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Answer Man: How much are lawyers making on church sexual assault cases?

November 27, 2018

Dear Answer Man: The clergy sexual lawsuits have hit Rochester. I am curious to know how much money clergy sexual lawsuit attorneys Jeff Anderson & Associates have taken in on this Minnesota-wide bonanza? Ken.

Ken: You sound like a man who might be familiar with the line from Matthew 22:21 that reads: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” Of course, the general rule along with that is, “But let the lawyers take their third off the top from the righteous side.”

Attorney Jeff Anderson of Jeff Anderson & Associates in St. Paul has been a leading crusader against child sex abuse by clergy since 1983 when he filed his first such case in Minnesota. He has represented victims from across the country, and has been a key player in the dioceses in Minnesota that have settled with victims or, like the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, plans to settle with victims.

Of course, attorneys are not required to disclose their share of any particular settlement or judgment – except to the tax collector – so it’s impossible to know how much Anderson and his team of attorneys has made.

But, according to the Minnesota Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, attorneys in Minnesota generally ask for a contingency fee of one-third of any settlement. They can ask for more if the “amount of work anticipated or the difficulty or novelty of the work” is unique.

That said, it’s something negotiated between clients and attorneys, so only those two parties, the IRS – and the Lord – will know for certain. But, as Bishop John Quinn said last week, the victims “need healing and closure in their lives for the terrible pain that was caused them.”

Editor’s note: This item below originally appeared in November 2007.

Why Black Friday?

Mr. Answer Man, I don’t like the term “Black Friday.” Why did they come up with such a gloomy name for one of the best shopping days of the year? — E.K.

Maybe because it’s black outside when you’re standing in line at 4 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving, waiting for the mall to open?

No, it’s because the holiday season is a make-or-break time for retailers who hope to end the year with black ink, rather than red.

The term has been used, at least among store owners, for about 30 years. Shopping historians say the day after Thanksgiving has been the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season since at least 1924, the first of the grand-scale Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parades in New York.

Though Black Friday is often the biggest day of the year in terms of sales volume for U.S. retailers, the Saturday before Christmas is no slouch either.

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