NEW YORK >> Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s estate are considering setting up a program to resolve claims filed by women who said they were abused by the financier, who killed himself in August while facing federal sex trafficking charges.
The plan was disclosed in a court filing Tuesday by a lawyer for one of Epstein’s accusers, who is suing the estate in federal court in Manhattan. The filing said lawyers for Epstein’s estate had informed plaintiffs that they were planning to disclose details of a “claims resolution program” to a court in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where the mysteriously wealthy Epstein had his will filed shortly before his death.
But the proposal from lawyers for the estate, which is valued at about $577 million, is already facing resistance.
Bradley Edwards, the lawyer for the accuser, said in the court filing that his client “does not believe that the use of any alternative dispute resolution should stay or modify the course of litigation in this matter.”
Another accuser’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, objected to the plan’s being put together without consulting with the accusers and their lawyers.
Kaplan said it was “astonishing” that the lawyers for Epstein’s estate planned to go to court in the Virgin Islands without first discussing the plan.
“In fact, it feels very much like a continuation of his crimes and abuse after his death,” she wrote.
David Brodie, another accuser’s lawyer, said that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the possible resolution program but that there were many questions about how claims would be handled.
“These women have already endured horrific abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein and have waited many years for justice,” he said. “To turn their personal experiences over to one person selected by Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to make a binding decision (which may not be disputed) could be a process that may exacerbate the victimization of these brave women.”
Bennet Moskowitz, the lawyer hired by Epstein’s estate to handle lawsuits by the accusers, did not respond to requests for comment.
The executors of Epstein’s estate, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, also did not respond to a request for comment.
In the weeks since Epstein’s death, lawsuits against the estate have been piling up.
If a claims resolution program is formed, it’s possible that dozens of women could seek monetary damages.