Sunday, December 31, 2006

Harder to Seal Records

Continuing its Your Courts, Their Secrets series, the Seattle Times reports that the series has made a difference. No cases have been sealed in King County Superior Court since the series began in March; hundreds of cases formerly sealed have been opened up. "It's a new day" as secrecy fades, Seattle Times, Dec. 31, 2006.

Although the Times was investigating state cases, the local federal court (W.D. Wash.) also tightened its rules, saying lawyers can no longer file pleadings under seal without the permission of a judge.

The article recounts the legal efforts to get cases unsealed, from trying to serve parties who are only vaguely identified to countering motions from those who wanted to keep cases under wraps. Three Davis Wright Tremaine lawyers (Marshall Nelson, Eric Stahl, and Lissa Shook) represented the Times in most of the cases.

An accompanying story discusses the UW's $3.2 million settlement of a medical-malpractice case brought against the UW Medical Center and the manufacturer of an insulin pump. UW finally tells what it paid to settle suit, Seattle Times, Dec. 31, 2006.

Hats off to the reporters who have done such impressive work on this series: Ken Armstrong, Justin Mayo and Steve Miletich.

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