Case should have been sealed

Steve Korris Dec. 13, 2007, 11:43pm

While Aaron Zigler boasted of brilliance on behalf of Stephen Tillery, he neglected to seal patient records before sending them to the Madison County courthouse.

Zigler's Dec. 5 class certification motion made confidential records public in violation of a specific court order, but apparently everyone agreed to treat it as an oversight.

Without an order, without even a motion from Pfizer, court personnel sealed 436 pages of exhibits the week after Zigler filed them.

On Friday, Dec. 7, anyone could read the exhibits at the courthouse, either in paper files or on public access computers.

By Wednesday, Dec. 12, someone had sealed them and pulled them from the screens.

In July, Associate Judge Ralph Mendelsohn granted a Pfizer motion, over Tillery's objection, to prevent this very kind of disclosure.

Most of the order covered documents that would never enter the court record, but a special section applied to court filings.

It stated that neither side could file confidential information from the other side with a court pleading, except by court order or through written permission from the supplying party.

The side filing the records must comply with local sealing rules, place the records in an envelope, seal it, and mark it "classified document subject to protective order."

The Record summarizes the motion in this issue, having spotted it before it was sealed.

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