Great thanks to the New York Law Journal for making me aware of a case involving court records and confidentiality that was decided this week in the Eastern District of New York.
The case is began with the plaintiff doctor filing a discrimination lawsuit against her employer. But as the case progressed, the plaintiff and her counsel failed to redact and protect confidential information, despite being notified. The upshot was that the plaintiff doctor and her counsel wound up being sanctioned, for court costs and legal fees. The journal has a summary of the case, Offor v. Mercy Medical Center, 15-cv-2219:
The court’s March 10 decision dismissed plaintiff doctor’s alleging race and national origin-based discrimination. The court granted defendants’ instant motion—under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b)(1) and (2), 28 USC §1927, and the court’s inherent powers—to sanction plaintiff and her attorney Agwuegbo, for costs and legal fees incurred in addressing plaintiff’s repeated failure to properly redact confidential information in her filings. Based on the facts in its March 10 order the court found ample basis to find plaintiff and Agwuegbo lacked a colorable basis for file unredacted confidential information, and that they exhibited bad faith in continuing to file documents in the public docket with confidential information despite being warned of their obligation to redact such information. Plaintiff and Agwuegbo’s refusal to redact information or seal documents after being so notified evinced bad faith. Also, Agwuegbo’s failure to meet and confer with defendants, and later decision to continue to publicly file documents containing confidential, unredacted information of children went “beyond the pale” of reasonable conduct so as to lead to the conclusion that he and plaintiff undertook such actions for some improper purpose.
You can read the full decision here.