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Letter: Attorneys are paid well for sex abuse lawsuits

The March 2, Buffalo News’ article about the Diocese of Buffalo’s bankruptcy describes how attorneys J. Michael Hayes and Kevin Stocker have filed a number of lawsuits against local parishes, as well as the diocese. “Hayes said he was convinced from the outset that the diocese would file for bankruptcy, a process that he said could take years and result in ‘nickels on the dollar” for victims of abuse’ …”

Interestingly, the March 1 News article about the bankruptcy of the diocese of Milwaukee stated that client attorneys in that case made more money than all the victims’ awards combined.

Why then are the attorneys so outraged? Are they concerned that their fees and expenses won’t be paid? I doubt that the attorneys are filing these lawsuits pro bono or out of the goodness of their hearts. One reads/hears about the diocese allegedly hiding the facts and lack of “transparency” but what are the fee facts for the plaintiffs’ attorneys? Are they collecting a fee before filing? Demanding a percentage of any awards? How much of a percentage? What about expenses?

If a plaintiff were to receive an award of $10,000, how much would he/she actually receive? Are attorney expenses a percentage of the plaintiff’s award? Do attorney expenses include all the TV, digital and newspaper advertising that we have been subjected to since the extension of time limits on abuse cases? Are the attorneys going to claim attorney-client privilege or non-disclosure agreements?

Hopefully, the next Buffalo News series will shift from predatory priests to predatory attorneys.

James Mills

West Seneca

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