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Eight Clergy Abuse Lawsuits Assigned To LA Judge

Jan 22, 2003 | AP

Eight lawsuits involving sexual abuse allegations directed at clergy in Orange and Los Angeles counties were assigned to a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles on Tuesday by state court officials.

Judge Elihu M. Berle will coordinate pretrial motions under an order issued by California Chief Justice Ronald George. Trial judges will be named later, said Lynn Holton, a spokesman for the state Supreme Court.

Such coordination is not unusual when there are multiple cases with similar allegations, said Tom Girardi, a Los Angeles trial lawyer who is not involved in the litigation.

The move provides fairness for both plaintiffs and defendants, Girardi said.

"There are many issues in common with respect to plaintiffs' claims and defense claims," he said. "It wreaks havoc to have eight different judges and eight different courthouses making rulings on these cases."

He added that additional cases could also be coordinated by the same judge.

"This procedure is being used more and more frequently," Girardi said.

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