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Posts posted by DavidLeeLambert

  1. On 3/10/2021 at 5:43 PM, yknot said:

    OK, well in my Council we can't do that. It's two deep at all times. We send four adults to summer camp. 


    Under that definition, anything a scout is doing is then a scouting activity. A scout attends a town council meeting for Citizenship in the Community would then require two adult leaders to attend with him. Do your units send two leaders to town council meetings with scouts that are working on that merit badge? 

    Last time a troop I was involved with did a physical visit to a city council meeting together, yes, at least two leaders were present.

    One time I took three of my own children (one Scout, one Cub Scout, and one Girl Scout, at the time) to visit a city-council member and interview her. In that case, there was no other registered adult present, but I'm pretty sure there's an exception for a parent doing something with their own children.

    At present my wife is also a registered leader, so we can be the "two adults" together at any meeting or activity. But GSUSA has a stronger rule: the two adults need to be unrelated.

  2. 16 hours ago, skeptic said:

    Are all the abuse claims "sexual", or do they include in theory psychological or physical abuse, other than sexual?

    The claim form says:



    "For the purposes of this Sexual Abuse Survivor Proof of Claim, sexual abuse means, with respect to a child under the age of eighteen (18) at the time of the sexual abuse, sexual conduct or misconduct, sexual abuse or molestation, sexual exploitation, sexual touching, sexualized interaction, sexual comments about a person’s body, or other verbal or non-verbal behaviors that facilitated, contributed to, or led up to abuse, regardless of whether or not such behavior was itself sexual or against the law, and regardless of whether the child thought the behavior was sexual abuse at the time.

    Sexual abuse includes behavior between a child and an adult and between a child and another child, in each instance without regard to whether such activity involved explicit force, whether such activity involved genital or other physical contact, and whether the child associated the abuse with any physical, psychological, or emotional harm. It involves behaviors including penetration or fondling of the child’s body, other body-on-body contact, or non-contact, behaviors such as observing or making images of a child’s naked body, showing or making pornography, or having children behave in sexual behavior as a group.

    If you have a claim arising from sexual abuse and you were at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time the sexual abuse began or if you have a claim arising from other types of abuse, including non-sexual physical abuse, non-sexual emotional abuse, bullying or hazing, you should consult [...]"


    So if an adult "yells at a youth in frustration", I don't think it would count I think it might if that yelling included inappropriate sexual references.

    But the claims have not been vetted at this point, so there could potentially be some that don't actually allege anything that matches the definition on the claim form.

    If you're looking for for scenarios that might match the definition on the claim form but might result in a low-dollar judgement if they actually went before a jury, consider this one:

    • The Scouts are having a sleep-over at someone's home, or are in a hotel room together on the road to a high-adventure trip. While the adults are (or the adult is, pre-YPT) sleeping, one of them unveils an R-rated movie and they watch it together.

    My kids' prior school district was looking for a new superintendent recently, and one of the candidates was turned down because of a couple of alleged incidents like that in his background. One was basically those facts, except that the boys were a sports team and he was their coach.

    • Upvote 1
  3. 36 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

    [quoting @Eagle1993 , who said: "The agreement to extend the injunction also prohibits any local council from selling or transferring any property with the intent to hinder or defraud creditors, or without receiving compensation that equals the property's value.

    The agreement also prohibits local councils from designating [...]"

    Besides the confirmed case of asset transfers in Tennessee, has this been happening elsewhere? [...]

    Other councils have been selling and transferring property over the past decades, maybe not so much over the past year.  The surrounding grumbling has sometimes included nonspecific allegations that the transfer was not in good faith with prior donors and volunteers, or was not arm's-length, or was not the best possible deal for the Council, but I'm not aware of a case where a sale has actually been blocked by a court.

    My council, Michigan Crossroads, has four operating full camps and one operating cub-only camp, down from about a dozen across several pre-merger councils a decade or two ago. They still  own some of the camp properties, with no public news of imminent sale, but also no public or foreseeable plans to reopen any time soon. A couple of the closed camps had already been partially sold off even before closure (one as a housing development, the other for gravel mining), and for at least one of them the Council was at least negotiating with a buyer before National filed for bankruptcy.

    The former council camp closest to my home had been donated by the Kiwanis Club on sufficiently restrictive conditions that, when it closed, it reverted to the donor. Or at least that's what everyone was told at Roundtable. The actual form of the transfer on county tax records is an "ARMS LENGTH" sale to an LLC for $408,000.  The new owners advertise it as a suitable place for church retreats, family reunions and weddings. I've actually been "camping" (well, winter cabin stay) with a scout group on the property since that sale, and the new owners have done a good job of bringing the remaining buildings up to the standard they advertise, but the trails are in disrepair and are switfly disappearing (except where they've caused serious erosion).

