Friday, April 04, 2008

Sealed Cases & Oral Argument

Marcia Oddi at the Indiana Law Blog has been posting about the cases that the Clerk has sealed and that have also disappeared from the docket. (Here, here, and here, for example.) One of my cases has suffered this fate.

I have been listening to oral arguments--especially those in the Indiana appellate courts. Back on March 25th, the Court of Appeals held argument in Allianz Insurance Company v. Guidant Corporation. (Direct link to argument; RealPlayer required).

It is very difficult to figure out what this case is all about. But the argument begins over whether the briefs were properly sealed and what information is so sensitive that it cannot be public. Chief Judge Baker seems pretty skeptical confronted with briefs, the only public portion of which seems to be the table of contents and proof of service.

It sounds like the parties agreed to keep it all hush-hush, because if the world knew how much other litigation there is involving the parties--and this information is in the briefs, presumably--then the businesses would suffer.

I had a case that I requested sealed once upon a time. But that was because of some allegations about someone not a party to the litigation that I didn't think needed to be aired. I simply filed the brief in a sealed envelope with a motion to have the case sealed pasted to the envelope. No green paper; no filet of brief.

The first 15 minutes or so of the argument about the secrecy is pretty interesting. I can't make much of the rest on the merits.

No comments: