Judge Tosses False Claims Suit Because of Leaked Discovery Documents
A federal judge has dismissed a false claims suit after a confidential discovery document ended up on Wikileaks.
U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Jorge Sanchez, was apparently to blame for the Wikileaks document and dismissed the suit with prejudice as a sanction, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reports (sub. req.). Shadur said Sanchez had admitted giving documents produced on a limited-disclosure basis to the plaintiff, Rhonda Salmeron, and to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
The suit was filed against a company that serviced student loans for the federal government.
Shadur wrote in his order (PDF) that the leaked documents were part of “a virtually unbroken pattern of dilatory and irresponsible conduct” that included missed deadlines and skipped status conferences. Sanchez is a lawyer with Despres, Schwartz & Geoghegan in Chicago.
Lawyers for Salmeron had argued the document posted on Wikileaks was not confidential and that dismissal of the suit was disproportionate to the alleged wrongdoing.