    • Thanks 1
  4. 18 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Scenario 1 - Liquidate National: claimants get $0 since the pension programs would, by law, have to be secured/paid out first to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and they already put in a $1.1 BILLION dollar claim. Total to each claimant: $0

    Scenario 2 - $1 Billion in Settlement from BSA + LCs, Non-Time Barred Claimants Only: Here, BSA is forced to sell Summit ($300 million) and half of all remaining assets ($300 million) PLUS somehow gets LCs to kick in $300 million, PLUS $100 million just kind gets found along the way. BUT BSA and the LCs tell all time-barred claimants to go away. That leaves at most, 30,000. Total to each claimant: $33,333

    Scenario 3 - $1 Billion in Settlement from BSA + LCs, ALL Abuse Claimants:  Same as scenario 2, but BSA and the LCs pay out to all 87,000 claimants. Total to each claimant: $11,494

    A few possible variants on the above scenarios:

    Different Claimants get Different Amount per Severity: As in the Arizona Catholic Diocese settlement that @ThenNow posted, claimants may be assigned "points" by the Settlement Adminstrator, or the Plan could up-front divide abuse claimants into finer classes, by the severity of their injury, the nature of their abuser's relationship to Scouting, etc. Just a few examples off the top of my head:

    • Multiple incidents of abuse against the victim versus just one
    • Penetration versus something less invasive
    • Abuser was a Scoutmaster versus an unregistered visitor
    • Victim contracted an STD or has medically documented PTSD
    • Abuser had other victims that the victim personally knew versus no other victims
    • Victim suffered retaliation after attempt to report versus victim's report was taken and the abuser was immediately removed from Scouting and reported to the police and the community

    Or maybe the Plan could specify that payment of actual documented medical and counseling expenses gets priority, before any attorney fees to the claimant.

    Cutoff by severity: It may be that some claims will be disallowed entirely, perhaps even before voting. Compare "the Scoutmaster fondled me" to "the Scoutmaster's stepson's brother-in-law fondled me", or "the SPL showed an X-rated movie at a troop meeting" to "some other Scout's buddy showed an X-rated movie in the locker room at school".

    Chartered Organization contribution: As we've discussed already, some COs are defunct, a lot of COs themselves have very little assets, some might have a defense of governmental immunity, and some have already gone through bankruptcy or paid out some sort of global settlement. But some of them reportedly do have assets at least as big as the BSA or Local Councils, and some of them have entered appearances or claims in the case.

    But even if COs do join the settlement, they might do so only as to their own Scouts.


    So whether the average amount per claimant is $6k or $33k or $2.2 million, there could still be some claimants who only get $1k and others who get $10 million.  But at least the amounts will be based on factors that are fair between claimants, and not on whose lawyer had the fastest car on the way to the courthouse.

    • Upvote 2
  5. On 3/8/2021 at 12:02 AM, fred8033 said:

    It will never happen.  BSA and Catholic church were perfect targets.  Massive targets with deep cash.  BSA even provided tracking records from their attempt to block bad volunteers.   Government agencies, youth and sport, parks and rec are usually city sized.  Just not big enough for a national class action campaign looking back 50 years. 

    For someone who actually looks, the Ineligible Volunteer Files already have cases where look-back liability could just as well be assigned to a local government entity. See for example  https://documents.latimes.com/paul-j-wadaga/ (elementary school teacher for 24 years, molested at least 18 boys, was an ASM for 4 years of that but the Council asked around and didn't find any Scouts among his victims), https://documents.latimes.com/michael-c-spangler/ (assistant fire chief), and https://documents.latimes.com/eric-frank-feichtinger/ (police officer in a Child Sexual Abuse investigation unit).

    I don't think local government liability will be a significant factor in halting the trend to longer or weaker Statutes of Limitation.  Nor will massive liability against the LDS church or against Catholic dioceses. Enough people are distrustful of government, and enough people consider those churches "the other".

    On the other hand, when the Methodist church on Main Street in every small town has to liquidate because it once chartered a Scout unit, some other unit in the Council had multiple cases of abuse, and every other related organization is bankrupt, defunct or has immunity, there may be more general political will to reintroduce or re-strengthen Statutes of Limitation. Unfortunately, if it gets to that point, it may be too late for BSA or the Local Councils.

    • Upvote 2
  6. 18 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    Just saw a document for the TCC fees.  December 1 through Dec 30 ... 1 month.  Total fees, paid out of BSA's funds, $850K.  Nearly $1M a month for the TCC lawyers.  



    I saw that too. It's worth mentioning that Stang's firm has promised to contribute 10% of their revenue from this case to the trust fund for victims.  Still, that's roughly $10.00 per abuse claimant (less $1.00 promised contribution), or $1.00 per registered adult volunteer at the end of 2019, or $0.40 per registered youth at the end of 2019.  Troops that collect monthly dues should tack on a quarter, a dime and a nickel to support him, and his firm is just one of many that are billing BSA.

