Lawyer of the Day, Media and Journalism, Options Backdating, Screw-Ups

Lawyer of the Day: M. Todd Scott

M Todd Scott Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe Above the Law.JPGTruth be told, we find the stock options backdating story a little boring. But every now and then, it results in mildly interesting news.
From the Recorder:

A fourth-year associate at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe inadvertently disclosed a sensitive document about stock option backdating that the firm has spent the last five months fighting to keep under seal.

The document — a complaint in a shareholder derivative action against former executives of Mercury Interactive Corp. — contains explosive allegations against the executives and quotes extensively from e-mails in which the executives allegedly discuss backdating their own stock options….

The complaint, Morillo v. Abrams, 1:05-cv-50710, had been filed under seal on Sept. 22 as part of a confidentiality agreement with the executives’ lawyers — but without judicial approval. The Recorder and two other news organizations have been trying since then to unseal the complaint and its supporting exhibits.

But a Dow Jones News Service reporter discovered Friday that Orrick associate M. Todd Scott had inadvertently filed the complaint publicly with a motion to stay the derivative action in October. The Wall Street Journal posted the complaint on its Web site over the weekend and wrote a story about it on page A-4 of Tuesday’s print edition.

Whoops! There goes five months’ worth of legal battles.
Our personal view is that filing under seal is greatly overused, even abused. But if you’re going to file under seal, then file under seal.
(We do feel bad, however, for Mr. Scott. We’re guessing he was operating under inadequate sleep. And when associates are exhausted and overworked, mistakes will get made.)
Oops! Orrick Associate Lets Slip Mercury Backdating Document [The Recorder via]

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