Response to Bloomberg News Et Al.'s Motion to Unseal Exhibits Submitted at Trial

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Document Type: 
Briefs - Miscellaneous
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Claude F. Scott, Esq.
Pam Cole, Esq. (CA Bar No. 208286)
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Rm. 10-0101
San Francisco, CA 94102-3478
(415) 436-6660
(415) 436-6683 (Fax)

Attorneys for Plaintiff the United States of America

Also filed on behalf of 10 Plaintiff States (See signature block)










CASE NO. C 04-0807 VRW

Filed June 15,2004

Hearing Date: TBA


The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, the Contra Costa Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle (collectively "Newspapers") move to unseal the Special Master's report and the redacted and sealed exhibits thus far moved into evidence.1 Plaintiffs agree that the Special Master's five-page Second Report and Recommendation filed on June 1, 2004 [Docket #237] should be unsealed because it does not contain confidential information. However, Plaintiffs believe that, with respect to the Newspapers' motion to entirely unseal previously submitted documents, non-parties have demonstrated sufficiently compelling reasons to seal certain information from the public record. Contrary to the Newspapers' allegations, the Court, the Special Master, and the non-parties have complied with procedural requirements established by applicable Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit caselaw, and with Local Rule 79-5. The Court's actions and admonitions make clear that the Court strictly construes the relevant caselaw and applies a great weight to the public's side of the scale when balancing it against the legitimate interests of non-parties to avoid harm from public disclosure of selected sensitive business information. There is no reason to believe that the Court has not, and will not, give that public interest adequate weight in the balance.

Plaintiffs rely on our prior filings in this action regarding the confidentiality of third-party sensitive business information. See Pis.' Resp. to Third Party Req. for Additional Protection filed on 3/18/04 [Docket #79]; Pis.' Resp. to Third Parties' Mot. Supplementing Existing Protective Order filed on 5/19/04 [Docket #180].

Plaintiffs wish to stress the public policy interests implicated by disclosing third-party materials submitted to federal and state antitrust enforcement bodies. As the substantial number of customer witnesses and other non-parties in this matter demonstrates, Plaintiffs heavily rely on customers and other non-parties for critical information. For the federal and state antitrust agencies to effectively investigate mergers under their respective statutes, third parties must have confidence that their most sensitive business information will receive appropriate protection from harmful disclosure in any subsequent litigation.

In addition to these significant public interests, third parties that have produced information to the United States or Plaintiff States in the course of their investigations have significant business interests in avoiding harmful disclosure of their sensitive business information to a competitor or supplier. Without adequate protections, affected parties would be unwilling to participate in antitrust investigations. Third parties in this action have largely complied with Civil Investigative Demands issued by the United Sates and with Plaintiffs' discovery requests. They should not be subjected to possible harm for having done so. As the court noted in United States v. Dentsply International, Inc.:

While some nonparties may rejoice in the Justice Department's antitrust investigation, others doubtless consider the risk inherent in sharing extremely sensitive information too high a price to pay for curing the alleged unlawful anticompetitive activity. These nonparties have produced or will produce information because they are law-abiding entities with severely limited options. Their information will be shared not because they are a litigant seeking redress or an accused wrongdoer defending a lawsuit, but because they have valuable information which may or may not shed light on whether [the defendant] has engaged in proscribed anticompetitive activity.

United States v. Dentsply Int'l, Inc., 187 F.R.D. 152,160 (D. Del. 1999) (granting non-party's motion for protective order).

As such, the Newspapers' motion should be denied to the extent that it seeks to disclose information that, if disseminated, would seriously harm or prejudice non-parties, thereby threatening to impede the United States and the Plaintiff States' ability to enforce the antitrust laws.

Dated: June 15, 2004 Respectfully submitted,

Claude F. Scott, Esq.
Pam Cole, Esq. (CA Bar No. 208286)
450 Golden Gate Avenue, Rm. 10-0101
San Francisco, CA 94102-3478
(415) 436-6660
(415) 436-6683 (Fax)

Counsel for Plaintiff
United States of America

Dated: June 15, 2004 ____________/s/____________
Mark Tobey, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
P.O. Box 12548
Austin, Texas 78711-2548
(512) 463-2185
(512) 320-0975 (Fax)

Mark J. Bennett, Esq.
Attorney General
State of Hawaii
425 Queen Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
(808) 586-1600
(808) 586-1239 (Fax)

Ellen S. Cooper, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Chief, Antitrust Division
State of Maryland
200 St. Paul Place, 19th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-6470
(410) 576-7830 (Fax)

Timothy E. Moran, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division
One Ashburton Place
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-2200, ext. 2516
(617) 727-5765 (Fax)

Kristen M. Olsen, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General of Minnesota
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1200
St. Paul, Minnesota 55101-2130
(651) 296-2921
(651) 282-5437 (Fax)

Jay L. Himes, Esq.
Chief, Antitrust Bureau
Office of the Attorney General of New York
120 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10271
(212) 416-8282
(212) 416-6015 (Fax)

Todd A. Sattler, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division
600 E. Boulevard Ave., Dept. 125
Bismark, ND 58505-0040
(701) 328-2811
(701) 328-3535 (Fax)

Mitchell L. Gentile, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
Antitrust Section
Office of the Attorney General
150 E. Gay St., 20th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
(614) 466-4328
(614) 995-0266 (Fax)

Steven M. Rutstein, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
55 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 808-5169
(860) 808-5033 (Fax)

Paul F. Novak, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General In Charge
Special Litigation Division
Michigan Department of Attorney General
P.O. Box 30212
Lansing, MI 48909
(517) 335-4809
(517) 373-9860 (Fax)

Counsel for Plaintiff States


1. Although not specifically stated, Plaintiffs assume the Newspapers refer to the Special Master's Second Report and Recommendation because the initial Report filed on June 1, 2004 is public. See Docket #208.

Updated June 30, 2015