  7. 40 minutes ago, swilliams said:
    7 hours ago, ThenNow said:

    That is the case here. The link below will take you to the insurers' Rule 2004 Discovery Motion. You can scroll to page 7 on the docket file, page 1 of the motion, and begin reading from there. Of course, this is what the insurers "allege" and the respondent groups deny many elements, especially the negative characterization. Several great news stories were written related to this internal battle, as well. 


    I haven't read through this entire thread.  Has the motion in the link been ruled on?

    No. The attorneys spent the better part of 8 hours at the last omnibus hearing arguing that and another related motion (at $1000/hour for many of them, of course). Two of the experts were introduced and cross-examined. The judge gave no indication of if or when she would rule on them, and i haven't seen any ruling on them yet.

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    • Upvote 3
  8. The Scoutmaster is right that he has the power to approve or disapprove service (for rank advancement, not for merit badges or Eagle), but if you're on the committee or a commissioner you should encourage him to use that power wisely and fairly.

    As a general rule, work on the actual service of another Scout's Eagle Project should count as service hours for any participating Scout. But I wouldn't expect the ceremony to count as service hours for the candidate; by that time, his project should be finished, approved, closed out, turned over. He should be done with it.

    • Upvote 3
  9. On 2/9/2021 at 10:57 AM, Eagle1993 said:

    "redeployed as agreed upon by the chartered organization and local council."

    It looks like the CO cannot just go off on their own and they need to get agreement with the council.   Are any CO's pushing back at simply writing checks to close out their accounts?  I wonder how these conversations go.

    I was the CC of an LDS pack and a CM of the corresponding troop when their charters were allowed to expire.  There was no "unit" bank account to write a check from (expenses were always reimbursed as incurred from the ward budget, except camp, where scouts sometimes raised some money for it the same year). I took a picture of the troop trailer (two flat tires and a flat spare, needed a paint job, contents had also been used for the Young Women program) and sent it to the Scout Executive who sent us the red form, asking if we should do anything with it. He never gave us any instructions about that.

    Then two other COs for units I was related to ended their charters. But in each case the unit leaders had a new CO identified already (the troop merging with anther troop, the pack switching to antother CO). In both cases the old CO allowed the unit to take its "stuff" and bank account, without any complaint that I heard about.

    • Upvote 1
  10. 16 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    The problem is that it appears to me that this lawsuit

    I agree 100% with your judgement that BSA's response was above-average and generally legally correct, by the standards of the time.  But please remember that the bankruptcy proceeding is not "the" lawsuit.  At the end of 2019, the BSA was the defendant in dozens of lawsuits (mostly abuse, a handful of wrongful-death, and the GSUSA trademark suit). The Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding allows the debtor (BSA) to invite everyone who has a claim to come forward and be treated equally.  It's sort of a reverse lawsuit, the debtor comes to the court and says "I know (or at least guess) that I owe all these people money, but I need the court's help to make sure I pay them all fairly."

    • Upvote 3
  11. 2 hours ago, CynicalScouter said:

    But what people see now is "my kid's CO refuses to recharter because they are scared of being sued into oblivion," FORGET that even if the CO removed the Troop in 2021, they are STILL (possibly) liable for abuse in 1975.

    Or if some CO dropped its charter in 1980, it could still be on the hook for abuse that occurred in 1975.

    One bad-case (I can imagine worse) scenario I can imagine goes as follows:

    • BSA (national) goes into Chapter 7, takes all the councils with it. Between pension liabilities, general secured debt, and the rock-bottom prices that most camp property will fetch when hundreds of camps are all offered at liquidation sales at the same time, the amount available to unsecured creditors (including all the abuse claimants) is $100MM or less. That means $1000 or less to each self-filing abuse claimant, and $600 less expenses to each represented abuse claimant.
    • But the bankruptcy assigns some larger nominal value, say $200,000 or $1,000,000, to each abuse claim. And while wrapping up the Chapter 7 case, the entire IVF is made public, along with the list of every CO that was ever registered, and the personnel file of every council, and the identity of every organization that ever rented to or did business with a Council.
    • Now various attorneys go after the COs, and anyone else who ever had any relationship with BSA. Every Catholic diocese, and hundreds of Methodist churches, and the LDS church, and various other churches, and several fraternal organizations, and a lot of local governments that were associated with Explorer posts... each gets named in a class-action lawsuit alleging joint and several liability for $950 billion, or some significant fraction thereof.
    • Now there's a glut of former places of worship up for sale, and scattered municipal bankruptcies.

