Examiner’s Report Goes Easy on Brown Rudnick for Botched Redaction
The law firm Brown Rudnick is unlikely to face serious sanctions for botching an attempt to keep confidential information out of a complaint filed on behalf of some creditors in the Chicago Tribune’s bankruptcy proceedings.
A report filed by bankruptcy examiner Kenneth Klee concludes it is “implausible” that Brown Rudnick would violate a confidentiality order on purpose, the American Lawyer reports. One reason for his finding: “It would be exceedingly simple to identify the firm as the source of the information.”
According to the story, Brown Rudnick lawyers blacked out confidential data in a Microsoft Word file, converted it to an Adobe PDF file, and dispatched it to another law firm to be electronically filed with the court. While the redacted material didn’t appear within the PDF that was filed, it did show up if a reader copied and pasted the document back into a Word file.
Klee said he would probably order Brown Rudnick to pay attorney fees of opposing counsel who challenged the document, which accused banks that financed the Tribune’s leveraged buyout of overburdening the company with debt and causing its financial downfall, the story says. But he said he likely won’t approve harsher sanctions.
Opposing counsel had argued for tougher sanctions because Brown Rudnick lawyers had made the same error in the past in a different bankruptcy, resulting in a firmwide memo warning of the PDF problem, according to the story.