Cases & Deals

Catholic Diocese successfully resolves litigation implicating constitutional rights

Clients Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo

In December 2020, the Diocese of Buffalo retained Jones Day to defend a state court civil lawsuit suit filed by the New York Attorney General. The suit principally sought to compel and oversee the Diocese’s ongoing compliance with internal Church policies and procedures regarding the investigation of allegations of clergy sexual abuse. Jones Day removed the action to federal district court, on grounds that included that the claims for relief impermissibly infringed on the Diocese’s constitutional rights to religious liberty under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. After extensive negotiations, the parties reached a settlement that largely memorialized increased child protection procedures the Diocese had put into place. The Diocese agreed to independent audits of its compliance with the settlement agreement consistent with the Diocese’s constitutional rights. The district court approved the parties’ settlement agreement on October 25, 2022.

The People of the State of New York by Letitia James, Attorney General of the State of New York v. Diocese of Buffalo, et al., No. 1-21-cv-00189-RA (S.D.N.Y.)