    But speaking of Statute of Limitations law changes, I note that the Future Claimants' Representative's bill for January [D.I.2257] includes line items such as the following:

    • "Review statute of limitations analysis"
    • "Teleconference with YCST team re: follow-up research on statute of limitations"
    • "Research re: constitutional amendment requirements for reopening statutes of limitations"
    • "Additional legal research and chart updates re: statute of limitations and constitutionality of window legislation in various states"
    • "Research constitutionality of revival windows for claims with expired statutes of limitations in Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine"
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  12. 48 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Right, we are still a year in and, to my knowledge, there are some major questions still pending


    2) The number of victims. As the article noted, at the time of the original bankruptcy filing there was only ~1675 claims ("275 lawsuits and told insurers it was aware of another 1,400 claims"). Obviously with 95,000 claims we are light-years beyond 1675. But that leads to...

    3) The Insurance Companies. How much are they willing to pay? Able to pay?


    First of all, it's only 86,000 claims, because of all the duplicates (although a few late claims with good reason for the delay might still trickle in). I don't think anyone has publicly disclosed whether some of the "duplicate" claims are Omnis's fault, for assigning a new claim number to filings that were meant to be amendments to prior claims, or that were true exact duplicates submitted by the same person as a precaution (say someone did the electronic submission and also sent a hard copy in by certified mail the same day).  But in a filing earlier this week one of the insurers' experts noted one case where one of the claimant lawyers had submitted three claims for the exact same person, two exact copies of each other, the third with an additional page, all on the same day.

    At oral argument yesterday, one of the claimant lawyers attacked the insurers' skepticism of the 95,000 number, by saying that BSA already has "8,000 proven abusers" and that it's generally known that sexual abusers typically have 100-200 victims apiece.  From what I've seen in the public portion of the Ineligible Volunteer Files, I don't buy that. There are a few cases where the file contains a general reference to a dozen-odd potential victims. There was one file I read where the accused Scouter was a Silver Beaver recipient, and the file only identified one victim. It's conceivable in that case that the recorded victim was the case where he "finally got caught", and he'd been successfully scaring his prior victims into silence for many years. But there are other cases where the ineligible adult was placed in the file within months of first applying to be a scout leader, based on conduct that occurred before any affiliation with Scouting, and there is no mention of a victim in the IVF record, and the adult could not have actually had any contact with more than a handful of Scouts before the revocation of his registration.

    Another of the claimant lawyers claimed that they shouldn't have to respond to any discovery requests from the insurers because the insurers "have all this information" and were not sharing it with them. An insurer's lawyer said in his response on that motion that, in fact, they have no information.  All they have is the IVF records that have been made public already, and this pile of 95,000 filings, without any other way to get more information about any of the claims than to attempt discovery.

    Regarding how much the insurance companies are able to pay... if I understand some of the notations in IVFs from the period of 1940-1975 or so, there was a long time when the annual registration fee per Scout or Scouter was $1.00 per year.  It was $7.00 in the late '80s (when Donald Trump recorded his son's Cub Scout dues as a charitable contribution in that exact amount). I'd be surprised if the insurers collected anywhere near even a billion dollars in total premiums from the BSA during the 20th century, and BSA was big enough that it may have been a significant fraction of some of the insurers' premium receipts in some years.  It may be that the insurers themselves are looking at bankruptcy if they have to start paying out a million dollars each on thousands (let alone tens of thousands) of abuse claims.

  13. 4 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    I don't believe AIS represents all abuse claims.  My understanding is that AIS is one member of the TCC, but I could be wrong.

    No, AIS is not a member of the TCC.  The TCC is composed of nine abuse victims who have volunteered for that extra work (literally "volunteered", they aren't paid and don't expect to have their own claims treated any more favorably than anyone else's), and has a fiduciary duty to work for the benefit of all abuse claimants.

    AIS is Koznoff, Van Arsedale and one other lawyer. There's also the "Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice", the "CASJ" or "Coalition" for short.  The CASJ seems to have started as the AIS members plus some other lawyers, but back in September, when one of the insurers first wanted to depose Koznoff and Van Arsedale, they "withdrew" from the Coalition.

    Currently the Coalition has a lawyer (but not one of the lawyers who "make up" the Coalition) who gets to participate in mediation.  But the Coalition "members" are abuse claimants, who apparently got e-mail from their lawyers that said basically "I'm putting you in this Coalition, if you don't like that go find a different lawyer, and by the way if you do that you have to pay me my fees that you owe so far". Not in so many words in the e-mail itself, but that's one reading of the e-mail itself together with notices on the lawyers' websites, retention agreements, and everything else they say their clients agreed to.

    That may be part of the reason for the 10,000 duplicate claims: AIS and the Coalition both purporting to represent the same clients.

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  14. So the news article doesn't mention Scouting by name, but I think the BSA is clearly one of the "other religious and youth-serving organizations" mentioned...

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pa. House leaders plan emergency fix on abuse lawsuits after filing error



    Pennsylvania House leaders support using an emergency declaration to overcome a paperwork blunder by the secretary of state’s office and get a proposed constitutional amendment to voters this May that would allow lawsuits over long-ago sexual abuse.


