Bates White experts’ testimony on behalf of BSA cited in court’s approval of reorganization plan
White & Case retained Bates White to provide support as the abuse claims consultant and to provide mediation/settlement support for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to analyze and evaluate the potential total liability the claims represent. The case was highly contested and received extensive coverage in the press.
BSA is the largest youth organization in the United States, with more than 130 million Americans having participated in BSA-related programs at some point in their lives. BSA faced a growing number of sexual abuse claims, as a result of many states extending their statutes of limitations regarding abuse cases. BSA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2020, determining that this was the best way to ensure equitable compensation for all victims and to ensure that it could continue to carry out its mission.
Bates White provided support evaluating the severity of the claims and estimating the potential total liability these abuse claims represent in the bankruptcy context. The organization received more than 96,000 proof-of-claim forms alleging sexual abuse. To help facilitate the mediation process, parties—including BSA Local Councils, insurers, and multiple claimants committees—agreed to have Bates White take the lead in processing a common standardized version of the data as a foundation for negotiations.
Makeda Murray and Charles Bates provided testimony. Ms. Murray testified on the reliability of the standardized claims data produced by Bates White and relied on by all parties, and Dr. Bates testified regarding his aggregate estimation of BSA's liability arising from sexual abuse claims and the reasonableness of the proposed Trust Distribution Procedures. In the court’s approval of key parts of the reorganization plan, the judge's opinion cited Dr. Bates’ testimony extensively, stating that his "analysis was thorough and credible based on the data available" and concluding that, more likely than not, abuse survivors would be compensated 100% in full by the proposed trust fund.
The approved plan—supported by BSA, its largest insurers and sponsoring organization, and plaintiff attorneys—created a trust fund worth at least $2.7 billion, plus additional insurance rights, to compensate abuse survivors.