Twice since the Archdiocese of Milwaukee filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in January 2011, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the committee) have agreed to mediation.
Previous attempts – once in summer 2012, the other in September 2014 – failed.
In fall 2010, the archdiocese attempted to reach a mediated settlement of $4.6 million with 24 victim/survivors, but the group’s attorneys rejected it in December 2010. The archdiocese filed for reorganization the following month.
Lawyers received another opportunity at mediation Thursday, May 14, when Judge Lynn S. Adelman of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin offered to facilitate mediation.
Adelman said that during a meeting with Chief Judge Susan V. Kelley of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin who has been hearing the Chapter 11 case, he asked her if she thought the sides might consider mediation again.
“Judge Kelley said it never hurts to ask,” he told attorneys for the archdiocese, the creditors’ committee and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Catholic Cemetery Perpetual Care Trust.
Citing an undisclosed “development” that occurred that morning, James Stang, an attorney with Los Angeles-based Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl and Jones, representing the creditors, said, “The committee is interested in continuing mediation. … things changed a lot; we are interested in trying again,” he said, asking the judge, “Can you mediate, given the fact that you’d not be acting in a trial capacity?”
Adelman replied that besides himself, there were three retired magistrate judges who handle the mediation.
Frank LoCoco, an attorney with Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek representing the archdiocese, noting that Stang’s statement represented a “180-degree” change, said his client “has been interested in getting this resolved for many, many months,” but continued, “We’re not convinced at this point that further mediation would be fruitful.”
“We have had discussions about mediation,” Stang replied. “The committee wants to settle this case.”
The sides agreed to return to Adelman’s court Tuesday, June 16, for a status conference regarding the possibility for mediation.