The Archdiocese of Agana has appealed a federal court ruling denying its efforts to secure a loan during a pandemic through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.

The archdiocese, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2019, maintains its PPP eligibility even though the court upheld the SBA’s summary judgment motion.

U.S. District Court Chief Justice Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, in her previous ruling, sided with the SBA, which rejected the Archdiocese’s PPP request due to its bankruptcy status.

The archdiocese has filed for bankruptcy protection to settle more than $ 1 billion in claims from clergy sexual abuse claimants in Guam, now nearly 300, while keeping Catholic schools and parishes open.

The COVID-19 pandemic again had an impact on the finances of the archdiocese, which therefore requested a PPP loan to keep its payroll.

Archdiocesan lawyers Bruce Anderson, Ford Elsaesser and John Terlaje have identified three issues on appeal:

  • Guam District Court, Bankruptcy Division, erred in determining that in law, the SBA did not exceed its statutory authority in excluding bankruptcy debtors in the PPP.
  • Guam District Court, Bankruptcy Division, erred in concluding that in law the SBA had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously in excluding bankrupt debtors from the PPP.
  • Guam District Court, Bankruptcy Division, erred in determining that in law, the SBA did not violate Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code. It is about protection against discriminatory treatment.

The archdiocese said earlier that there are similar appeals pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and elsewhere.

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