    Thursday’s legislative move comes three days after it was revealed that the secretary of state’s office failed last year to publish as required the Legislature’s endorsement of the constitutional amendment in 2020. That failure, which cost Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar her job, would have prevented the amendment from going on this year’s ballot. 


    The amendment would create a two-year window for people to file lawsuits over abuse and those they deem responsible for enabling it, regardless of how long ago it occurred. 


  15. The insurance companies dropped a couple more motions on the case docket on Friday.

    The first one, "HARTFORD AND CENTURY’S MOTION FOR AN ORDER (I) AUTHORIZING CERTAIN RULE 2004 DISCOVERY AND (II) GRANTING LEAVE FROM LOCAL RULE 3007-1(f) TO PERMIT THE FILING OF SUBSTANTIVE OMNIBUS OBJECTIONS" [D.I.1972], asks for an order allowing them to serve discovery on 1400 abuse claimants that they have already randomly selected, and then depose up to 100 claimants from that group seeking more information.

    Interesting excerpts from the motion and attachments...


    In response to the filings of proofs of claims, a claimant’s mother e-mailed BSA that her son was not molested, but saw the advertisements and wanted to make money; a claimant’s brother e-mailed BSA that the claimant was never in Boy Scouts, was not molested and made a fraudulent claim (and he suspects others have done the same); a distressed former scoutmaster e-mailed that an accusation against a deceased scoutmaster is false and was made by a claimant to “try and get some quick cash” only
    after he learned that the accused perpetrator is dead and cannot defend himself; an accused perpetrator e-mailed that he was a college student in Georgia at the time he was accused of committing acts of abuse in Kentucky and, in fact, did not move to Kentucky until more than a decade later; and an individual called one of the local councils stating that he had evidence a claimant had made a false claim.


    For example, many claimants represented by the same counsel describe their abuse in identical terms, raising serious questions about coaching, if not outright fabrication, by plaintiffs' counsel and for-profit claims aggregators:

    [a page with examples is redacted]


    a. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of tax fraud.

    b. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of fraudulent submission of an insurance claim.

    c. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted twice for felon forgery.

    d. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of, among other things, felony forgery and burglary.

    e. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of identity theft.

    f. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of, among other things, concealing or misrepresenting identity with intent to mislead.

    g. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of the fraudulent use of credit cards.

    h. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of giving false information to the police and making a false statement to a public servant.

    i. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of, among other things, robbery.

    j. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of armed robbery and residential burglary.

    k. Claimant No. ***** - Information that this claimant was convicted of theft by receiving stolen property, theft by unlawful [sic] taking property, assault and burglary.

    l. Claimant No. ***** - Information that this claimant was convicted of assault.

    m. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon.


    r. Claimant No. ***** - Information indicating that this claimant is listed on a national sex offender registry.

    [Likewise for s. and t.]


    a. [...] approximately 8,500 claims do not identify any affiliation with Scouting.

    b. [...] approximately 6,400 claims do not identify a perpetrator or provide information that would permit identification of a perpetrator.

    c. [...] approximately 8,100 claims do not identify any allegations of physical abuse.

    d. [...] approximately 1,700 claims have been the subject of prior litigation, and approximately 130 indicated receiving some form of payment.

    e. [...] Applying [certain rules], approximately 51,400 claims appear to be time-barred under the applicable Statute of Limitations.

    The second one, "INSURERS’ MOTION FOR AN ORDER AUTHORIZINGRULE 2004 DISCOVERY OF CERTAIN PROOFS OF CLAIM" [D.I.1975], asks permission to conduct discovery against and depose certain law firms and certain claims-processing firms that appear to be connected to large batches of claims.


    To accomplish this objective, a handful of Coalition lawyers signed thousands of proofs of claim (“POCs”) in the days just before the bar date, and a dozen lawyers each signed hundreds of POCs in one day. Astonishingly, members of the entity that holds itself out as Abused in Scouting—a fictitious firm acting as a front for three separate firms, two of which are one-man shops and the other a nine-lawyer outfit—filed almost 19,000 POCs alone.


    Example 1. Coalition attorney Deborah Levy (Managing Partner at Junell Associates) signed 797 of her 811 POCs on November 3, 2020. Yet the “document properties” field for her POCs reveals that the claim documents were created later, several days after she supposedly signed them. Ms. Levy—or someone else, such as claims processor Stratos Legal (“Stratos”), which submitted many of Ms. Levy’s forms—affixed her electronic signature to the claims before the claim forms were even filled out. [...]

    Example 2. Coalition attorney Joseph Cappelli (of Marc J. Bern & Partners) signed 625 of the 635 total POCs he signed on one day—November 14, 2020. That was just before the bar date. Experts’ analysis shows that all or nearly all of these POCs have an identical pre-printed signature page appended to them. Someone scanned each claim form with this signature page | and then submitted them to Omni. Mr. Cappelli almost certainly did not vet—or even read—the claim forms submitted under his name.


