HP Asks For Heavily-Redacted Documents To Be Sealed; Judge Responds With Heavily-Redacted Refusal

from the go-[REDACT]-yourself dept

Joe Patrice at Above the Law has snagged a rather humorous opinion issued by Judge Charles Breyer. Breyer had the [mis]fortune of presiding over a long-running dispute between Hewlett-Packard and its shareholders. Running almost three years and involving more than 400 filings, a settlement had finally been reached and it looked as though Breyer could put this one in the rearview mirror.

Unfortunately for him, Hewlett-Packard still had some unfinished business. It wanted to have a number of documents sealed, despite the fact that the documents in question were already heavily-redacted and likely contained very little of use to anyone other than the parties involved in this case. Eight motions in total were filed by HP during the waning days of the legal battle. All eight have been denied by Judge Breyers… because [REDACTED].

The order, which looks more like an FBI FOIA response than an entry on a district court docket, doesn’t completely prevent HP from requesting the sealing of documents, even if the explanation for Breyer’s refusal leaves almost everything to its lawyers’ imaginations. There’s a footnote on the final page that provides a few curt instructions for HP to follow if it wishes to have any documents locked away from the public’s eye.

No motion for reconsideration will be entertained unless HP identifies within three days “a limited amount of exceptionally sensitive information that truly deserves protection” under the “compelling reasons” standard of Kamakana v. City and Cty. of Honolulu […] outlined by page and line number and including “specific factual findings” for each. See O’Connor v. Uber Technologies, Inc. In light of the “public interest in understanding the judicial process” as it relates to the settlement of these claims, the Court will not countenance arguments that public filing would put HP at a competitive or legal disadvantage.

HP seems to like its black ink. Judge Breyer just gave them a taste of their own redaction. This certainly won’t stop HP from making another attempt to seal submitted exhibits, but at least it gives the company a succinct depiction of Breyer’s thoughts on its multiple motions.

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Companies: hp

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Comments on “HP Asks For Heavily-Redacted Documents To Be Sealed; Judge Responds With Heavily-Redacted Refusal”

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Jason says:

Sorry if this is a stupid question, but did the lawyers in the case get to see the unredacted response, or was it redacted for them too?

Obviously that would be the more funny and appropriate answer (that they couldn’t get to read it either) and a line or two of the article implies that is what happened, but even with everything else lately I’d be a bit surprised if the judge really went that far.

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