With respect to the cross-appeal, the protective orders are silent as to when their confidentiality restrictions may be lifted; therefore, disclosure would have been warranted only if the party seeking disclosure had demonstrated (1) a special need for the confidential material it sought; (2) resulting unfairness from a lack of discovery; and (3) that the need for the evidence outweighed the interest in maintaining confidentiality. K&L Gates failed to make the requisite showing, and accordingly, we conclude there was no error in the denial of the law firm’s motion.
With respect to the lead appeal, because K&L Gates was, at most, a potential debtor of a debtor of the estate, it could not have been considered a “party in interest” with standing to contest the validity of the settlement agreement when the motion to approve that agreement was pending before the bankruptcy court. There was, therefore, no error in the holding that K&L Gates is not barred from asserting a defense challenging the validity of any provision of the settlement agreement in connection with the related malpractice action currently pending against the law firm. Accordingly, we affirm the order of the district court in its entirety.
Appeal and cross-appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Castel, J.) affirming the order of the bankruptcy court (Bernstein, C.B.J.), which denied K&L Gates LLP’s (“K& L Gates”) motion to lift two protective orders prohibiting disclosure of communications made during a mediation, and Savage & Associates, P.C.’s cross-motion to enjoin K&L Gates from raising questions about the validity of certain provisions of a settlement agreement as a defense to malpractice in a related action.
Judge(s): Rosemary Pooler
Jurisdiction: U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
Related Categories: ADR , Civil Procedure , Communications , Torts
|Circuit Court Judge(s)|
|Trial Court Judge(s)|
|Plaintiff Lawyer(s)||Plaintiff Law Firm(s)|
|Denise Savage||Savage & Associates PC|
|Defendant Lawyer(s)||Defendant Law Firm(s)|
|Andrew Hall||Hall Lamb and Hall PA|
|Mark Levinstein||Williams & Connolly LLP|
|Luba Shur||Williams & Connolly LLP|
|Michael Sundermeyer||Williams & Connolly LLP|
|Debtor Lawyer(s)||Debtor Law Firm(s)|