    Example 4. Coalition attorney Paul Napoli (of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC) allegedly signed over 500 POCs in the days leading up to the bar date (between November 9 and November 16, 2020). [redacted details] Mr. Napoli did not even bother to sign the forms, instead using the “/s/” symbol. [more redacted details]

    F. A firm that filed thousands of claims announced on its website that it would “complete” forms on behalf of potential claimants who did not opt out.


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  16. 7 hours ago, John-in-KC said:

    The saddest thing, to me, [•••]

    LDS walked away from that, AND I presume walked away from the liability coverage granted to a chartered partner. You guys are a big church body, but you’re going to take some fiscal hits in the next decade. 

    I don't think the LDS church forfeited the standard insurance/indemnification that any other CO would have had by ending it's relationship at the end of 2019. Charter agreements were always per-year.

    That said, the LDS church has been self-insured in other areas, and LDS units in my council were told not to pay the council "insurance fee", relying instead on the church's other activity insurance. But the hundreds of Methodist churches who put in defensive claims did so on the basis of indemnification in the charter agreement, not an insurance contract; I don:t see why the LDS church couldn't make the same argument.

    • Upvote 2
  17. First Class requirement 4a reads,


    4a. Using a map and compass, complete an orienteering course that covers at least one mile and requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.).

    The pre-2016 First Class requirement 2 was worded pretty much the same.

    Until the end of 2020, a modified version of the requirement is allowed due to COVID-19,


    4a. – By drawing, computer software, or other virtual methods, plan an orienteering course that would cover at least one mile. Explain why measuring the height and/or width of designated items (tree, tower, canyon, ditch, etc.) is helpful. Explain how you would complete your course using a real map and compass.

    Both versions talk about "requires measuring the height and/or width of designated items".  I know there are ways to do that; I remember reading through the chapter about that in the Boy Scout Handbook I used in the early '90s, and there are even sections on that in the 1948 Handbook and the 1910 Handbook.

    But if I'm helping design an orienteering course, how can I make it "require" measuring height or width?

    Should the length of one leg, or even all legs, of the course be written in terms of a prominent landmark?  ("Go four water-tower-lengths at 175 degrees. Go two water-tower-lengths at 85 degrees. ...")

    Do the "designated items" need to be things that require such indirect measurement? Or could the Scout measure the width of a dry ditch by walking across it?  But once again, how would the orienteering course "require" it? 

  18. My sons' troop has gone through several phases over the course of the pandemic:

    • Before March, it was on the news but we weren't thinking about it, not too worried about the bankruptcy either.  We were preparing to merge in a troop chartered by a church that was closing, planning to spend a week at council Summer Camp during the summer, planning to work on the Cycling merit badge as soon as the weather got warm and finish it by the end of summer.
    • In the week when our state went into lockdown, things got crazy.  The COR posted to Facebook a terse statement that activities would be suspended indefinitely. Meanwhile the SM texted the adult-leader group-chat that in-person meetings would be suspended, but it wasn't clear that they had coordinated with each other or were in agreement.
    • After about 3 weeks of lockdown, the Council organized a couple of virtual meetings; a week later, the troop started virtual meetings again.  We switched back and forth between Zoom and WebEx.
    • In September, we started in-person meetings (mostly outside) and in-person day activities again, no camping. We did a 5-mile hike at a nearby walking-trail, a tour of a decommissioned U.S. Navy ship in another county, and a geocaching hunt at a nearby nature center.
    • Then in mid-November, in the midst of a second surge in COVID-19 statistics (even worse than spring for new cases per day, but thankfully a little better for deaths and hospitalizations), we halted in-person meetings again.

    I think the key is to change the argument from "we can't meet, and here are all the reasons why we can't" to "we have a goal of meeting, and so we'll address each obstacle appropriately; and even if a meeting falls through, we maintain communication somehow".

    Sure, some Zoom meetings can be lame or disorganized.  Try a different meeting technology. Prepare for the meetings better beforehand: have a clear agenda, have slides ready, distribute hands-on materials beforehand by mail or socially distanced dropoff, use interactive tools like Kahoot! 

    For opening exercises, I put together a slide deck with a flag, the Scout Oath and Law, and the Outdoor Code.  

    For a hike, distribute maps and an exact itinerary electronically beforehand. Use FRS radios to stay in touch (cell phones as backup), and spread out instead of walking in a tight group.

    But if a large contingent of boys wants to be more active and only the SPL and ASPL are just full of excuses, perhaps it's time to encourage the boys to call for an SPL election. (If your troop has a tradition of fixed terms for SPL, maybe look into electing an "active SPL" while the SPL is AWOL.)

