Roussel & Clement law firm on Thursday filed a motion in the Garlock bankruptcy case to seal documents which U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn Jr. found to contain evidence of fraud on behalf of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the underlying asbestos case.
Judge Cogburn previously ruled that the documents ought not be sealed, writing in his opinion: “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 shy less drastic alternatives were not employed.”
Judge Cogburn remanded the proceedings back to the Judge George Hodges’s bankruptcy court where they originated. The current motion comes as a response to Judge Hodges’s subsequent order requiring objectors to file a motion to seal bySeptember 11.
Regarding the asbestos proceedings, Judge Hodges has commented that the asbestos litigation system is “infected by the manipulation of exposure evidence by plaintiffs and their lawyers,” and furthermore that “…more extensive discovery would show more extensive abuse.”
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