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Alito pauses Boy Scouts $2.46 billion abuse settlement

  • February 17, 2024

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily halted the Boy Scouts of America’s $2.46 billion settlement Friday following decades of sexual abuse claims after a group of claimants appealed. 

Alito issued the stay “pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court.” The stay gives the court additional time to decide a February 9 request by the 144 abuse claimants seeking to block the settlement from moving forward. 

The claimants are a small group of the 82,000 who filed claims for payment in the Boy Scouts of America’s bankruptcy. They previously asked the Court to halt the organization’s bankruptcy settlement, arguing that the settlement unlawfully prevents them from pursuing lawsuits against other organizations that are not bankrupt, including churches that ran scouting programs and local Boy Scout councils. 

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Retired bankruptcy judge Barbara Houser, the trustee in charge of administering the Boy Scouts settlement, said the order will suspend all work on the settlement, including “evaluating claims and mailing checks to abuse survivors,” according to Reuters. More than 3,000 men have already been paid nearly $8 million by the settlement trust. 

Boy Scout statue outside of the Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Texas

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito temporarily halted the Boy Scouts of America’s $2.46 billion settlement following decades of sexual abuse claims after a group of claimants appealed.  (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“This is an administrative stay only and is not a decision on the merits of the plaintiffs’ application for a stay of the plan,” the Boy Scouts of America told Fox News Digital in a statement. 

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“As BSA’s brief in opposition to the stay application explained to the Court, the BSA plan has already been effective for ten months and will fully compensate all Scouting-abuse survivors. Staying that plan now would inflict severe harm on both the Scouting movement and Scouting-abuse survivors, many of whom have already waited decades for compensation and emotional closure,” the organization said. “We look forward to the Court’s ruling soon on the stay application. We hope the Court will swiftly deny the application and permit the BSA plan’s settlement trustee to resume her work compensating survivors.”

supreme court exterior

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued the stay “pending further order of the undersigned or of the Court.” The stay gives the court additional time to decide a February 9 request by the 144 abuse claimants seeking to block the settlement from moving forward.  (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

“Our sex abuse claimants are excited that the Supreme Court issued this stay, even if it is only temporary,” Gillion Dumas, one of the lawyers representing 67 of the claimants, said, per Reuters. 

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Fox News Digital has reached out to Dumas and counsel for the claimants and Boy Scouts of America for additional comment. 

The bankruptcy deal was upheld by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court of Delaware last March. The plan would allow the Texas-based organization to continue operating while it compensated the sexual abuse claimants. 

Close up shot of a Boy Scout's badges

A Boy Scout uniform hangs in a store at the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America on July 27, 2015 in San Rafael, California. The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy in 2020 following the passing of several laws allowing accusers the opportunity to sue over abuse allegations that were decades old. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The ruling rejected arguments claiming the bankruptcy plan was not proposed in good faith and that it improperly strips insurers and survivors of their rights. 

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The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy in 2020 following the passing of several laws allowing accusers the opportunity to sue over abuse allegations that were decades old. The organization later reached a settlement that was approved in court in 2022. The settlement would pay between $3,500 and $2.7 million to abuse victims.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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