    A scout should be Courteous by respecting the reasonable desires of others in his community that he wear a mask and generally practice social distancing. He should be Obedient by strictly following all applicable laws, regulations, and BSA, Council and CO policies. But he should be Thrifty by actually using the program resources that are available to him, and Brave by being willing to try new ways of meeting, even if that's inconvenient or uncomfortable.

    • Upvote 1
  19. On 12/4/2020 at 7:28 PM, GeorgiaMom said:


    Requirement 7A states: "Take part in an emergency service project, either a real one or a practice drill, with a Scouting unit or a community agency."

    I'm an EPrep MBC, and when I first heard "make masks", I thought "that's not a real Emergency Preparedness project!" too, but when you quote the requirement it makes sense.

    The one thing I'd still watch out for would be that whatever the scout takes part in, it should be a "project", something planned and with tasks allocated to participants, something with measures of completion and success, not just an "activity" where people individually do something that may be related to an emergency. 

    That doesn't mean the Scout has to make the plan, or direct its execution. Making the plan would be Personal Management requirement 9, and directing a project (assuming it was otherwise suitable, he directed it alone, had all the approvals lined up, etc.) would be an Eagle Project.  For E Prep 7a, he just needs to "take part", and it has to be an "emergency" project, either responding to a disaster or crisis, or, I would argue, preparing for one.

    Likewise, requirement 7b says that the Scout should "Prepare a written plan". It doesn't say that it needs to be a good plan, or that the Scout has to present it to the troop, or his patrol, or get it approved by his Scoutmaster; just "a written plan".  But if the plan includes a way of establishing communication during an emergency, it might make sense for the troop to practice just that communication portion, as a drill; and that communication could probably be done in a socially distanced or even all-online way.   (Although a resilient communication should probably include contingency plans of radio, phone, and even physical travel as well.)

    In any case, I would encourage a Scout writing a plan (or explaining his troop's existing plan) for 7b to include COVID-safety considerations in the plan; and if the plan covers other disasters but not a new or worsening pandemic, to augment it.

  20. 10 hours ago, ParkMan said:

    Youth sports leagues, youth groups, 4H, FFA, smaller Scouting groups, etc. should be prepared to all organize BSA quality YPT programs and maintain hundreds of millions in liability insurance.  How a local town rec league will do that I do not know.  As far as I can tell no other youth organization has a YPT program as strong as the BSA today.

    Well, GSUSA and 4-H don't have exactly the same Youth Protection program, but from what I can see it's similar in each case.  See the "Clover Safe Notes", in particular #99 "Youth Protection Safe Environments".

    And youth programs run directly by a public school or municipality might have a defense of governmental immunity, or more sympathy from a jury, as compared to a private program organized by like-minded potential volunteers.

    But I'll agree that smaller organizations are at grave risk.  Consider the case of the Boston Children's Therater (Boston Globe article; WBUR article).  Public disclosure of allegations made via anonymous e-mail (not even a lawsuit) against the artistic director caused an immediate decline in donations; which caused it to cancel the season and declare bankruptcy; and it seems to no longer exist as an organization.

  21. On 10/16/2020 at 6:12 PM, RememberSchiff said:

    Interesting ...BSA representation followed to our lawyers new firm?

    For the Boy Scouts: Jessica Boelter, Thomas Labuda, Michael Andolina, Matthew Linder and Blair Warner of Sidley Austin and Derek Abbott, Andrew Remming, Eric Moats and Paige Topper of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell  from Reuters

    The Boy Scouts of America is represented by Derek C. Abbott, Andrew R. Remming, Eric W. Moats and Paige N. Topper of Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP, and Jessica C. K. Boelter, Michael C. Andolina and Matthew E. Linder of White & Case LLP.   from Law360 (October 14, 2020, 9:43 PM EDT)

    Yes, Friday's docket report contains new motions to appear for Jessica Boelter [D.I.1533], Mike Andolina [D.I.1535], and Matt Linder [D.I.1535] with the new firm, and orders granting their admission [D.I.'s 1536–1538].

    • Thanks 1
  22. So we've seen reports that the "Coalition" has names of over 28,000 alleged victims that it purports to represent.  But a court filing [D.I.1505] on behalf of the TCC a week ago shows that the actual number of submitted abuse claims so far is still below 6,000:


    10. I and others working at my direction have reviewed the Claims Report. As of October 9, 2020, the Claims Report reflects that 5,487 Sexual Abuse Survivor Proofs of Claim were filed and assigned a claim number, and that:

    • approximately 1,580 (or approximately 28%) contain no information regarding the Local Council associated with the claim;
    • approximately 2,271 (or approximately 41%) contain no information regarding the chartered organization associated with the claim;
    • approximately 188 (or approximately 3.5%) reflect that the alleged sexual abuse occurred in the year 2000 or thereafter; [...]

