Judge orders retrial in Green Bay diocese fraud case

Judge throws out $700,000 jury award

A judge has ordered a new trial after the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay challenged a civil fraud verdict.

WLUK-TV reported Outagamie County judge Nancy Krueger on Wednesday threw out a $700,000 jury award given to two childhood victims of clergy abuse.

An attorney for the diocese, Patrick Brennan, argued a retrial is necessary because jurors who made the award had expressed concerns about possible bias by one of the jury members.

Todd and Troy Merryfield were molested by the Rev. John Feeney in 1978. The brothers said the diocese knew Feeney had a history of sexual misconduct when he was installed as priest at St. Nicholas Church in Freedom.

The Merryfields dropped their punitive damage claim after the May verdict.

The diocese applauded the judge’s decision.

An attorney for the Merryfields, Jeff Anderson, called the judge’s order disappointing but looks forward to a new trial.