Court upholds dismissal of claim in Milwaukee Archdiocese bankruptcy

A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a claim in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy that was filed by a man who was molested by a priest at age 7 and who had signed a $100,000 settlement agreement with the church in 2007.

John Pilmaier had filed a claim in the bankruptcy asserting that the archdiocese lied to him to induce him to sign the agreement. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Pilmaier's attorneys "failed to show that the alleged misrepresentations were a substantial factor in his decision to accept the settlement."

The ruling upholds earlier decisions by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley and U.S. District Judge Rudolph T. Randa but applies a different legal standard.

Pilmaier is one of about 90 individuals with prior settlements who filed claims in the bankruptcy alleging they were misled by the archdiocese during their settlement talks. It was not immediately clear whether the appeals court decision in Pilmaier's case would affect those because of the narrow issues addressed by the court.

The appellate decision focused not on whether the archdiocese misled Pilmaier, but whether he adequately stated what effect that alleged misrepresentation had on his decision to sign the settlement agreement.
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