

Even a rich and ancient institution like the Roman Catholic Church needs bankruptcy. On January 4, 2011 the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for protection in bankruptcy under chapter 11. Other Archdioceses around the United States have previously been forced to file for chapter 11 relief, including those in Portland, Oregon; Wilmington, Delaware; Tucson, Arizona; Spokane, Wash.; Fairbanks, Alaska; San Diego, Calif; and Davenport, Iowa. It may not be the last.

Since this is a forum about bankruptcy law, we won’t discuss the religious or social implications of this epidemic of church related bankruptcy cases. Instead, we are going to focus on those among our readers who might have claims in this sort of matter.

Bankruptcy is designed mostly to deal with claims which can be quantified in dollars and cents. Those who have been injured by church related abuse have claims which may, in monetary terms, be astronomical, but which, in reality, are beyond price. Not only that, but the bankruptcy court’s process for liquidating, or figuring out the exact monetary value of claims, can be challenging even to business people. For an individual who claims to have been injured by the action of a church representative or leader, bankruptcy is daunting to say the least.

You will want an attorney to represent you in the bankruptcy court who not only understands you and your situation, but who will also deal with you in a caring and professional fashion. Be sure that your lawyer understands the sensitivity of your claim. Be sure that your lawyer demands the sealing of all records related to your matter so as to protect both your privacy and dignity.

You may wish to demand the United States Trustee to appoint a creditors committee to represent people in similar situation to yours. A creditors committee can appoint attorneys and professionals who will have to be paid by the Roman Catholic Church. Be sure that you are represented effectively in a Roman Catholic Church related chapter 11 case. You can be sure that the Church will be represented by the best attorneys that money can buy.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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