Attorneys punished for discussing confidential Apple documents in court

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Apple asked for the lawyers to be booted from the case.
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Two attorneys have been sanctioned for sharing proprietary Apple information as part of a lawsuit.

Lawyers Joseph Cotchett and Mark Molumphy from the firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy repeatedly referenced confidential Apple documents during a public hearing in May. The hearing concerned the fallout from Apple’s iPhone throttling controversy from a couple years back.

The documents in question were marked “Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only.” Apple asked for the lawyers to be removed from the lawsuit. While the court disagreed, arguing that this would be too harsh a punishment, it has sanctioned both lawyers.

Lead counsel Cotchett will have to be given court permission before being able able to argue further motions. “Mr. Cotchett’s actions, if not willful, display a fundamental lack of understanding of the protective order,” the judge wrote. Molumphy, who did not quote directly from the documents, but referenced them, was admonished by Judge Davila.

The attorneys are not allowed to submit billing requests for work which relates to the sanctions. They will also face greater sanctions if they violate the sanctions order.

Sensitive information

It’s not clear from the report what the documents contained. Apple said the public discussion of the company documents contained, “sensitive information not just about Apple’s business, but also about individual employees.”

However, given the value of IP in Silicon Valley, it would seem a pretty big mistake to reference confidential documents in a semi-public setting. Hopefully it won’t be repeated in the future.

Source: The Recorder

Via: Apple Insider