Documents used in business litigation are often sealed, as they tend to contain proprietary information such as “trade secrets, research projects, far-reaching business strategies, and other sensitive matters.” According to retired judge Allan van Gestel, the first presiding judge of the Superior Court’s Business Litigation Session, many businesses want to seal even minor business information, such as salaries or names of customers, even if that information appears on firms’ websites.
Often, the lawyers involved enter into confidentiality agreements prior to discovery and those documents never make it into formal court records. Prince Lobel partner Jeffrey J. Pyle stated that those types of agreements are typically not controversial. The controversy comes in when documents are entered into the court record and then sealed by the judge at the request of the attorneys.
Jeff Pyle, who has represented media companies in a wide range of cases, stated, “Sometimes they’re legitimate requests and sometimes they’re not.” Last year, Jeff represented the New York Times in its fight with Bain Capital, which tried unsuccessfully to keep sealed certain records regarding alleged bid-rigging by private-equity firms.
The entire article appears in the September 27, 2013 issue of the Boston Business Journal.