Scouts scramble to limit damage after ‘incendiary’ email to survivors

Scouts scramble to limit damage after ‘incendiary’ email to survivors

The Cushman Watt Scout Center, home of the Boy Scouts of America for the Los Angeles Area Council, is pictured in Los Angeles, California on October 18, 2012. REUTERS / Fred Prouser

  • Email to thousands contains fake settlement information, lawyers say
  • Boy Scouts fear bankruptcy plan votes tainted

(Reuters) – Lawyers for the Boy Scouts of America are working to mitigate the potential damage they say was caused by an “inflammatory” email sent to thousands of men who say they were sexually assaulted by troop leaders before a key deadline in youth organization Connecticut bankruptcy.

US bankruptcy judge Laurie Selber Silverstein in Delaware said in a virtual hearing on Friday that she believed the email distributed by lawyers on the official committee representing Connecticut bankruptcy survivors may constitute “an ethics violation professional”.

The email, written by plaintiffs attorney Tim Kosnoff, urged survivors to vote against the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reorganization plan, which is based on a proposed settlement of more than 80,000 complaints for sexual abuse. He also understood what BSA describe like attacks on other lawyers in the case and misrepresentation about the plan.

Lawyers for BSA said the email could have “disastrous effects” by confusing survivors and altering their votes on the plan, which is expected on December 14. The organization needs the votes to settle claims and get out of bankruptcy.

They told Silverstein they were working to remedy the situation by following up with survivors who received the email.

BSA, which filed for bankruptcy in February 2020 to resolve the sexual abuse lawsuits, has proposed a deal to compensate survivors, with $ 1.887 billion in funding currently available.

The November 6 email was sent to over 12,000 of Kosnoff’s own clients and to approximately 7,500 other survivors who are not his clients. Committee lawyers said on Friday that the group did not necessarily endorse all of the email’s statements, even though it also opposed the plan and sent the message from its own account.

Silverstein on Friday was skeptical.

“It’s kind of like people saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t see the whole tweet to see what it said, I just retweeted it,'” she said.

Committee lawyers say that while they intended to send the email to Kosnoff’s clients, they had no intention of sending it to others. Lawyers for the Boy Scouts called the email an “intentional and illegal effort to solicit votes to reject” the plan.

Committee lawyer Debra Grassgreen of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones agreed on Friday that the email was “inflammatory” but not libelous.

The case is In re Boy Scouts of America, United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 20-10343.

For the Boy Scouts: Jessica Lauria, Michael Andolina, Matthew Linder and Laura Baccash of White & Case; and Derek Abbott and Andrew Remming of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell

For the Crime Committee: James Stang, Debra Grassgreen, Iain Nasatir, John Morris, James O’Neill and John Lucas of Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones

Read more:

Boy Scouts agree to survey survivors of sexual abuse on bankruptcy plan

Boy Scout abuse deals still too low, victim groups say

Maria Chutchian reports on bankruptcies and corporate restructurings. She can be reached at [email protected]

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