The Increasing Use of Chapter 11 to Resolve Sexual Abuse Scandals
States across the country have enacted so-called “reviver” statutes, allowing otherwise time-barred claims for childhood sexual abuse to proceed. History has shown that bankruptcy filings by targeted institutions are a natural byproduct of reviver statutes and laws tolling the applicable statutes of limitations for sexual abuse claims. Indeed, an increasing number of bankruptcies have been filed in the wake of reviver statutes and new waves of sexual abuse claims. This panel discusses issues that arise at the crossroads of sexual abuse claims and chapter 11, including the tension caused by using a financial reorganization tool to resolve highly emotional personal-injury claims, the stresses that cases of this ilk place on the Bankruptcy Code (including the uniqueness of claims bar dates in cases of this sort, nonprofit debtors and the absolute priority rule, and the propriety of third-party releases), and the use of mediation to globally resolve these cases.