October 31, 2016 Practice Points

Failure to Seek Stay Order for Release of Confidential Information Can Kill Your Case

Constand v. Cosby highlights the importance of seeking and securing a stay of any order for the release of “confidential” information pending appellate review.

Ronald Hedges

The disclosure of information within the scope of a confidentiality or sealing order can have permanent consequences. Constand v. Cosby, No. 15-2797 (3d. Cir. Aug. 15, 2016), involved an appeal from an order “unsealing certain documents that reveal damaging admissions” made by the defendant, a well-known entertainer, during his deposition. The order was not stayed and the documents “received immediate and wide publicity.” The Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as moot given the dissemination of the documents, although the court did note its “serious reservations about the District Court’s ‘public moralist’ rationale” for the unsealing order. Constand highlights the importance of seeking and securing a stay of any order for the release of “confidential” information pending appellate review.


Ronald Hedges is with Dentons in New York, New York.


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