In the bankruptcy of Garlock Sealing Technology, allegations were raised that national counsel for mesothelioma victims had engaged in fraud, deceit, and other activities prohibited by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-1968, in settling their clients’ claims. After the bankruptcy judge ordered the hearing closed, Legal Newsline filed an emergency motion to keep the hearing at which these issues were raised open to the media and the public.
Following Media General Operations, Inc. v. Buchanan, 417 F.3d 424, 431 (4th Cir. 2005), the district court held that sealing the hearing and documents “shifted the presumption that favors open courts to a presumption favoring the closure of proceedings based on confidentiality designations by counsel, improvidently shifting the burden to the public and the press to disprove the contours of a need to seal which has also not been described.” In restricting public access to a hearing or documents, a court is required to “state the reasons for its decision to seal supported by specific findings, and the reasons for rejecting alternatives to sealing to provide this court with sufficient information for meaningful appellate review.” Media General Operations, Inc.… Read More
Proposed opinion rules that a lawyer/trustee must explain his role in a foreclosure proceeding to any unrepresented party that is an unsophisticated consumer of legal services; if he fails to do so and that party discloses material confidential information, the lawyer may not represent the other party in a subsequent, related adversarial proceeding unless there is informed consent.
Lender requests that Lawyer’s Firm serve as the substitute trustee under a note and deed of trust to commence foreclosure proceedings based on an alleged event of default. Borrower under the note and deed of trust is a limited liability company. While Firm is acting as substitute trustee, Borrower’s member-manager meets with Lawyer and explains to Lawyer why he believes Borrower is not in default.… Read More
The Debtor was involved in a lawsuit Gennaro Vitale, Gary Annino, and GG Mirage, LLC (a limited liability company owned by Annino) relating to business and financial issues which had arisen between those parties (the “GG Mirage lawsuit”). That lawsuit was settled, subject to a confidentiality provision. Subsequently, Designer Glass sought production of the settlement agreement, first in state court and, following the Debtor’s bankruptcy filing, obtained a copy through an ex parte motion pursuant to Rule 2004, without serving such motion on Vitale or Annino. The Debtor produced the Settlement Agreement and Vitale & Annino sought reconsideration of that order.… Read More