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Bankruptcy judge blasts Detroit lawyers for release of confidential documents

By Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

May 12--Detroit's bankruptcy judge today chastised city lawyers for including confidential mediation documents on a computer disk of court documents creditors had sought in the case.

A lawyer for city creditor Assured Guaranty, a municipal bond insurer, asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes to order the city to request the disks be returned and then re-release the documents without the ones that contain confidential information in court-ordered mediation.

But Geoff Irwin, a lawyer for the city, suggested the error could be corrected without having to pull back all the documents, and that the city believes that creditors can continue their work while the city prepares replacement disks. Irwin said ordering the earlier versions destroyed could add delays to the bankruptcy case

"This is not a deliberate or intentional violation of the court's order," Irwin said.

Rhodes ordered both sides to come to an agreement on how to resolve the dispute.

"In the court's view this is a major problem that needs to be solved today," Rhodes said.

Irwin told the judge that there were about 120 documents inadvertently included, and that not all of them contain sensitive information.

In addition, today is the deadline for objections to the plan of adjustment to be filed with the court. Several are expected to be filed.

Rhodes called a break just after noon. The hearings are to resume at 1:30.


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