GM Heads to Status Hearing – Will The Public See Real Time Transcripts – The Continuing
GM and would-be tort claimants head to a status hearing today on the ignition switch issues arising from the terms of the bankruptcy plan entered during GM’s prior journey race through bankruptcy. One question is whether those of us not in court will obtain real time access to hearing transcripts. Unfortunately, bankruptcy courts typically hide their transcripts for 90 days, citing purported concern that private information might be disclosed, such as a social security number. Indeed, exactly that farce played out when GM was first in bankruptcy. Ultimately, some public shaming helped to cause the public release of some of the transcripts in less than 90 days. The purported concerns – and the 90 day secrecy rule – are farcical, and illustrate – yet again – the long-festering problem of bankruptcy court secrecy, which recently played out – yet again – in the Garlock asbestos bankruptcy. That said, some smart and honorable judges force transparency on the litigants, whether they like it or not. Indeed, Chief Judge Morris of the SDNY bankruptcy court recently addressed the topic in detail, and forced transparency on the proceedings despite the litigants actively seeking secrecy.