Abuse Victims Ask SCOTUS To Intervene On Boy Scout Case

Last Friday Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily paused the $2.46 billion the Boy Scouts of America agreed to pay as a settlement for decades of abuse claims, Reuters reported.

A group of 144 abuse victims had requested on February 9 that the Supreme Court block the settlement, arguing that the deal prevented them from pursuing separate lawsuits against the other organizations affiliated with the Boy Scouts, including insurance companies and churches that ran Boy Scout programs.

In response to the request, the Boy Scouts of America on February 15 asked the Court to allow the settlement to proceed, despite the Supreme Court’s review of a related case involving the bankruptcy of Purdue Pharma.

Alito’s order temporarily blocks the settlement to allow the court more time to consider the victims’ February 9 request.

The $2.46 billion settlement involves claims from over 82,000 individuals who alleged that they were abused by Boy Scout troop leaders as children.

Retired bankruptcy judge Barbara Houser, who oversees the settlement trust said Justice Alito’s decision would suspend her work of evaluating the claims and disbursing checks to victims. So far, the trust distributed nearly $8 million from the settlement to over 3,000 victims.

The Boy Scouts of America on Friday expressed hope that the Supreme Court would deny the request to permanently block the settlement, claiming that doing so would “inflict severe harm” both to the victims and “the Scouting movement.”

Gilion Dumas, one of the attorneys representing the victims who challenged the settlement said Justice Alito’s decision showed that the Court took their legal arguments seriously.

The Boy Scouts of America filed for bankruptcy in February 2020 after several states enacted laws that allowed victims of abuse or assault to sue their accusers long after the statute of limitations for criminal charges expired. The Scouts eventually reached a settlement to pay victims between $3,500 and $2.7 million. The settlement was approved by a court in 2022.