On February 18, 2020, the Boy Scouts of America ("BSA") and its affiliate, Delaware BSA, LLC, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a case titled In re Boy Scouts of America and Delaware BSA, LLC, case no. 20-10343, pending in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. BSA filed for bankruptcy to protect itself against a growing number of sexual abuse claims made against it. This bankruptcy process is intended to allow the BSA to deal with these claims – through the creation of and payment from a victim’s compensation trust fund – and still continue its operations. As is typical in bankruptcy proceedings, the court has established a “Bar Date,” which is the deadline for potential creditors to file claims against the BSA (the debtor). The Bar Date in this case is November 16, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Instructions on how and where to file a proof of claim are set forth below.
It has only recently been clarified that Chartering Organizations have potential standing in the BSA bankruptcy proceedings and should file a Proof of Claim to protect their interests before the Bar Date on November 16, 2020. The Bar Date means just that. If you fail to file a Proof of Claim by November 16, 2020, you will be barred from ever filing one (absent extraordinary circumstances).
This deadline does not only apply to claims of potential victims, but also to any other individual or entity that may have a claim against the BSA, including chartered organizations that have, or potentially could have, claims for indemnification, contribution, or insurance coverage against the BSA. This is a critical piece of information for our denomination, as United Methodist local churches make up the largest collection of chartered organizations in the country. And given that the BSA has provided some level of insurance coverage to chartered organizations for approximately 35 years, the rights/interests of a United Methodist local church that is currently, or was previously, a chartered organization may be impacted by this bankruptcy process, even if it has not yet been threatened with a lawsuit related to its current or former Boy Scout troop.
If your church knows of a specific claim that may be, or already has been, filed against relating to an allegation of sexual abuse associated with the Boy Scouts, we strongly recommend that your church consult with a licensed attorney, if it has not already done so. Otherwise, if your church has ever chartered or otherwise sponsored a Boy Scout troop, Cub Scout Pack, Venturing Crew, Sea Scouts ship, STEM Scouts lab, or an Exploring post in the past, or if it does so now, it should file a “Proof of Claim” with the court by the November 16, 2020 Bar Date to ensure its rights to applicable insurance, indemnification, or contribution are preserved. Again, even if you do not know today of any potential claim against your church, your church should still file a Proof of Claim. If your church does not file a Proof of Claim so that it is received by the Bar Date, and a claim is later filed against your church relating to sexual abuse that occurred before February 18, 2020, the BSA and its insurance companies may refuse to participate in the resolution of the sexual abuse claim. This would leave the local church as the primary and likely sole defendant in the sexual abuse lawsuit.
Filing a Proof of Claim does not guarantee payment should a claim exist or a future claim arise. However, failure to file a Proof of Claim now may bar any recourse against BSA should a claim exist or a future claim arise relating to sexual abuse that occurred before February 18, 2020.
Please Note: the annual conference cannot file Proofs of Claim on behalf of local churches. Instead, your local church must file its own Proof of Claim with the Bankruptcy Court.
There are two ways to file a Proof of Claim ("POC ")– online or U.S. mail. Remember that your Proof of Claim must be received on or before the Bar Date at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
The email address used to create the account will receive an activation request. Click on the link in the activation email within 48 hours in order to finalize the account creation.
Once the account has been created and activated, click here to log in.
After logging in, click on the green “Create New Claim” button. This brings you to the “Claim Editor” section of the site.
After naming your claim at the bottom of the “Start Claim” tab (which can simply be the name of your church), click the blue “Accept and Continue” box. This will take you to next tab.
Use the attached line-by-line instructions to help you fill out the information required in each tab. Before moving to the next tab, be sure to click on the green “Save Changes” box.
After filling out all of the information, click on the “Review Claim” tab and ensure all information has been entered correctly.
Then select the “Sign & File” tab, select “I am the creditor,” and fill in the information for the church representative ho will sign the Proof of Claim.
After ensuring all information is correct, and after filling in the signature information, click on the green “Save Changes” box, then the blue “File Your Claim” box.
Use the attached line-by-line instructions to help you complete the form.
Once the form is completed, print it out and have it signed by the appropriate local church representative.
Mail the completed and signed form to:
Boy Scouts of America Claims Processing
c/o Omni Agent Solutions
5955 De Soto Ave., Suite 100
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
If you need additional information (not including legal advice) about the Bar Date, Proof of Claim form, filing the Proof of Claim form or other information about the Debtors’ bankruptcy cases, please contact the Claims and Noticing Agent:
Once your church has completed and submitted its Proof of Claim, please let the conference know it has done so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with BSA in the Subject Line or call (865)690-4080. When emailing or calling, be sure and include your full church name and city. Also include your name, email and phone number. Having a complete list of churches that have filed Proof of Claims will be important as the bankruptcy proceeding moves forward.