Doe v. Archdiocese of Milwaukee, No. 13-3783 (7th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Doe settled his sexual abuse claims against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee for $80,000 after participating in a voluntary mediation program. He later filed a claim against the Archdiocese in its bankruptcy proceedings for the same sexual abuse. Doe responded to the Archdiocese’s motion for summary judgment by contending that his settlement was fraudulently induced. The argument depends upon statements made during the mediation, but Wisconsin law prohibits the admission in judicial proceedings of nearly all communications made during mediation. Doe argued that an exception applies here because the later action is “distinct from the dispute whose settlement is attempted through mediation,” Wis. Stat. 904.085(4)(e). The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the Archdiocese. Doe’s bankruptcy claim is not distinct from the dispute settled in mediation. The issue in both proceedings, which involved the same parties, is the Archdiocese’s responsibility for the sexual abuse Doe suffered. Doe sought damages in both the mediation and bankruptcy for the same sexual abuse; he did not seek separate or additional damages for the alleged fraudulent inducement.