Bankruptcy court usually is an adventure, and too often, much of it is off the record. In the Garlock bankruptcy proceedings, the confidentiality issues are now headed towards an appeal. At this point, it seems well worth noting that much of the typical bankruptcy court secrecy plainly violates both law and public policy. Who says so? Chief Judge Morris of the SDNY bankruptcy court. The following excerpts are from this post on Weil’s bankruptcy blog – the whole post is well worth reading. The post summarizes a ruling last year in which Chief Judge Morris rejected the too frequent sealing deals used in bankruptcy and other courts so often that one federal judge referred to sealing and secrecy as kudzu in the courthouse.
"In Togut v. Deutsche Bank AG, Cayman Islands Branch (In re Anthracite Capital, Inc.) et al., Chief Judge Morris of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York recently provided us with important guidance regarding what may or may not be protected from public inspection in bankruptcy proceedings. In her decision, she reminds us of the core principle of public access to court proceedings and admonishes us to only sparingly seal otherwise public documents. Note that the issues arose after the parties and the US Trustee consented to sealing.