Jones Day, an international law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers, has represented other Catholic organizations in civil lawsuits. It currently represents the Diocese of Rockville Centre in connection with Child Victims Act lawsuits and its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
John D. Goetz and Todd R. Geremia will be the lead attorneys for Jones Day on the diocese’s case.
The diocese said in court papers that Jones Day “regularly plays a leading role in significant cases raising novel legal issues facing religious institutions” and has developed expertise in “safeguarding Catholic organizations’ First Amendment rights to religious liberty through its representations in federal district court and in state and federal appellate litigation, including before the U.S Supreme Court.”
The lawsuit was the culmination of a two-year civil investigation of the Buffalo Diocese by the Attorney General’s Office’s Charities Bureau, which oversees nonprofit organizations. The lawsuit alleges that the diocese and its officials violated multiple provisions of the state’s Not-for-Profit Corporation Law and the Estates, Powers and Trusts Law by not properly administering itself in a manner consistent with state public policy.
It is the first Attorney General’s Office probe in the country to use such an approach in a lawsuit against a Catholic diocese over its handling of sex abuse claims and offending priests.