fbpx
News
July 24, 2014

Judge Sides With Legal Newsline, Overturns Sealing of Fraud Evidence Against Asbestos Attorneys

U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., in response to a motion filed by Legal Newsline “to keep the bankruptcy estimation trial of Garlock Sealing Technologies open to the public,” ruled this week that “evidence of alleged fraud” on the part of asbestos attorneys should not have been sealed.

Judge Cogburn ruled that sealing documents and witness testimony is the exception, not the rule, to handling alleged “confidential information. This ruling reverses U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges’ denial of the motions seeking access to evidence admitted under seal, and remanded the proceedings back to the bankruptcy court with instructions on how to handle the unsealing process.

“As a gatekeeper, a judge must consider sealing as the exception to the rule, give the public notice of its intent to seal, require counsel to provide valid reasons for such extraordinary relief, and then explain that decision as well as the reason why less drastic alternatives were not employed,” Cogburn wrote.

Cogburn’s order, filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, concluded that the burden should be placed on those who hope to keep information confidential. His ruling comes after a July 15 hearing addressed consolidated appeals from Legal Newsline, solvent asbestos defendants and other interested parties.

Legal Newsline’s first appeal came prior to the Garlock estimation trial on July 31, 2013, in response to Hodges’ decision to close portions of the trial and documents associated with it. It then filed an additional appeal seeking access to sealed trial transcripts.

After Hodges’ ruling, several interested parties filed similar motions requesting access to sealed Rule 2019 filings.

“This occurrence was a result of the effort by some plaintiffs and their lawyers to withhold evidence of exposure to other asbestos products and to delay filing claims against bankrupt defendants’ asbestos trusts until after obtaining recoveries from Garlock,” Hodges wrote.

Read the full story here.

Arizona skyline Blog Arizona Governor Signs Law to Prevent Over-naming in Asbestos Lawsuits Asbestos Blog West Virginia Wants to Pay Jurors More---That’s a Good Thing Asbestos, Other Issues News California Asbestos Verdict Reversed; Wrong State's Laws Were Used Asbestos News In The News-June 11, 2021 Asbestos News NYC Asbestos Suits Packed with Blameless Defendants Asbestos

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

Cookie Notice

By clicking “I Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Review Settings