DIOCESE OF BUFFALO: Seeks Approval to Tap Insurance Archeologist

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The Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y. seeks approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York to employ Insurance Archeology Group as its insurance archeologist.

The professional services that the firm will render include:

(a) Conduct a comprehensive search and review of the Diocese’s internal records to locate and recover documentation of potential missing liability coverage and other historic insurance assets;

(b) Assist in compiling a policy list that outlines any information identified to date regarding historic insurance coverage;

(c) Contact and interview available Diocesan personnel to discuss the types of internal records stored by the Diocese;

(d) Review any retained records of the Diocese, and other related entities;

(e) Identify and research potential external sources for retained evidence of insurance coverage; and

(f) Provide a comprehensive and complete summary to the Diocese of the results of the investigation and organized copies of any pertinent records located during the search.

The Diocese has agreed to pay the firm an hourly rate ranging from $55 to $350 per hour depending on the skill and experience of the insurance archeologist providing the services, in addition to the reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with this case.

The firm is not owed any prepetition fees or expenses. It is owed $2,770 for ordinary course post-petition amounts due prior to the proposed June 1, 2020 retention date, for which the firm received, but has not yet deposited, a check in the amount of $2,770.

Michele G. Pierro, a research and project supervisor of Insurance Archeology Group, disclosed in court filings that the firm and its professionals are “disinterested persons” under section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code and do not hold or represent any interest adverse to the Diocese’s estate.

The firm can be reached through:

Michele G. Pierro
75 Orient Way, Suite 302
Rutherford, NJ
Telephone: (212) 697-2680
Facsimile: (212) 697-4354

About The Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y.

The Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., is home to nearly 600,000 Catholics over eight counties in Western New York. The territory of the diocese is co-extensive with the counties of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Cattaraugus and Allegany in New York State, comprising 161 parishes. There are 144 diocesan priests and 84 religious priests who reside in the Diocese.

The diocese through its central administrative offices (a) provides operational support to the Catholic parishes, schools and certain other Catholic entities that operate within the territory of the Diocese “OCE”; (b) conducts school operations through which it provides parish schools with financial and educational support; (c) provides comprehensive risk management services to the OCEs; (d) administers a lay pension trust and a priest pension trust for the benefit of certain employees and priests of the OCEs; and (e) provides administrative support for St. Joseph Investment Fund, Inc.

Dealing with sexual abuse claims, the Diocese of Buffalo sought Chapter 11 protection (Bankr. W.D.N.Y. Case No. 20-10322) on Feb. 28, 2020. The diocese was estimated to have $10 million to $50 million in assets and $50 million to $100 million in liabilities as of the bankruptcy filing.

The Hon. Carl L. Bucki is the case judge.

Bond, Schoeneck & King, PLLC, led by Stephen A. Donato, Esq., is the diocese’s counsel; Connors LLP is its special litigation counsel; Phoenix Management Services, LLC is its financial advisor; and Insurance Archeology Group is its insurance archeologist. Stretto is the claims agent, maintaining the page

The Office of the U.S. Trustee appointed a committee of unsecured creditors on March 12, 2020. The committee is represented by Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, LLP and Gleichenhaus, Marchese & Weishaar, PC.

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