    The Local Council omissions I can believe.  I don't even remember my Unit Number from when I was a Boy Scout (thought I did, but then my dad handed a uniform down to me and it had a different number on it), and I remember hearing my leaders talk about how we were in a certain council because that's where the other nearby same-CO units were registered, but actually no one in the unit lived inside that council's boundaries.  Whichever one it was, both councils (along with several others) were subsequently merged into an almost-statewide council that doesn't retain either one's name.

    The lack of information about chartered organizations is harder to square with the assumption that the claims are 100% sincere, complete and well-founded.

  23. On 9/30/2020 at 1:29 PM, CynicalScouter said:

    Just because they are asking for CO and roster lists going back to time immemorial does not mean they'll get them.

    The fact that they are asking, however, certainly seems to indicate that any hope for wrapping this up by Spring 2021 is fading.

    EDIT: Only reason you want the CO lists at this point is that now that the financial statements from Councils have been filed and that the High Adventure properties are being appraised or have been appraised, it is starting to sink in that even with total liquidation there won't be anywhere need the $1.5 billion number that was tossed around. And with tens of thousands of claims being filed, that means no one gets much of anything.

    So off to find more assets they go. And that means COs

    Well, there is one (former) CO that allegedly had $100 billion in a rainy-day fund consisting of liquid investments at the end of 2019. But  the next man in line to be Prophet is a former State Supreme Court Judge, and that church owns a law school. If I were an abuse-claimant lawyer I'd be worried that the LDS church would use its assets as a litigation warchest and fight for many years without ever giving out a penny.  From my random perusal of the Ineligible Volunteer Files that were made public, I don't see a lot of cases with obvious LDS involvement; and I wouldn't be surprised if there are microfilmed records in a vault in Utah of the registration information of all LDS units and all LDS volunteers in any unit or other position, which might actually disprove any LDS connection to a lot of the claims.

    Then there are Catholic-chartered units. Indeed, patterns of abuse by Catholic priests were a major factor in the state-law changes that led to this bankruptcy. But over a dozen dioceses have already filed for bankruptcy, and several have already emerged from bankruptcy or executed a purported global settlement; while there are a lot more that haven't (yet), it may be that the ones that already have are either the biggest ones, or the ones with the most actual liability, or both.  The ones that remain are more likely to have very few assets, or to have actually run a tight ship and be able to prove that they were not complicit in any pattern of abuse by BSA volunteers, covered up by other BSA volunteers and employees.

    That leaves thousands of other COs, past and present, generally smaller.  A lot of those are single-congregation churches, perhaps with a historic building in a desirable location, perhaps with an antique organ or some first-class sound equipment, or perhaps not.  My sons' troop meets at a church that's bordered by commercial property on a major street to the west, a fire station to the south, residential to the east, and a small park (just a soccer field) to he north. Maybe it could be forced into liquidation and sell the building for $500,000; or maybe it has insurance that would cover historic abuse claims. The lowest-numbered troop in my area meets at a nondenominational church right across the street from a college campus, in a hundred-year-old or more building.  There's a $100 million new high-rise building only a block away, so maybe the church's land would be worth $1 million at fire-sale. But that church also hosts Girl Scout troops, and runs a day-care, and hosts performances by the area's stringed-instrument club, and probably helps the community in other ways as well.

    Other units were chartered by organizations that may have ceased to exist. With an LDS ward or Catholic parish, it should be possible to find a successor that covers the same geographical area where the victim lived, and in any case the parent organization remains liable, but for "Pastor Ryan's Whole Faith Bible Church" that chartered a Troop and Pack from 1972 to 1982, the Pastor may be dead, the building may have changed hands twice after he retired and now be a brewpub or marijuana dispensary, and the five congregants from that period who are still alive may be attending five different churches.

    And some units are chartered by the parent-teacher organizations of schools; the current CO for my younger children's Pack is the Parent Council of their public elementary school.  The way I understand it, the Parent Council is a legally separate organization from the school. Its main annual fundraiser has a goal of $8000. At the hourly rates of many of the lawyers and even other professionals in the case, that gets eaten up by a single hour of a hearing, or maybe a half-day of deposition.

    So suppose Mr. Kosnoff finds ten men who each say they showed up to a pack meeting between 1975 and 1985 and were abused at the first meeting and the Cubmaster must have not turned in their registration because he was covering up their abuse.  Suppose further that he gets a judgement against the Parent Council for the $16000 it still has in the bank. They each get $960, he pays $4230 plus interest to the company that generated his Facebook leads, he gets about $2000 left over for gas-money for his yacht.

    But if the Parent Council is legally part of the school, that gets into a defense of governmental immunity, and angry teacher's unions whose pensions are at danger, and angry taxpayers...the more vaguely-related parties the claimants try to pull in, the more risk that they might have their claims closely scrutinized, or cause the trend of statute-of-limitations extensions to be reconsidered, and also gives the debtors and primary insurers additional defenses that they were not primarily liable.

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