Breaking Legal News - POSTED: 2011/10/13 15:38
The Delaware Supreme Court is weighing whether to maintain the secrecy surrounding a letter from an actress' lawyer that led to the ouster of former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd following allegations of sexual harassment.
The letter was sent to Hurd last year by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred on behalf of Jodie Fisher, an actress who was hired to help with HP networking events and subsequently accused Hurd of sexual harassment.
Fisher reached a private settlement with Hurd in August 2010 for an undisclosed amount. HP announced the next day that Hurd was resigning. Instead of being fired, Hurd walked away with a severance package worth tens of millions of dollars.
A Delaware Court of Chancery judge ruled in March that the letter, which was attached to a complaint filed by an HP shareholder seeking company records regarding Hurd's departure, should be unsealed.
Hurd attorney Rolin Bissell argued Wednesday that Hurd and Fisher expected the letter to be kept confidential. He suggested that disclosure of the letter would violate their rights under California laws regarding personal privacy and the confidentiality of mediation in legal disputes. Bissell also argued that neither Delaware's law regarding shareholder access to corporate books and records, nor the presumption of openness of court records, require unsealing the letter.