Saturday, January 26, 2013

Court Orders Legion of Christ Documents Unsealed

In Dauray v. Estate of Mee, (RI Super. Ct., Jan. 23, 2013), a Rhode Island Superior Court permitted the AP, the New York Times, the Providence Journal and the Catholic Reporter to intervene to challenge a protective order that had been entered by a probate judge sealing documents that had been produced during discovery by  the scandal-ridden Legion of Christ. Plaintiff, who attempted to claim that her aunt was improperly induced to leave the Legion $60 million in her will, also challenged the protective order. The court held:
The Moving Parties ... clearly ... have a right of access to the exhibits filed with the Motion for Summary Judgment because the Court relied on those documents as part of its adjudicating function.... Additionally ... the Moving Parties have a right of access to discovery motions and their related exhibits..... The public has a great interest in the openness of its courts....  [P]ublic scrutiny of the courts provides a check on the judiciary and ―diminishes the possibilities for injustice, incompetence, perjury and fraud.
AP reports on the lifting of the protective order and says that the Legion immediately filed a motion to block release of the documents. In an earlier decision, the court held that the niece lacked standing to bring the challenge to her aunt's will. (See prior posting.)