US Supreme Court vacates pause of Boy Scouts of America sexual abuse cases News
Photo credit: Stephanie Sundier
US Supreme Court vacates pause of Boy Scouts of America sexual abuse cases

The US Supreme Court vacated an order by Justice Samuel Alito on Thursday that paused the dispute between the terms of a $2.46 billion settlement between sexual abuse victims and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

BSA declared bankruptcy in 2020 amid thousands of lawsuits for sexual abuse against Scout Leaders. Abused in Scouting, a group dedicated to litigating sexual abuse claims against BSA, brought most of these claims. In April 2023, BSA announced a plan of reorganization trust that resulted from the bankruptcy proceedings that would pay around $2.4 billion to abuse survivors. Provisions of the plan provide that liability is removed for non-debtor affiliates without consent from the affected parties. A federal court upheld the settlement.

On appeal of the reorganization plan, victims contend that the plan is unlawful since it prevents further claims against third parties involved in the abuse that are not in bankruptcy, essentially providing immunity for insurers, local Scout councils and churches that were running scouting programs. The victims requested that the Supreme Court pause the bankruptcy plan while it considers the same issue in Harrington v. Purdue Pharma LP. That case involves the bankruptcy plan of the maker of the opioid OxyContin, which has a similar provision.

Since the Supreme Court denied the stay, the case will now go to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which will hear the appeal on April 9.